Lily Kunin preparing squash

Nutrition Guru Lily Kunin on Ten Pantry Must-Haves And Other Epic Food Hacks

If you’ve ever seen a perfectly executed grain bowl on Instagram, it’s highly likely that Lily Kunin was the artist or at least the inspiration behind it. Lily is the health coach and chef behind @cleanfooddirtycity and author of Good Clean Food. Whether she’s making Sweet Potato Toast topped with a Sunny-Side Up Egg or Adaptogenic Lattes, she always finds ways to inspire thousands of people to eat healthier (and prettier) every single day.

Born in Santa Monica, California, Lily now resides in New York City, which serves as inspiration for her blog, Clean Food, Dirty City. Years back, Lily found herself plagued by chronic migraines and vertigo, which led her to make a shift in the way she ate. She began focusing more on health, and began a gluten-free lifestyle. She became a Certified Holistic Health Coach and she began to study modern functional medicine. Clean Food, Dirty City was born.

The popularity of her blog and Instagram grew quickly— her Instagram has over 100,000 loyal followers. These days, in addition to creating extraordinarily delicious food for her Instagram and promoting her cookbook, you’ll find Lily designing the menu for Clean Market, her new restaurant opening this March in New York City. Further proof that she’s a true wonder-woman, in and out of the kitchen.

Sometimes, we put so much emphasis on what our kids are eating, that we don’t pay attention to how we’re nourishing ourselves. How do you help new parents get back on track with their own nutrition? What do you tell them, what tips do they tend to find most helpful?

I believe the most important thing is tuning in and listening to your body. Everyone is unique in what their needs are at any point in their life and the nutrition that suits them at that specific moment. In terms of hacks, it’s always good to invest in a stocked pantry for last minute snacks and meals.

About that pantry— what are the absolute must-haves? Or, phrased in a different way: if you were on a deserted island with only 10 ingredients, what would they be?

Olive oil, lemons, avocado, a grain, a beans, coconut water, frozen fruit, gluten free sourdough, sauerkraut, tahini.

In terms of snacks to keep on hand, I love seedy crackers, sprouted hummus, apples, almond butter, goat or sheep cheese, smoothie and matcha latte ingredients.

What unique ingredient are you experimenting with and/or learning more about right now?

I’m designing the menu for Clean Market right now, my new store in NYC coming this spring, and experimenting with lots of different adaptogens for our signature latte program. I’m also playing with crispy yucca bread, which is delicious. Stay tuned for the results!

Yucca bread sounds like a dream. Design your perfect day of eating for the post-partum mom, who needs a lil’ extra nourishing. 

I always focus on super nourishing foods during my monthly cycle, which would also apply to the post-partum mom. I recently shared these paleo tartines on my blog and they are one of my favorite ways to start the day. I like to enjoy with some avocado on the side for the perfect balance of protein, healthy fats, and greens.

When it comes to self care, what is one nutrition strategy and one non-nutrition strategy you practice each week?

Definitely a solid, blood-sugar balancing breakfast like the above. I’m also a huge fan of bone broth and will enjoy a cup first thing in the AM with some soft scrambled eggs and avocado.

Beyond nutrition, I aim for 30 minutes of movement a day, even if it’s simply a walk around the block.

What’s your go-to, on-the-go snack?

Seedy crackers and sprouted hummus or a Health-Ade Kombucha and dried mango and nuts.

For many, detox = deprivation. Why is it important to change that association, and how do you go about changing that?

Your body already has amazing system in place that supports detoxification. Deprivation will only stress this system and leave you feeling worse for the wear. For me detox mode means nourishing my body with real, whole foods that are easily digestible (and lightening up on indulgences like sugars and alcohols that can be taxing on our system).

This means lots of leafy greens, whole grains, lean proteins, cooked vegetables, blended soups, and lots of water! I have a whole section in my book devoted to “detox” and it’s filled with a lot of recipes you may not typically classify as “detox” like my mom’s minestrone, a squash + sprouts salad and the best guac.

Tell us about Clean Market, the inspiration, what we can expect— it sounds so good.

I’m excited to share! Clean Market is opening in NYC this spring. We’re a wellness space that encompasses innovative wellness services (IV drips, infrared saunas, and cryotherapy), a functional tonic bar and cafe, along with a modern apothecary market.

We hope you come in, enjoy a sweat in the sauna, sip on a tonic, and then recreate the experience at home with some magnesium bath salts or the adaptogenic blends we use in the café. We’re on a mission to connect our community with products and services that elevate their health and overall wellbeing. 

We love your use of the words “Awaken,” “Nourish,” “Sustain,” “Savor”— simply put, good food makes you feel good. What’s your favorite “Comfort” recipe?

The “Nourish” chapter is the ‘comfort’ chapter in my cookbook Good Clean Food and it’s filled with so many good recipes like blueberry buckwheat pancakes, zucchini lasagna, and spaghetti squash and mushroom meatballs. I’m a big fan of the sesame noodle bowls with pan-fried tofu.

Now, just between us gals, what is the Best Dirty Food?

The crispiest French fries with a perfect aioli.


Let’s build a healthier generation together