Celebrity Diet Tips
Alison Sweeney's Top 10 Tips for Feeding Your Family Healthy Food
Life can be a bit of a juggling act for Alison Sweeney. The 33-year-old host of NBC's The Biggest Loser and star of the soap Days of Our Lives is also the mother of two kids under 6. "It can be hectic, but I've learned to take it a day at a time," says Alison. In her new book, The Mommy Diet (which comes out in October), she shares some of the insights and weight-loss tricks she's picked up over the years. "It will be focused on helping women take care of themselves in a positive, attainable way," she says.
And when it comes to feeding her family balanced meals, "attainable" is a key word. One of Alison's biggest challenges is finding the time to shop. "It's impossible to get to the market every day," she says, "so I make sure I always have healthy staples on hand."
1. MAKE ONE MEAL
"To save time—and my sanity—I prepare just one dinner each night, and everyone is expected to eat it."
2. KEEP VEGGIES WITHIN REACH
"If you clean them, cut them up, and put them in a bowl, they'll get eaten. Right now my son, Ben, is loving red bell peppers and sugar snap peas."
3. INTRODUCE NEW FLAVORS
"I'll sprinkle cinnamon on the kids' oatmeal and mix fresh mint in with their cooked carrots. Someone once told me kids need to taste a food 10 times before their palate really opens up to it. I've found that fact to be very helpful!"
4. OPT FOR COMPLEX CARBS
"They hold you over far longer than refined carbs, like bagels. That's why I start the day with a bowl of oatmeal."
5. GET GRILLING
"It's a tasty, lowfat way to cook, and it minimizes cleanup in the kitchen. My husband, Dave, and I are the perfect tag team—I prepare the food, and he barbecues it. We keep it simple: marinated chicken breasts, turkey burgers, or veggie and lean beef kebobs."
6. OFFER OPTIONS
"I'll ask Ben if he wants beans or broccoli, whole-wheat pasta or brown rice. When kids are part of the decision-making process, they're more likely to eat what's on their plate."
7. DOWNSIZE GOODIES
"Baking is soothing for me—and it's something my son and I like to do together. But having those treats around can be dangerous. So I'll make mini banana muffins or a small loaf of zucchini bread."
8. KNOW YOUR WEAKNESSES
"I lose sight of my diet when I'm around savory snacks, like tortilla chips, so I don't keep them in the house."
9. READ LABELS
"While working on The Biggest Loser, I learned how misleading packaging info can be, especially when it comes to serving sizes. One 'personal pizza' we found actually serves eight!"
10. SPLURGE ON THE REAL THING
"I'd rather have one small bite of something I'm craving than a fat- and sugarfree version of it. My best friend gave me an ice cream maker, so I can whip up a thick, creamy dessert and be satisfied with just a spoonful or two."
More Celebrity Diet Tips: How Cheryl Burke Stays Healthy on the Go
Celebrity Diet Tips
Cheryl Burke's Top 10 Tips for Eating Healthy on the Go
WITH A FAST-PACED LIFESTYLE THAT INCLUDES managing three successful studios and hoofing her way to two victories on Dancing With the Stars, Cheryl Burke, 25, is the first person to admit traveling is a dietary minefield. In addition to navigating on-set catering, fast food, and airline fare, there are the irregular hours. "Being on tour can be especially grueling," she says. "For six weeks, you're sleeping all day and hitting a new city nearly every night, so it's hard to maintain a consistent eating schedule."
To prevent herself from packing on the pounds, Cheryl has a game plan for every venue, from airport food courts to hotels. "That way I'm less likely to give in to temptation," she says. "And I can meet my nutritional needs without feeling deprived."
1. GO FOOD SHOPPING
"If you have a fridge in your hotel room, stock up on a few healthy staples from a local supermarket or Whole Foods. When I'm on the tour bus, I'll make a grocery list that includes salad, nonfat vanilla yogurt, lowfat granola, and organic microwavable soups."
2. EAT IN THE A.M.
"I used to skip breakfast. But now I know it gets your metabolism going and prevents you from overeating later. My go-to meal is an egg white omelet with lowfat cheese and whole-wheat toast."
3. PACK SNACKS
"I'll munch on Triscuits and peanut butter or cut-up vegetables. And I always have a South Beach Living protein bar, fruit, or almonds in my bag."
4. ORDER IT YOUR WAY
"I ask for restaurant dishes to be made with olive oil rather than butter or for them to hold the cheese. If they can't accommodate me, I find something else on the menu."
5. SEEK OUT CHAINS
"At airports I depend on Subway or Quiznos, where you can have a sandwich made exactly to your specifications. They also display calorie counts, which is helpful."
6. CHUG H20
"On a plane, at a rehearsal, or in my home, I always have a liter of Smartwater in my hands."
7. GO WITH THE GRAIN
"I feel better about any food choice when it's served with fiber-rich pasta or bread."
8. SIP A SMOOTHIE
"Store-bought ones can be high in calories, so I usually make my own, blending natural peanut butter, ground flaxseed, chocolate protein powder, and nonfat milk."
9. COOK AT HOME
"When I'm not on the road, I definitely make an effort to stay in and cook so I have more control over what—and how much—I'm eating. My new favorite dinner is tacos made with whole-wheat tortillas, ground chicken, and fresh tomatoes."
10. DON'T EAT AFTER DARK
"I know from experience that making late-night meals a habit can get you into trouble!"
More Celebrity Diet Tips: Healthy Entertaining Tricks from a Real Housewife
Celebrity Diet Tips
Bethenny Frankel's Top 10 Tips for Healthy Entertaining
"HOSTING A PARTY DOESN'T HAVE TO TAKE A toll on your waistline or well-being," says Bethenny Frankel, a star of The Real Housewives of New York City. She should know. As the author of Naturally Thin and The Skinnygirl Dish, the 39-year-old chef has made a career of revamping calorie-rich cuisine and cocktails. "The idea is to create healthier versions of crowd-pleasing dishes without compromising flavor or spending hours in the kitchen," she says. "By keeping the menu simple and preparing ahead, you can have fun at your own party." Bethenny, who is six months pregnant with her first child, says she'll definitely take her own advice when she and her fiancé start entertaining friends in their new downtown New York City apartment. "If you don't know by now, a happy host means happy guests!"
1. CREATE A SIGNATURE COCKTAIL
"Mix up a batch ahead of time using a clear liquor, like tequila or vodka (darker alcohol has more impurities and gives you a worse hangover), with lots of club soda and ice and just a splash of juice and other mixers to keep calories down."
2. TRY TAKEOUT
"Weaving prepared foods into your menu will save you time and money. Pick up brown rice sushi rolls from your favorite Japanese restaurant; give store-bought hummus a gourmet spin by sprinkling it with cilantro, toasted pine nuts, and lemon zest; and add some chopped-up mangos or fresh corn to jarred salsa."
3. INVEST IN UPSCALE INGREDIENTS
"Good quality olives, feta and parmesan, and cured meats have intense flavors, so you and your guests will feel satisfied with less."
4. TASTE AS YOU GO
"Before you serve a dish, take a bite and make sure it's something you would want to eat at a party. "
5. LOAD UP ON VEGGIES
"Vegetables not only add filling fiber and disease-fighting antioxidants to any dish, they also brighten up a plate. I layer red and yellow sautéed peppers on my cheese quesadillas and blend chopped spinach, tomatoes, mashed peas, or fresh herbs into dips."
6. HAVE FUN WITH FRUIT
"For dessert I'll often make rainbow fruit skewers, alternating chunks of fresh mango, kiwi, and watermelon."
7. UPDATE OLD-SCHOOL FAVORITES
"People love traditional hors d'oeuvres, but they're not always the best things for you. Try wrapping scallops or shrimp in turkey bacon and making deviled eggs by mixing whites with the yolks."
8. SNEAK IN WHOLE GRAINS
"Incorporate them whenever possible. If the topping tastes decadent—say, a whole-grain baguette with sautéed mushrooms, truffle oil, and Pecorino Romano—no one will feel cheated."
9. TELL GUESTS IT'S GOOD FOR THEM
"Feel free to reveal that your artichoke dip was made with lowfat ingredients. Even better, label figure friendly items—e.g., baked tortilla chips. People are more inclined to indulge if they feel less guilt."
10. WATCH AND LEARN
"See what your guests eat and what they leave. I once made white bean salad with Italian tuna on toast points, but no one ate it because they didn't want tuna breath. I won't make that again for a party!"