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What Kristen Bell Eats to Fuel Her Career and Workouts

Kristen Bell is a champion multitasker. During this interview, for instance, the actress and mom of two is talking on the phone, eating granola, and driving home after a busy day of filming her NBC comedy, The Good Place. Simultaneously, Kristen is planning out the rest of the day in her head, including a wardrobe fitting, picking up her kids from school, and making dinner, among a thousand other things. She squeezes in exercise the same way: "At work, while I'm running through lines with my fellow actors, I'll be leaning backward on a chair doing triceps dips," says Kristen, 37. "At home, when my kids and I are on a walk, and they're meandering and looking at leaves, I'll do lunges. I get it in however and whenever I can." (Here's how to squeeze in a workout during your lunch break.)

Health is a huge priority for Kristen, who cares deeply about the food she puts in her body and makes being active with her daughters one of her top goals. "To me, being healthy means feeling good about the choices I'm making," she says. "And most important, it's about keeping fit mentally and physically. I'm constantly reminding myself that it's not about my thighs: It's about my commitment and my happiness level."

Good thing, then, that Kristen is feeling really happy these days. There's her thriving career—besides The Good Place, she is starring in the movie A Bad Moms Christmas, in theaters November 3, and reprising her role as the voice of Anna in Frozen 2, which goes into production next year—her #couplegoals marriage to actor Dax Shepard; and her two adorable daughters, Lincoln, 4, and Delta, 2 1/2. She's also committed to doing good and giving back: Kristen is the cofounder of This Bar Saves Lives, a company that donates a lifesaving nutritional packet to a child in need for every bar sold. (She helped two families get to shelter during Hurricane Irma too.)

Where does she find the hours, let alone the energy, for all that? Well, pasta and pizza definitely help. "Carbs—I love 'em!" she says. But a masterful game plan is also required. Here are Kristen's secrets for maximizing time—and having a blast along the way.

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Photo: James Macari

Set your exercise intention

"I joined a yoga studio this year and bought a monthly pass, and I've been going every chance I can. I enjoy the physical and mental reset I get in yoga more than any other workout. Being in a meditative state while I'm challenging my body is ideal. I like the fact that you set an intention because there's always something that I'm working through in a day, and it helps me do that. If I have a choice, I will always go to yoga rather than sit on the couch, because I feel so much better afterward."

Embrace the microburst

"I need fast workouts. I don't have an hour and a half—I have 25 minutes, max. So I incorporate sprints into my routine. I sprint up my driveway, walk back, repeat. I do it 10 or 15 times. The whole thing takes me maybe 15 minutes. It's fantastic for your heart, brain, and body. And sprinting makes me feel really strong." (Try this speed-building hill sprint workokut.)

Teach your kids a good workout ethic

"It's important to me to show my children that I care about my health and fitness enough to stay committed. So when I'm in their room with them, I'll do some squats. When they ask what I'm doing, I'll say I'm getting my physical fitness in. And because they copy everything I do, the next time they pick up a heavy bag they'll say, 'I'm getting my workout in.' It's a value I want to instill in my kids at an early age—that paying attention to your body is mandatory. Whether it's putting my sunscreen on or doing push-ups, it's not just me taking care of myself but also me helping shape my daughters."

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Photo: James Macari

Eat your cravings

"I am obsessed with food! I start my day with matcha. And then, when my stomach wakes up, I order egg whites, spinach, extra feta, and hot sauce on set. I tell the caterer, 'Once you've added so much feta that you think, Oh no, I've added too much feta, double that.' As a snack at work, I'll grab a Chobani yogurt. At home, I'll pick things that are blooming in my garden—mulberries, nectar plums, blackberries. Lunch is almost always a big garbage disposal salad. I start with lettuce and add a scoop of rice, a scoop of beans, a handful of nuts, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, cucumber, strawberries, blueberries, a splash of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and some sea salt. It's delicious. My favorite food, though, is croutons. Any and all croutons. I don't discriminate."

Customize your carbs

"For dinner, I love pasta. Love it. But I'm a vegetarian, so I have to monitor my protein intake. There is a brand of pasta that I've been getting at Thrive Market called Banza that's made from chickpeas and pea protein. It's got a lot of protein in it—about 25 grams a serving—and it tastes like regular pasta. It's so good. What I'll do is cut up some cherry tomatoes, fry them in a pan with a little olive oil, throw the cooked noodles in, then add a little more olive oil, and maybe some ghee, and crack an egg in it for creaminess. The dish is like a carbonara, but with tomatoes and without meat, and it's truly divine. I'm telling you, this pasta has changed my life." (Try these high-protein vegetarian dinners when you want your macros without the meat.)

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Level up your nutritional know-how

"My best healthy habit is knowing how to read a nutrition label. Some people look at what the carbs are and that's all they think about. Others check to see what the sugar is. And some people just zero in on the protein. I try to balance everything. Does an avocado have a ton of fat in it? Yes, but it's healthy fat, so have an avocado with sea salt. Same thing with fruit. I pay attention to a food's nutritional value and then balance my diet really well. Like knowing, OK, I've had enough protein today, I'm going to eat carbs for dinner, or vice versa. I appreciate understanding what I'm putting into my body." (Here's everything you need to know about tracking your macros.)

Beauty is worth the effort

"I never go to bed with makeup on. I double-cleanse at night and use a wipe before I wash my face. I like the natural wipes from Neutrogena and their pore-clarifying cleanser, which I use with my Clarisonic. Then I put on the Neutrogena Hydro Boost with hyaluronic acid to moisturize. I also use a filter on my showerhead to pull some of the chlorine out of the water. It's amazing how much more moisture my hair has now. Oh, here's another good tip: I always thought that sleeping on a silk pillowcase was just a bill of goods. It is not. I have fewer flyaways and split ends. It's awesome. Sleep on a silk pillowcase, and I guarantee you'll notice the difference."

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