Ashley Koff

Nutritionist, Dietitian

Los Angeles

As a registered dietician to the stars, Ashley Koff has made a name for herself in the nutrition world. Her ability to demystify the science of nutrition and communicate the importance of healthy choices has elevated her to becoming one of the best in her field. She created the Ashley Koff Approved (AKA) Lists that help identify everything from groceries to beauty products that help foster a healthy lifestyle. The Los Angeles-based dietician appears regularly on several shows, such as Dr. Oz, Good Morning America Health and The Doctors. In 2011, Koff released her second book, Mom Energy: A Simple Plan to Live Fully Charged. When she’s not spreading the message of healthy living, Koff has a private practice in Beverly Hills with celebrity clients such as Molly Sims, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Andy Richter.

  • On March 15, 2013
    Ashley Koff answered the question: Ashley Koff

    What are Ashley Koff’s favorite Los Angeles hotels?

    I don’t end up staying at hotels in L.A., but I do go over to some, and I also put people up in hotels. So I would say Shutters gets a hands down. I really love it. I think that The Peninsula Beverly Hills and the Montage Beverly Hills consistently do great jobs if people are staying there.
  • On March 15, 2013
    Ashley Koff answered the question: Ashley Koff

    What’s Ashley Koff’s favorite time of year in Los Angeles?

    I just realized that I’m a person who appreciates the non-extreme seasons, so I think that I would fall into the autumn and spring. Sometimes we have spells during winter or summer that replicate that, but I do know that that’s the timing that I really enjoy for the weather.

    And I have to, of course, say September, but that’s also because it’s my birthday and I celebrate the whole month. There just happens to be a lot that goes on in where I live in September, so I love to celebrate that.
  • On March 15, 2013
    Ashley Koff answered the question: Ashley Koff

    What are Ashley Koff’s favorite Los Angeles restaurants?

    My home-away-from-home is Axe. It’s been around forever. It’s fantastic. We also have a restaurant here called Gjelina. And then I don’t tell anyone about another favorite — it’s Shima. It’s probably one of the only places in the country that I’ll eat sushi at. It’s such an amazing Japanese restaurant. I’m a really big fan of Rustic Canyon. That’s a great one. From a juice standpoint, I head over to Moon Juice pretty frequently, as well.
  • On March 15, 2013
    Ashley Koff answered the question: Ashley Koff

    What are Ashley Koff’s favorite Los Angeles neighborhoods?

    Super partial to Venice — got to give it the biggest shoutout. I love Santa Monica.  I love Malibu; I’ve been getting to know it better, but not the town part of Malibu as much as the beach area and the little bit farther north. Ventura is fantastic. I really love going down to Manhattan Beach and walking around down there. I would say pretty much the West Side. That said, I really give a huge shoutout to downtown. There’s just some great stuff going on down there. It’s not where I want to live, but I love spending time there. I can’t forget Culver City, also.
  • On March 15, 2013
    Ashley Koff answered the question: Ashley Koff

    What are Ashley Koff’s favorite things to do in Los Angeles?

    I love being on the West Side. We have some of the best restaurants in the entire country. I consider them an extension of my home, so if I’m not cooking for someone, I like to bring them into one of these restaurants. So I feel really lucky on that part.

    There’s so much near me but we’ll get in the car — my dog enables a lot of this, as do a lot of my friends with dogs or with kids — and go up north to beaches. All the way up from here through to San Francisco, there are amazing dog beaches. Sadly, right where I live in Venice and Santa Monica, we’re not allowed to take the dog on the beach so we have to drive a little bit for that. There’s Long Beach and Huntington Beach, but I have a medium-sized or smallish dog; he’s 40 pounds. We call Carmel “Lab Beach,” where it’s all of the labs running. I’m actually really grateful to my dog in that space because he gets me outside, too, and also has me tone it down, where I might be thinking, “Okay, I’ve got to go run on this beach” or “We’re going to do the dunes” or whatever.

    Venice and Santa Monica, what they really offer me is that a lot of times my absolute favorite thing to do is just walk out my door because I end up running into so many people or you meet someone interesting. I never know how my day is going to unfold here. We might turn around and hit a yoga class with someone, or as I said, decide with the dogs to go somewhere or meet a couple of my friends out with their kids and see the world through kids’ eyes for a couple of hours. It’s really lovely in that way.
  • On March 15, 2013
    Ashley Koff answered the question: Ashley Koff

    What are Ashley Koff’s favorite Los Angeles markets?

    We are so lucky in L.A. to have a farmers market in multiple locations every single day. Even though I don’t get there that often because of my travels or things like that, I am so grateful for all of the farmers markets — in particular Saturdays and Wednesdays in Santa Monica. I’m a West Side girl, so I’m over there. When I get there on Sundays, the Hollywood market is amazing. Culver City and Venice have great markets, too, so we’re really lucky.

    Then I am just always so thankful and grateful for what Whole Foods has done. Not to the exclusion of any others, but from a personal standpoint, I remember the days when Whole Foods didn’t exist and there were things that I couldn’t find or that I had to go really far to find; so I’m really grateful for them as well.
  • On March 15, 2013
    Ashley Koff answered the question: Ashley Koff

    What inspires Ashley Koff?

    My patients definitely inspire me, as do the people who send me an e-mail or tell me what they’ve done after I’m speaking somewhere, they’ve read my books or they’ve seen me on TV. What’s really interesting about that is they’re often crediting me, “Hey, I heard you say that and this is what I’m doing.” I always want to remind them that I may say something, but what’s so exciting to me is how empowered they are that they’re doing it. I see myself as an educator and bringing these things to their space, but then having it be about empowering them.  That really inspires me to see people make change and really own the change.
  • On March 15, 2013
    Ashley Koff answered the question: Ashley Koff

    What does Ashley Koff love most about her job?

    What I love most about my job is the variety. I love that I can just have been working with a patient and helping them accomplish their personal goals, have a conversation about traveling the world and what’s great about travel and nutrition; later this afternoon I’m sitting down with a restaurant and helping them create menus; had some time at a dog park and at a juice shop to find out what they’re juicing now in L.A. and at the farmers market. So, it’s the diversity. It constantly reminds me that we touch health and nutrition and food pretty much at almost every point of our day.

    My job really is to help people navigate all of the experiences of their day. I feel pretty lucky, and I feel really lucky that I’m able to create a business for myself because I’m just not a person that would do really well in an office setting doing the same thing and building it on a consistent basis.  It fits with my personality, too.
  • On March 15, 2013
    Ashley Koff answered the question: Ashley Koff

    How did Ashley Koff get into the nutrition world?

    I was born into the health world. My family is made up of physicians. My dad is a surgeon and he’s a pediatric surgeon. Very early on, one of my first jobs was working in his office. A lot of what he would remark to me is that, “I wouldn’t have to operate on many of these kids if they had better nutrition.” That was a really important thing that stuck in my head without me realizing it. But at the same time, I was also a grocery bagger and then worked my way up to cashier and manager at grocery stores and restaurants. So I’ve always had a food interest and an interest in what people purchase.

    I think the health side of it ran in line with also my own personal interests and pathways. I have a good personal friend who says about our profession — she happens to be a therapist — that “research is ‘me-search’” whenever we’re going out. There’s so much of what I do today and where I’ve come from has been because of questions that I had about my own health and choices that I was making and real frustrations about where I felt medical answers let me down and nutrition options weren’t being presented.

    My job today is to present those nutrition options with the hopes that people can consider them either before medical intervention or part in parcel with it. I’ve also just always been a foodie. I just never bought into the fat-free food that didn’t taste good that “was good for you.” I think it’s an intersection of all of those.
  • On March 15, 2013
    Ashley Koff answered the question: Ashley Koff

    How does Ashley Koff order when she dines out?

    It really depends a little bit if it’s just me and a companion, and we’re just going, “Hey, I want to check this out.” It’s hard for me to turn off my “work-curiosity brain.” But also a lot of times if I’m going for work or somebody knows what I do for work, then maybe the chef is going to say, “Hey, I want you to try this,” sort of thing. So sometimes I’m not ordering.

    I really believe in trying something. If something is presented to me, I want to try it.  That said, I also really believe that it’s very important to stand up for what your choices are and what your preferences are and what your dislikes are. I have a really strong dislike for certain textures and it’s going to ruin a meal for me if I feel like I’m having that forced upon me. 

    Typically, I will look at a menu. I tend to like things simpler and celebrating the quality of the ingredient, so I do scan the menu first to see if there’s something that I have never heard of. I love to ask questions. And the second thing I look for is what’s organic, what’s local, and I’m super excited. I love vegetables. It’s going to sound like such the nutritionist comment, but I happen to just love what people are doing with vegetables today, so I’ll look at that piece. 

    Then just as I tell my clients to do, I figure out from a menu, “Okay, I don’t want to overdo it in terms of carbohydrates,” so not just looking at foods for their nutrients, but I might make choices. If there is an amazing potato dish on there, then I’m not going to also be ordering pasta. And also I love to — without putting any pressure on my table companions — hear what they’re ordering because I know I might just want a bite of something; and if they’re ordering it, I can taste it from them and be happy with what I’m ordering. I do tend to order more in the appetizer or small-plate approach of trying many different things rather than just one dish and saying this is what I want.
  • On March 15, 2013
    Ashley Koff answered the question: Ashley Koff

    What does Ashley Koff think are the biggest nutrition misconceptions?

    The absolute biggest myth that exists across the board is that good nutrition, proper nutrition, is complicated. It’s so unbelievably simple, especially if you take a moment to really understand the body’s physiology. What’s happening is that today we have a diet industry and we have a medical industry that are really confused and made us think that we need to know all of these different things. The reality is if you put into the body what the body recognizes and you keep the quantity relatively appropriate and you learn to balance the different nutrients — kind of focus on where are my carbs coming from, my protein, my fat, making sure I get in vegetables as I can during the day — it’s really like four things to think about, and that’s about it. It doesn’t need to be this epic, super involved and require a lot of money on that part. 

    I actually think this relates to travel a lot — in my opinion, indulgence and healthy choices are in the same place. I think the most indulgent thing we can do when we’re traveling is indulge in things that are great for us. If you’re taking a wine-tasting trip or you’re going and having this amazing meal — if you’re going to The French Laundry or you’re in New York and you’re going to a Five-Star restaurant or wherever you are in the world — these things actually are celebrating food, food quality and they’re great for our health. Getting to go biking through the South of France, any of these things. I think that indulgence, we’ve sort of separated indulgence from health and the reality is that health and indulgence go hand in hand. When we learn that part, it makes travel and great nutrition, there’s no compromise. It’s a win-win.
  • On March 15, 2013
    Ashley Koff answered the question: Ashley Koff

    What does Ashley Koff think are some misconceptions about nutrition and travel?

    When we talk about travel, there’s the person who takes maybe one or two trips a year and somebody who is incorporating travel — and it could be by car, train or plane — on a regular basis. If you’re traveling on a regular basis, like once or twice a quarter or every week, you really can’t think about travel as this “forget about nutrition time.” So one of the things I really try to focus on with people is if they are traveling regularly, you need to be as conscious of your nutrition and not sort of put those days aside and say, “Oh, whatever, I’m going to be traveling. Whatever happens, happens.” You don’t want to put stuff into your body that the body doesn’t recognize. It can really throw you off and either you get sick or certainly ruin any of your health goals in that way.

    The other one is that when you’re traveling, there just aren’t healthy options available. We’re seeing this change so much in terms of making options available in the airport, on planes, all of these different places. I think that’s really helpful and it minimizes the amount of effort that you have to put into it; but there is still some effort to make sure that you’re making better quality choices.
  • On March 15, 2013
    Ashley Koff answered the question: Ashley Koff

    What are Ashley Koff’s tips to staying healthy on the road?

    One of the things is to plan ahead. I do travel a lot and use the Ashley Koff Approved Travel Kit. This is packed all the time and ready to go. So I think having all of that and being able to plan ahead is helpful, but I know it doesn’t always happen that way.  

    The other part that I think is a really important is if you’re going to only focus on one thing, I think that the hydration piece is going to be really key. We do so many things that dehydrate us, like getting a coffee — certainly a venti or one of these large coffees. Also the food that we tend to grab has a lot of sodium in it. We also tend to maybe not drink as much water because you don’t want to be running into the bathroom or you’re astounded that a bottle of water is going to cost $7, which I can appreciate. There are bottles that you can bring that have their own filters in them, and there are different things you can do. But hydration is really going to make a massive difference.

    Hydration is not just about water getting into the body, it’s about your balance of sodium and potassium. Sodium keeps water outside of the cells and potassium brings water into the cells. Try drinking coconut water; it can also mean adding avocado to a salad; maybe if you get dried fruit without sulfur and it’s organic, it can be grabbing the dried mangos; having a banana; or eating a potato — some things that will keep you getting that potassium without high levels of sodium is going to make big difference for you.
  • On March 15, 2013
    Ashley Koff answered the question: Ashley Koff

    What does Ashley Koff wear when she travels?

    It really depends on what my arrival is; but I would say that I travel for comfort. So typically I’m in some sort of New Balance post-workout shoes — not running sneakers, but they’re slip-on, they’re really easy that way — and some version of a baggy, elastic waist pant and sweater/shirt or some type of running suit/jacket-type thing. But just really for comfort. The one thing I will say is that I travel with copious amounts of layers because I find that whether it’s a train, flight or whatever, you just end up with so many different temperatures. That’s one of the ways that I think I stay healthy when I travel, too.
  • On March 15, 2013
    Ashley Koff answered the question: Ashley Koff

    Who is Ashley Koff’s favorite travel companion?

    I end up typically going alone most of the time. I’ve made some really close friends, relationships, etc. from my travels. But a favorite companion is going to be somebody that is up for whatever comes about. I’ve had the luck of having some great companions who show me things they know I would appreciate, and that’s really great as well.