Fine Dining Meets Casual at Made Nice NYC

Fine Dining Meets Casual at Made Nice NYC

Chef Daniel DiStefano. Photo provided by: Made Nice

Meet Chef Daniel DiStefano of Made Nice, a casual dining restaurant located in NYC with roots in fine dining. The meals prepared at Made Nice marry healthy and fresh seasonal ingredients together to serve guests the very best while on-the-go.

QWith roots based in fine dining, what caused you to make the switch to Made Nice?

Chef Daniel DiStefano: I think there’s no better way to gain a foundation in the kitchen or in a restaurant than by working in fine dining.  It teaches you discipline and a strong work ethic, and you gain unique experiences that don’t exist in other restaurant environments.  Unfortunately, only a handful of people in the world can afford to experience fine dining. What brought me to Made Nice was the opportunity to give many, many more people a taste of fine dining, every day.

Q: Made Nice is grab-and-go made healthy, how do you keep things fresh and the customers coming back?

DD: We change the majority of the menu seasonally, about four times per year, but we are constantly trying new flavor profile and techniques.  We’re constantly evolving our menu to keep things exciting and fresh — we actually rely on change to drive our creativity.

QWhat are your two favorite ingredients to combine that many may not think go together?

DD: We often use three unexpected ingredients together to season our soups and sauces: salt, lime, and cayenne. The salt brings out the flavor, the lime balances acidity and the cayenne adds just a hint of spice. On their own, each of these ingredients has a unique flavor profile, but together they create the ultimate seasoning spice.

QHow can our readers make healthy eating a part of their everyday lifestyle?

DD: I think most people believe eating clean or cooking from scratch is just too time-consuming. As with most things, planning ahead definitely makes it quicker and easier. In the kitchen, we often refer to the French term “mis en place,” or having everything in place.  If you take a bit of time on the weekend to plan ahead for the week, it makes eating well throughout the week much easier!

QDoes your menu change seasonally? How does incorporating seasonal produce add to the flavor of your dishes?

DD: Our menu changes seasonally about four to five times per year.  We always want to serve food in its best light, when it’s freshest and tastes best. Being in NYC and having the Union Square Greenmarket just a few blocks away makes it very easy to stay inspired.


Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity. 

Made Nice NYC is located at the following location:

Made Nice NYC

LA Fitness North Bergen

Distance to closest LA Fitness: 5.1 miles to North Bergen LA Fitness 

Lime Yogurt Vinaigrette

Photography by: Evan Sung



  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 Granny Smith Apple, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 Cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup Lime Juice
  • Cayenne Pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste



  1. Combine the apple and cucumber in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl, and add the yogurt lime juice.
  3. Whisk until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste.
  5. Toss with kale, charred avocado, shaved radish, cucumber and apple (or whatever vegetables you like!) and serve.

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Healthy Advice for Over-eaters

Healthy Advice for Over-eaters


I have trouble with overeating. I find it difficult to control myself when other people are eating unhealthy foods such as chips, pastries, pizza and fast food. My brother invites me to potlucks and there are foods there that I know I cannot control myself with. Also, my mom invites me to eat at fast food restaurants. Whenever I eat those foods, at the moment I feel good, but then 20 minutes later (or when I find out that I gained weight), I feel guilty and frustrated. I’m tired of going through the same cycle over and over again. I want to be free from that cycle and gain new healthy habits that I can manage myself, such as having willpower and control. Anything that would be helpful.

– Gema N.V.


Kudos to you for acknowledging a weakness and reaching out for help. You should have the health and nutrition your body deserves. All of the advice and education I could provide here would not in itself lead you to healthier habits, however. Willpower and self-control regarding food are really about your relationship and beliefs about food. You need to examine those (the “why”) before you can move forward (the “how”).

Keep in mind that if you have been dieting or restricting yourself, it is common to over-consume when given the opportunity. You mentioned accepting invitations from a couple of family members, so I understand the difficulty in separating yourself from those environments. However, you are responsible for what goes in your mouth and how much. Bringing your own food (even to share) may be a solution to join them while maintaining a healthy intake.

A support group or self-help guide are good options for delving into how you think about food, your body, and your nutrition, and what certain foods or eating situations may represent to you. If you are feeling trapped in a cycle of binging and guilt, consider finding an eating disorder specialist who can help you reduce feelings of shame, increase self-acceptance and steer you to a better path.

“As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is ‘Love of Oneself’.“ — Charlie Chaplin, 1959

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Member Spotlight | The Journey to Gain Weight

Member Spotlight | The Journey to Gain Weight

In the fitness world, a common issue seems to be the struggle to lose weight, but that’s not that case for everyone. Adrianna E., of Orange City, Florida, has fought her entire life to gain weight. Growing up, she struggled to weigh even 100 lbs. She had always been naturally thin, but this was different. Her diet didn’t help her situation. Adrianna would eat about twice a day, which led to her feeling completely drained 24/7, and contributed to the fact that she was unhealthily underweight. It was an uphill battle, which she seemed to be losing. Still, she pushed on and wanted more for herself.

It was after high school graduation, when Adrianna had her mind set on becoming a law enforcement officer, that she realized she had to make a change. After going through the Junior Law Enforcement Academy, she realized she needed to get into much better shape before she could see her dreams come to fruition. This is when Adrianna decided to join LA Fitness, with the added assistance of a personal trainer.

The Change Begins

Adrianna E. began working with Pro Results® personal trainer*, David A. With his help, Adrianna learned that she was not doomed to be underweight forever, and that she could exercise control over her own body. With that, her mindset began to change, and she began working to make healthy changes in her life. Unfortunately, every great story, and every great hero, has some roadblocks along the way.

A year and a half into her fitness journey, Adrianna found out that she was extremely sick and was confined to bed rest for three long months. She was devastated to think that all of her hard work with her trainer, David, would be gone, and all of the progress she made would vanish. It’s these moments, when the odds seem stacked against us, that we are tested mentally to keep pushing on.

Adrianna knew she would get back to the gym.

After being cleared to go back to the gym, Adrianna credits her trainer David for helping her get motivated again, and feel better than she did before. When she started the training program, she weighed 100 lbs., and now she is proud to say she weighs a healthy 127 lbs., and feels the best she ever has!

Where She Is Now

Adrianna continues to train 3 to 4 times a week. While she admits it can be difficult finding the time for the gym between full-time school and full-time work, she has learned that when you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make time.

Her cardio sessions are limited to 1-2 times a week, “just to keep [her] heart happy,” but she focuses mainly on weightlifting, in order to help build her muscles. She admits that the biggest change has been her diet. She went from eating two meals a day to eating every three to four hours. Adrianna no longer eats fast food; and while she still loves her pizza and tacos, she makes sure to eat those things in moderation, and instead, fuel her body with what she knows will make it feel good.

Adrianna plans to spend 2018 focusing on gaining strength, and in her words, if “tons of gains come along with that, I’m not complaining!”

Overall, I have learned that absolutely anything is possible for yourself if you try hard enough to make it happen. I’m forever grateful for LA Fitness and my trainer, David A. I will never live without the gym again! This is not just a “journey” for me anymore – it has become a lifestyle.

Adrianna E.

LA Fitness Pro Results® Client

Advice From Adrianna 

“Do not compare yourself to others in the midst of your own fitness journey. You are in a competition with nobody but yourself. Always strive to be better than who you were yesterday, never who somebody else is today.” – Adrianna E., LA Fitness Pro Results® Client

*Pro Results® services are subject to a separate agreement and an additional fee.

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

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Controlling High Potassium Levels

Controlling High Potassium Levels


I have a potassium level of 6.0 and my doctor says I need to consult a nutritionist to fix my diet. I have a pretty simple diet day in and day out, coffee and a bagel with the cream cheese and lox for breakfast, a fresh salad with tomatoes, cucumber, radish, green onions and sour cream early afternoon, and a sandwich either with tuna salad or pastrami and V8 juice in the late afternoon. I don’t see how that can affect potassium level. I would appreciate your professional opinion on the subject. Thank you very much in advance.

– Leonard G.


While I can’t provide you individualized treatment recommendations through this forum, I will address a low-potassium diet for hyperkalemia in general. Always follow the advice of your physician. For personalized medical nutrition therapy, please visit a registered dietitian nutritionist. Find one through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics here.

The potential potassium content of a day’s intake with only 12 fl oz black coffee, 3 oz bagel, 2 oz lox, 2 tbsp cream cheese, salad (w/ tomato, cucumber, radish, green onion & 2 tbsp sour cream), tuna salad sandwich on wheat bread, and 12 fl oz V8 juice would be in the range of 1,500-2,000 milligrams, which is compatible with a low-potassium diet. Of course, your intake would be greater if your portions are greater.

Lists of high and low potassium foods are offered by the National Kidney Foundation. Look for areas you can reduce your intake further. Vegetable juice is listed as high potassium, whereas apple, kale, and celery are listed as low potassium. You could juice those three together for a lower potassium late afternoon drink.


– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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How to Stay Fit When Pregnant

How to Stay Fit When Pregnant

It’s one of the happiest moments of every soon-to-be parent’s life: that moment when you first realize you’re going to be bringing a little you into the world – and then comes the planning.

Between baby books, baby-proofing the home, and making sure your diet is as healthy as can be for your little tummy bunny, it’s important not to forget to maintain your fitness routine.

However, you’re going to want to change things up a bit.

While exercise is important to sustain the health of you and your little one, it may be hard finding the motivation if you’re experiencing common pregnancy symptoms like exhaustion, nausea, swollen ankles or back pain.

The good news is, there are exercises that can help ease the extremity of some of these issues.

Aqua Fit

Before rolling your eyes at the thought of attending an Aqua Fit class, hear us out. Water exercises can be great for soon-to-be mamas because they are low impact and can help alleviate some of the added weight that brings on the aches and pains. Not only will you feel lighter, but you’ll get your cardio in without the high-intensity or added pressure on your ankles.

Find an Aqua Fit class near you here.


Breathe in. Breathe out. Practice your breathing techniques before the big day arrives! Yoga classes are known for helping promote relaxation, improving balance and strengthening core muscles. Not only that, but according to an article1 published in WebMD research has shown that Yoga may even make labor shorter and more comfortable, and who wouldn’t want that?

!! FYI – Try to avoid hot yoga after your first trimester2, or laying on your back3, as the weight of the uterus can compress a major blood vessel, disrupting blood flow.

Indoor Cycling

Much safer than the outdoor alternative and a great way to get your heartbeat up and those calories burned! Another benefit of taking an indoor cycling class when pregnant is that you can go at your own pace, and when the belly starts growing, you can easily adjust the handles bars to make for an easier and more comfortable ride.


Let’s get back to the basics! Sometimes an exercise as seemingly simple as walking can work wonders for your body. The combination of fresh air, getting your daily steps in, and switching up the distance, incline, and pace of your walk is a great way to get in your cardio while not overexerting your body.

Another benefit of exercising while carrying your soon-to-be bundle of joy is the flow of endorphins! Exercise helps boost the body with “feel-good” chemicals like dopamine and serotonin and can help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Plus, exercise had been known to help improve self-esteem and can help you stay within a healthy weight gain limit while pregnant.


Here’s the Best Part

Research has shown that “healthy pregnant women who exercise during pregnancy may have less risk of preterm delivery and shorter labor, are less likely to need pain relief, and recover from childbirth faster.”6 We say those benefits alone make exercising during pregnancy worth it.

Stay healthy, mamas to be! We look forward to seeing you in the gym soon and wish you and your little one(s) a great start!


Even though you may be feeling exhausted, exercise can help increase your energy and stamina. Sounds kind of counterintuitive, right? Well, living an active lifestyle helps the body get stronger and improves cardiovascular health, thus giving the body more stamina. When you feel better, you have more energy.


Here are some tips for having a safe workout:

  1. Whatever activity you choose, don’t overdo it. Listen to your body and rest if you feel tired. Any sharp, shooting or stabbing pain means you should stop. You should be able to carry on a conversation during any activity.
  2. Avoid dehydration by drinking extra water before, during, and after exercise.
  3. Eat plenty of food so that you don’t run low on glucose.
  4. Avoid overheating. During hot weather, exercise indoors and in an air-conditioned space.
  5. Avoid high-risk and contact sports; any activity where there’s a risk of falling or getting hit in the stomach. If you’re not sure whether something is safe or not, don’t do it.


We spoke with Dr. Rhonda Smalls, Chief of Service, Obstetrics and Gynecology, at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, who helped offer some helpful advice for our pregnant moms-to-be out there.

Q: How does exercising impact both the mother-to-be and baby in a positive way?


Dr. Rhonda Smalls: Exercising during pregnancy can help the mother-to-be maintain muscle strength, avoid excess weight gain, lower the risk of certain pregnancy-related complications – gestational diabetes and preeclampsia – and shed unwanted pounds after the baby is born.  During pregnancy, the muscles in the lower abdomen, lower back, and around the birth canal come under great strain.  Moderate exercise helps reduce backaches, constipation and bloating.  It can also improve circulation and minimize swelling and prepares the body for labor and delivery.


Q: What are some exercises you would recommend for moms to be?

RS: Walking. It’s safe and easy for most women from the moment they find out they’re pregnant until the final weeks. I encourage expecting moms to sneak in some extra steps into their day by parking their car at the far end of the lot or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  Remember to use the handrail when walking up or downstairs.

Swimming or water aerobics. Both are gentle on the joints and provide a feeling of weightlessness (a welcome break in the later months of pregnancy).

Stretching or yoga. Stretching eases back pain and helps maintain flexibility, while yoga can help expecting moms better cope with everyday stress.  Look for prenatal yoga classes or videos designed for pregnant women.

Low-impact dance or aerobics. Moving to music is fun for moms.  Be careful when doing movements that require balance like jumps, kicks, leaps, and bouncing.


Q: Are there varying degrees of exercise difficulty that pregnant women can participate in depending on the trimester they’re in?


RS: First and foremost, it’s important that all pregnant women check with their primary obstetric provider before starting any exercise routine. If they’re already physically active most days, great! If not, this is a good time to start. Begin slowly, build up gradually, and try to exercise at least 30 minutes per day.

During the first trimester, pregnant women should be able to continue their exercise routine as long as they’re having a normal, healthy pregnancy.  I encourage expecting moms to try a combination of aerobic, strength, and flexibility exercises.

During the second and third trimester, most women will have to vary their routine slightly.


This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet (particularly when pregnant), make sure it is approved by your doctor.


  1. “Safe Exercise During Pregnancy: Running, Weights, & More in Pictures.” WebMD, WebMD,
  2. Ibid
  3. “Can I Still Sleep on My Back While I’m Pregnant?” Parents, Parents, 18 Sept. 2015,
  4. “Safe Exercise During Pregnancy: Running, Weights, & More in Pictures.” WebMD, WebMD,
  5. BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board. “Great Pregnancy Exercise: Weight Training.”BabyCenter, 9 Mar. 2018,

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