Girl Boss Guide ft. Mallory Hope Schwartz of HopefullyPlated

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Beauty, brains & bubbly personality — That’s the best way to describe Mallory Hope Schwartz, founder of HopefullyPlated, a concierge nutritional planning service here in Atlanta, GA. As a fitness and food enthusiast, Mallory Hope married her passions together and created HopefullyPlated to make buying, preparing and eating healthy more accessible to her clients. I sat down with her to learn a little more — from her background to her favorite indulgent meal to how she maintains a positive body image. Read on for the full interview:

Yes Girl: Start off by telling me a little bit about your background and how you came up with the idea for HopefullyPlated.

Mallory Hope: I’m originally from Richmond, VA and growing up, we had a mixture of Southern culture and Jewish tradition. I always loved being in the kitchen so around the age of 9, I found a big passion for food, cooking and making everyone feel welcome. We started our weeks with family dinners and that’s something that really stuck with me. When I went to college in South Carolina, I felt most welcome by enjoying dinner with friends. After school, I moved to Los Angeles and on Sunday nights, I would host family dinners for my friends. That’s when the day-to-day passion of food really came into play. I was also teaching barre and spin in LA, and food and fitness truly go hand in hand. I took an intense 90-day food challenge and started asking myself: “How does food really affect our bodies?” From there, this idea of HopefullyPlated just started to brew. I tried a lot of different jobs on for size, but was always more passionate about fitness and food than any other career I had, so I always kind of felt like something was missing. When my dad had to undergo ankle fusion surgery, I moved home to help out and told my parents, “If I’m moving home, we’re eating how I would eat.” As a result, my family was healthy, my dad lost weight – I just truly saw what I could give. When my time at another job ended, I gave myself a one-day pity party and two days later, I purchased the domain!

YG: Walk me through how HopefullyPlated works.

MH: All of my meal plans are inspired by gluten-free options, limited sugar and no dairy. I want my clients to be inspired by having a healthy fridge. When starting out with a client, I’ll sit down with them and have a consultation where we’ll go over a special questionnaire I’ve created. I’ll have them walk me through their day and what it looks like – when they’re most hungry, what their weakness is, what their favorite foods are, etc. From there, I’ll move forward with the planning, grocery shopping, prepping, cooking and delivering! We also have a great new client discount and referral benefits.

YG: You’re also passionate about fitness, teaching specifically. Tell me more about how that passion came to be and your philosophy on working out. 

MH: I have always loved group fitness, but wasn’t ready to be brick-and-mortar and open my own fitness studio, so I wanted to go somewhere I believed in. Pink Barre is a great brand that supports my own goals and values so I knew it was a great fit for me. Right now I’m teaching 7-12 classes per week, taking my own yoga classes 3-5 times per week and then I’ll usually try and get in one swim or one strength training session a week. I’ve always diversified my workouts because that’s what works for me! I think each woman’s workouts are her own, and you’ve just got to find what works for you.

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Cooking insights from Mallory: “I use four different types of onions in my veggie pans, because they all have different flavors.”

YG: Going off on your own and creating your own business can be scary – Tell me a little about that experience and how it’s been for you.

MH: Coming from a very strong family, you always had to find your own moment to shine. I came from working in events and marketing where you give a lot to someone else’s brand. After a few years, it can get exhausting because you also want to market yourself and who you are… so I said “This is my chance” and if I didn’t take it now, I would’ve always wondered “what if?” Sure I’ve had failures, but at this point in my life, it just feels like the right time.

YG: What has been your biggest challenge in this venture?

MH: Getting rooted in the right city, with the right roommate, with the right comfort level and people around me, has really been my biggest challenge to this point. I had the mindset that all of the right pieces would come together and if they didn’t, then it wasn’t meant to be. Once that all came together, I haven’t looked back.

YG: What advice do you have for other female entrepreneurs?

MH: Don’t close any doors. I’ve met four people just today! You never know what can happen. Sometimes I’m talking and sometimes I’m just there to listen and soak it all in. You also can’t be too hard on yourself.

YG: What does a typical day look like for you?

MH: *Laughs* Nothing is typical – and I’m okay with that! I’m an early bird, so on one day I may wake up at 5am to go to yoga, teach a double at Pink Barre, go to the market by 9 and be home by 11 to grab a snack. I’m fluid in my day, but also determined. I don’t beat myself up if things don’t get done, because I know tomorrow’s just another day. In a typical week, one day will be a market day where I go pick up all of the groceries I’ll need for that week. I get all my food from the Dekalb Farmers Market – for me, it is the most locally-supported shop. I started going there on the weekends (their busiest time) when I first moved to Atlanta and I even loved it then. It is my zen! If my clients have specific dietary needs or preferences, I can navigate through the market with those in mind, so it provides customization for my clients. Normally, the following day is all prep – cutting, shredding and whatever else needs to get done for the following cooking day. Just to give you a sense of what that looks like, I’m typically roasting 5-10 plates of veggies on a cooking day so it gets pretty crazy! The next day or two are delivery days where I’ll drop off all meals to my clients. After that, I spend some time with recipe creation. I pull a lot of my inspiration from seasonal trends, the weather and food bloggers. I also take a couple days to really just build up my content and take a refresh, whether it’s blog posts, photos or (very necessarily) cleaning up my kitchen!

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Mallory’s philosophy on not finishing your meal: “It’s weird when you meet someone that doesn’t take home a goodie bag!”

YG: What’s your all-time favorite indulgent meal? 

MH: Oreo brownie sundae, all the way. I also have a weakness for French fries.

YG: How many times a week do you let yourself indulge?

MH: Usually if I’m baking cookies, I’ll eat a couple myself and give the rest away. I haven’t found a great Oreo brownie sundae to replicate my old favorite yet, otherwise I’d probably have it every day! I’ve found that I’m good with sampling the foods I love and I really don’t need to overly splurge.

YG: What are your favorite healthy food joints in Atlanta for when you’re not cooking?

MH: I do feel guilty when I eat out because I can pretty much cook everything at home – besides sushi! I’ll never feel guilty with sushi – Doraku and Genki are some of my favorites. Healthier options are usually anything non-American. Le Fat is probably one of my favorite options – Guy Wong is one of my mentors and he has definitely become a close friend of mine. He’s so warm and welcoming and always giving me positive feedback. Try their Clay Pot Chicken, “Shaking Beef” or Shrimp Spring Rolls. Chai Pani in Decatur packs a lot of veggies and spices. I’m also a sucker for Yeah Burger. Sean’s Harvest Market probably has my favorite smoothies in Atlanta. I have gotten healthier options at The Porter, too – they have such a cool menu! They’re one of my top restaurants in Atlanta.

YG: What would you say a normal day of eating looks like for you?

MH: I like to eat by using all of my senses – and this is how I plan for my clients, too. I really look at what colors are on my plate, what textures are there – “does it crunch?” and overall presentation of a meal. I think most people’s days are better suited when they start with a lot of protein. I’m a big egg person for breakfast and will usually add a 5 oz. piece of chicken or steak and some spinach or avocado. Snacks are usually fruit, homemade trail mix or a rice cake and peanut butter. My lunches are as colorful as possible – today’s lunch was leftover gluten-free chicken parmesan with sautéed zucchini and shallots. Dinner depends on how I need to refuel my body – usually something like quinoa or half a sweet potato with some more protein like steak, chicken or lamb. My lamb meatballs are like, the best thing ever. If I’m craving something sweet, I’ll put all-natural vanilla ice cream into a teacup so I get my fix while controlling my portions. As a little side tip, I like eating everything in bowls because it helps control my portion size.

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The baker in her says: “I literally buy four dozen eggs a week in fear that I may run out!”

YG: What’s your top tip for staying healthy and fit? 

MH: Have a plan – with wiggle room, of course. I typically know what meals I plan to eat, what barre classes I’m going to teach and how I’m going to work out that day. If I know I’m leaving for a noon flight, I know I need to squeeze in a 6am workout. I also pack snacks for the day when I leave my house. I wig out if I’m going to be somewhere without snacks!

YG: Let’s talk about body image. You seem to radiate positivity and self-love… Teach us your ways!

MH: I definitely grew up a little shorter and a little chubbier – but full of personality! As I slowly grew into my body, I could say “I trust in who I am.” Every single girl has insecurities – supermodels, girls on TV… we all are our own worst enemies and social media has made it even worse. Self-love comes from something deeper because we allow a lot of outside influences to play into how we feel about ourselves. So I gave myself a rule a few years ago: I will talk about my insecurities while I’m home getting ready, but the second I leave my door, I’m not allowed to talk about them any more. That burger I ate yesterday is not still hangin’ on me or that pimple – well I covered it up the best I could! Sometimes you’ve just gotta be your own cheerleader. Not every day is gonna be great, but how else are we gonna get through if we don’t love ourselves?

Want to learn more about how HopefullyPlated can help make a healthy lifestyle easier for you? Head over to www.hopefullyplated.com or email Mallory Hope at hopefullyplated@gmail.com.

 

 

5 Tips To Help You Not Let It All Go This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for family, quality time, being grateful and, of course, feasting! While I have to admit I’m usually entirely too interested in the stuffing and Green Bean Casserole to give a crap about how I’m going to feel in about 33 minutes, I usually regret going for seconds (maybe thirds) –and I’m really sensing a change in that this year.  It’s amazing how lethargic, bloated and straight-up gross you can feel after a big meal. We tend to treat Thanksgiving like an eating contest – but why?! It’s not like we don’t have leftovers for weeks on end…

In order to combat that gross/nasty/”never again” feeling, I’ve come up with a few of my favorite tips that I plan to implement this Thursday to keep a healthy balance. I hope that these can maybe help you to take a step back and really enjoy the holiday with loved ones, instead of being so worried about saving room for an extra slice of pumpkin pie, and then probably feeling sick and gross and like you need to run an extra three miles tomorrow.

SO enough rambling – here’s my tips!

1. Start out the day with a huge green smoothie. Our Thanksgiving veggies usually come smothered in salt, butter or creamy sauces – AKA, not in their purest form – so it’s important to still get your fruits and veggies in. A green smoothie is a great way to get a big dose of good-for-you stuff first thing in the morning. Try a combo of unsweetened almond milk or coconut water, kale or spinach, your fave fruits like banana and blueberries, maybe some chia seeds or raw almond butter and lots of ice. Drink up and reap the benefits pre-turkey.

green smoothie2. Sweat it out. Thursday morning, soon after you wake up, plan to get in a 30-minute sweat session. Whether it’s a hot yoga class, walk or jog around your neighborhood or an at-home HIIT workout, make a commitment to yourself to get it in before the day kicks off. Danny and I are planning on going for a quick trail run and getting a little sweat going before indulging in all the goodies.

3. Don’t forget your water bottle. If you’re like me, your water bottle is with you constantly. So why should this day be any different? Keep in mind how good you feel when you’re drinking a ton of water and keep yourself hydrated in between glasses of wine. Your body will thank you later.

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4. Speaking of water, mix up your beverages. Sure, the whole “drink a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink” tip is great, but who actually remembers to do it? Trick yourself by adding ice cubes to your white wine or make a spritzer with half wine and half kombucha or sparkling water. You’ll still get your buzz and the good taste without getting overly dehydrated.

5. Bring a healthy option. Whether you’re heading home for Thanksgiving or spending it with your significant other or friends, it’s not only a courtesy to offer to bring a dish or two – but it can help you stay on track, too! If you’re not in full control of the menu, it’s often hard to find healthier options so why not bring your own? For starters, maybe try out these Brussels Sprouts Gratin or this Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole. My mouth is watering already.

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Hopefully some of these tips help you to have a more balanced Thanksgiving and maybe, just maybe you won’t have to unbutton your jeans at the dinner table this year.

What other tips do you have for keeping it healthy during a big holiday meal?

One Year Down…

The month of September marks an important time in my fitness journey. Around this time, one year ago, I committed to giving the Tone It Up lifestyle a try with the Frisky Fall fitness Challenge TIU trainers Karena and Katrina were hosting. I had found TIU through Pinterest a few months prior and had tried some of their workouts during my senior year of college, but it wasn’t until this fitness challenge (and investing money-wise) that I said to myself “Okay, I’m going to do this.” I bought the nutrition plan, printed it all out, put it in a binder and started reading.

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Let’s be real, my main reason for “joining” (when you purchase the nutrition plan, you become a member, which means you obviously get the plan emailed to you, you get subscribed to the Members Only e-newsletters and receive exclusive access into the Tone It Up online community) was my immediate obsession with TIU trainers, Karena and Katrina. Just watch one of their videos and you’ll see how STUNNING they are. Not only that, but they are so down-to-earth, motivating, inspiring, glowing and hilarious. Both women embody everything I strive for in my personal life – from unwavering self-confidence to flawless skin to their overall outlook on living a healthy lifestyle. 

They’re the kind of girls who fill their diets with nutritious, feel-good foods, but are totally okay with treating themselves to a few glasses of champagne or dessert when they crave it. Their workouts are innovative, fun, do-able and NOT boring! They’ve designed their workout and nutrition plan with the average woman in mind – the woman who wants to be healthy and fit but has a million other things going on, too. They really just get it.

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I have to be honest and say that I do not have an extreme physical transformation story to share with you guys, like some of the other amazing women who are a part of TIU. I’ve dropped maybe five pounds, am seeing a little more definition in my arms and a little less flab in my legs, but for me, the main changes have happened in the way that I eat, the way I view fitness and the way I view myself. While I’ve always been a generally healthy eater, I’ve learned so much more about fueling my body properly thanks to K&K. I love to cook now and am always trying out new things in the kitchen, in addition to meal prepping almost every Sunday. I’m finally finding ways of working out that are fun and challenging for me. This last one is still something I’m working on, but these women have created the most amazing community that inspires me to love myself and treat myself well. That’s pretty powerful stuff.

So let’s talk about the nutrition plan.

The educational part of the nutrition plan is what has made the most difference in my healthy lifestyle journey up to this point. K&K teach you about superfoods, best times to eat certain foods, how to balance out your meals, how to eat in a lean, clean and green way and so much more. Not to mention, they’ve probably put a zillion recipes into this thing. Out of all of them that I’ve tried, there’s only been a few that were just okay – the rest have been amazing. Some of my favorites are the Turkey Pumpkin Chili, Blueberry Oat Breakfast Bars, Confetti Kale Salad, Stuffed Bell Peppers, Sweet Potato Cookies, Banana Chia Seed Muffins… my list is endless. Their recipes are so good, and they make you FEEL good.

In this past year of attempting to eat in a more lean, clean and green way (LCG) thanks to Tone It Up, I’ve noticed a huge difference in how what I eat makes me feel. When I eat too many non-nutritious or heavy foods, I absolutely feel how it affects my body. I literally call it a food hangover, because that’s how it feels! I become extremely tired, bloated, uncomfortable, my skin looks dull, I’ve got undereye bags – so hot, right? It’s amazing how even just a day of clean, nutritious eating can make you feel amazing.

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As far as their workouts go, they post FREE (yes, totally free) workout schedules each week, packed with fat-blasting cardio workouts, toning routines, yoga/stretching videos and more.

While I have stopped following these weekly workouts since joining ClassPass (I’m just in a phase where group exercise is what’s working best for me), Tone It Up is the first place I turn to when I want to complete a quick yoga practice before work or just feel like I need some extra toning or a fun HIIT routine. Seeing their smiling faces (and perfect bods) in their workout videos just makes you want to push yourself that much harder.

If you haven’t heard of Tone It Up, or you have but you’re not ready to make a full commitment to the program, I highly recommend checking it out. They’re starting their Fit for Fall Charity Challenge this Monday, where we will all be logging miles to support a charity of choice. I can’t wait to support, simply by getting fit!

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Check out all the info here. Happy Fit For Fall, y’all!