There's one question Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis is asked so often, she devoted an entire cookbook to it: How do you cook what you cook and stay so thin? The Giada at Home host may be known for making piles of pasta (often covered in heaping ladlefuls of sauce and a hearty sprinkling of Parm), but that doesn't mean that's what she's eating all day, every day.
"I eat small meals all day," De Laurentiis says. "I don't eat a lot of food at any point in time ... I basically snack all day long."
For her, it's all about simplicity, sticking to a fairly regimented diet with fresh, basic ingredients. Here's exactly what that looks like.
Her Breakfast Isn't What You'd Expect
De Laurentiis starts pretty much every day the same way (): Brown rice with olive oil and salt.
"I like a starch or a grain in the morning. That's just how I like to start my day," she says. "When I was growing up, my mom used to make farro, which is a cracked wheat, right, and she used to just make a pot of it, like people make oatmeal."
Her mom would set out a bunch of toppings — balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs — letting everyone make their own customized bowls for breakfast.
"When I'm traveling, I'll do instead, because it's much easier to find in hotels," De Laurentiis explains. "It's a really healthy way to start your day, it fills me up for several hours — I feel really light — and that olive oil really does help the complexion."
Her Go-To Snack Is Way Better Than Baby Carrots
De Laurentiis picked up her favorite mid-morning snack from her daughter, Jade, actually. The two will top rosemary Triscuits with ricotta and mascarpone cheese, then add a few chocolate chips for a little extra sweetness. It's a lot like a deconstructed cannoli, only with less sugar (and a hint of herbs).
She'll often have a small snack before lunch and one late-afternoon, before dinner. When she's not making faux-cannoli, she and her daughter also love to have pineapple-ginger smoothies, or she'll do a savory twist on the aforementioned Triscuit, topping it with provolone cheese, mortadella sausage and piquillo peppers.
"It's recreating a , which is really popular at my restaurant in Vegas," she says.
She Keeps It Lean at Lunch
De Laurentiis keeps it simple — and pretty healthy — at lunch, often having a salad with grilled chicken.
Anything Goes at Dinnertime
"At dinner, the world is my oyster," she says. De Laurentiis goes with whatever she's craving, be it pasta, a panini or soup and a salad.
Her Favorite Sweet Will Surprise You
Deep down, everyone has a food quirk — something they eat that other people don't necessarily understand, but to them, it's delicious c and De Laurentiis is no different. She loves dipping Milano cookies or Nilla wafers in lemonade.
"You've got to try it," she says, closing her eyes as she thinks about the combo. "Yuuuum."