Ellie Krieger Finds the Sweet Spot Where Delicious Meets Healthy

May 26, 2016 12:37 pm Last Updated: May 26, 2016 2:45 pm

Ellie Krieger’s new show on American Public Television has a reality component, but not the kind you might think of, with flashes of carbon steel and intense, sweating chefs.

Instead Krieger tackles the reality that many face: real-life food challenges at home and in the workplace.

“Ellie’s Real Good Food” is a 13-part original series showing on public television stations nationwide. Each episode features a cry for help, from someone experiencing a challenge.

“In the first episode it’s this busy working mom who’s a labor-delivery nurse,” Krieger said. “She has teenagers and they’re all running out the door in the morning, barely stuffing bars in their mouths. They just feel really stuck with getting meals on the table.”

In swoops Krieger, who cooks with the nurse, and then takes her back to her own kitchen, offering tips and encouragement.

Ellie Krieger on the set of her new show, "Ellie's Real Good Food." (Lisa Houlgrave)
Ellie Krieger on the set of her new show, “Ellie’s Real Good Food.” (Lisa Houlgrave)

Over the years, Krieger has seen people becoming more conscious about eating in a healthy way. But a downside she has noticed has been a growing tribalism.

“People more than ever have more of a tribalistic sort of idea about food where they’re in a certain camp almost,” she said. As a result, they’re not coming together and sharing a sense of community around food.

In one episode, she meets a couple with some food differences: she is vegetarian, he’s a meat eater.

“They’re happily married but they make totally different meals every night,” she said. They’re totally separate meals, they have tons of dishes because of it, they eat at different times because their food’s ready at different times, they’re stepping over each other in the kitchen.”

Krieger helped them find realistic solutions in cooking dishes that could serve them both—for example, a vegetarian main course that he could add steak to if he wanted. But the point was to get them to eat essentially the same thing, and to do so together.

Krieger herself doesn’t believe in diets, and instead relegates foods into the categories of “usually,” “sometimes,” and “rarely,” establishing an overall healthy eating pattern “so you never have to feel guilty or like you did something wrong,” she said.

“So that’s what I tell people: Find that sweet spot where delicious and healthy meet.”

“Ellie’s Real Good Food” premiered on May 20 on American Public Television. See elliesrealgoodfood.com for television station listings.