For Christie Brinkley, the key to eating a healthy diet is all about colors. It's a simple eating plan that can be used by anyone, and it helps you pack in nutrients (dark, leafy greens pack more nutrients than light ones, and orange foods deliver different nutrients than green, for instance).
The gorgeous supermodel told Shape.com in an exclusive interview that she's a vegetarian and the main concept in her healthy diet is to "go for as many colors as possible in a day."
Christie Brinkley also points out that for anyone trying to lose weight and get back in shape, they should start with Shape—as in Shape.com! In another interview for us, she revealed part of how she manages to look amazing at age 56, and credits part of it to using Total Gym. "The only constant that I have in my life is that I start whatever I do with my Total Gym because I believe it helps keep me from getting injured," she said.
She also pointed out that using Total Gym is like doing yoga, which she practices. "I feel like in the way that yoga prepares a body for any eventuality that could befall you in life the Total Gym is the same concept. It is constantly stretching and strengthening." That, she says, helps prevent injuries. (See the whole exclusive interview here.)
Here, in an exclusive new Q & A, Christie Brinkley reveals the surprisingly easy eating plan that have kept her looking so amazing.
Shape.com: What advice do you have for women who are overweight and trying to get back in shape?
Christie Brinkley: I think that reading about the way food affects your body—like just the fact that they're reading Shape.com—means that they're on the right track. I really believe that the more informed you are about the benefits of a healthy bite versus the chain reaction that you're going to put into effect in your body when you take that bite—you just suddenly don't want to make that choice for yourself anymore. It's beyond willpower at that point, it's become a desire to do something good for yourself.
Shape.com: You're a vegetarian, is your whole family?
Christie Brinkley: I've been a vegetarian since I was about 12 years old. When I became a vegetarian I got my mom and dad to become vegetarian, and my brother became a vegetarian.
VEGETARIAN RECIPES: Healthy vegetarian meals in 10 minutes
Shape.com: What's your typical eating plan?
Christie Brinkley: For many, many, many years I've always said I go for as many colors as possible in a day. That's my main concept for making sure my kids get all the nutrients—making sure they get the deep greens, yellows and reds and purples, all of that. That's just an overarching concept to the way I like to eat, along with the whole idea of variety in exercise, variety in food with the colors. I like to vary what I have.
Shape.com: What about breakfast?
Christie Brinkley: A lot of mornings lately I will take a bowl and I throw some oatmeal right into it. I rarely have time to cook it so I just eat it raw. Then I'll pour some flax seed on top of that and maybe a little wheat germ, then I'll grab a couple of handfuls of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and rinse them off, toss them in and then I pour one of those Dannon things on top and stir it up. I always describe it…it's like a really moist juicy muffin. It is so good. I feel like it is giving you a lot of good things. You can also throw a handful of walnuts in there.
Shape.com: What do you eat for lunch?
Christie Brinkley: Lunch is a big huge salad with every color in it. From leafy greens to purple to herbs, fresh cut herbs mixed into it for flavors. I vary what I toss into it. Sometimes it might be lentils and chopped tomatoes, other days it could be garbanzo beans, some days I might have just a salad and have some lentil soup on the side. Generally it's the big salad. Maybe it's avocados chopped on top. Maybe it's a handful of nuts and seeds and whatever.
Christie Brinkley: Right now I'm addicted to these things, it's so bad. They're called So Delicious. It is coconut and soy, it's like a so-called healthy dessert. I just discovered those recently and I'm so hooked on them. Lately I've been wanting to have one after my salad in the middle of the day and I think, "Oh it's not so bad,' but that's a habit I'm going to break now.
Also I love Fuji apples, I always have those around. Mid-morning, I might eat one of those. Sometimes I might have a big scoop of peanut butter with them.
Shape.com: Do you treat yourself?
Christie Brinkley: Believe me, I love a good chocolate chip ice cream. I'm not going to go for some lousy version of it. If I'm going to have it I'm going to have a really good one. I believe in treating yourself occasionally to something. But then keep other things in your fridge like those great Gnosis chocolates. They're like the healthiest chocolate that I know of that literally it is like taking a bite of antioxidants. It's got like Acai berries mixed in with this very pure cocoa and you're really getting antioxidants and healthful benefits in each bite. They say it is anti-aging to eat that chocolate.
Christie Brinkley: Dinner just depends. I always have to have some sort of pasta; it's more likely to get eaten by my kids. Whatever the rest of it is, it usually starts with a pan, garlic and olive oil and then various things get tossed in there. So whether it's broccoli rabe, some sort of bean, a whole variety of vegetables. Whether I make a fish in the oven it is that kind of thing.
More exclusive interviews:
Celebrity Workout Exclusive: How Christie Brinkley Stays so Gorgeous
Exclusive Glee Star Jenna Ushkowitz Tries the New ViPR Workout
Kelly Osbourne: "How I Lost 50 Pounds and Found My Confidence"