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It’s hard to imagine Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis eating anything but a healthy diet, but in her new book Eat Better, Feel Better: My Recipes for Wellness and Healing, Inside and Out, the celebrity chef reveals that in reality, her eating habits veered towards easy-to-grab, unhealthy choices.
According to TODAY, Giada reveals that while on-set she often reached for comfort foods in between shots and after a long day at work she would order takeout or eat out, often opting for carb-heavy pasta and rich desserts.
TODAY reveals that the foods left Giada feeling “bloated and tired” and so, in an effort to find a healthier way to eat the foods she loves, Giada implemented the following six changes to get her eating back on track:
Taking Small Steps – “Many people think there needs to be a drastic change in order to eat healthy, but that’s not true. My cooking still stays true to my Italian roots, with lots of delicious, fresh ingredients,” she said. “Eating well is not about eliminating foods — it’s about noting how they affect you and eating less of those that challenge your health. It’s about finding the right balance for you.”
Giada told TODAY that instead of eliminating foods that weren’t right for her, she just reduced them instead.
She Observes How Foods Make Her Feel – “I started really listening to my body and eating the foods that loved me back,” she told TODAY. “That helped my body heal itself and also indicated what foods worked for my body and what foods didn’t.”
Caffeine and sugar were two things Giada learned she needed to scale back on.
She Always Shops With a Plan – heading to the grocery store without a meal plan is a big no-no for Giada, who told TODAY, “I used to shop for what I felt like eating in the moment, but I realized that I wasn’t buying the most nutritious ingredients or meals because of it. Planning meals helps you stay on track and not over-buy. Eating better begins at the grocery store.”
Choose Flavor-Packed Foods – Giada told TODAY she loves to shop at small farmers markets whenever possible, sharing, “I find that the vegetables and fruits from a smaller seller often have way more flavor than from a larger supermarket.”
Giada said she also opts for organic produce whenever she can.
She Finds a Way to Make Healthy Choices on Busy Days – “I would meal prep at the beginning of the week and batch cook things like quinoa, brown rice, roasted sweet potatoes or cauliflower, and chicken broth. This made it easy to throw lunches together,” Giada said of her decision to start bringing her lunch to the set instead of picking up unhealthy foods. “Once you have everything prepped, it’s super simple to make delicious, nutrient-dense meals in a matter of minutes.”
She Sneaks in Super Foods to Her Favorite Meals – Giada told TODAY that she loves to add superfoods to her favorite meals to add a healthy kick. These include adding sweet potato to grain bowls, leafy greens to soups and stews, salmon to plates of pasta and salads, and adding cocoa nibs to her smoothies.