Staying slim when your whole world revolves around food can be a challenge, especially if you're a Hollywood actress who had a baby not long ago. But as Haylie Duff, 31, explains, cravings can be overcome and baby weight can be shed even if it involves some patience. It took the author/host/blogger of The Real Girl's Kitchen a full year to return to her pre-pregnancy weight—daughter Ryan is now 16 months old—but she never sacrificed delicious food during the journey. This fall, she takes her food show on the road with Haylie's America. We tagged along for the ride. Check out what she had to say and then don't miss these 40 Best and Worst Celebrity Weight Loss Tips!
Did you stress about losing the extra pounds quickly?
I didn't put a ton of pressure on myself, which is definitely not the norm in Hollywood. Everyone wonders how celebrities can look like they never had a baby two weeks after giving birth. That wasn't my experience. I just let my body do what it was supposed to do naturally.
What was your best strategy for losing the weight?
Portion control. When I'm doing my show, I'm having all of this amazing food all day long and sometimes I go back to my hotel and think, "Holy moly, what did I eat today?" But actually, I'm only having one bite of this and one bite of that.
How is your new show Haylie's America different?
It's not so perfectly polished. I'm in an inspirational phase, going out in the field, traveling around the country, visiting restaurants, exploring new foods, and sharing what I love.
What's on your grocery list?
Our usual haul at the farmers' market is vegetables, lots of greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, asparagus, both kinds of zucchini—my secret weakness is okra because of my Southern roots—fruits like berries and pears, lentils and black beans.
DON'T MISS: 20 Wholesome Lentil Recipes
What's your food philosophy?
Balance. At home, we cook very healthy. On the days I'm shooting, I indulge more. I just try to even out the bad with the good stuff and hope to find myself somewhere in the middle.
The Real Girl's Baja Fish Taco Bowl
Makes 2 to 3 servings
2 cups jasmine rice
1 cup chopped cilantro
1–2 Tbsp butter
2–3 whitefish (Dover sole) fillets
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 cup cauliflower (or broccoli)
1 yellow heirloom tomato, chopped
1/2 cup chopped radish
1/2 cup chopped scallion
3–4 avocado wedges
Cotija cheese to taste
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Sprinkle of cayenne and paprika (to season fish)
For Avocado-Cilantro Cream
Pulse all in blender:
1 ripe avocado
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup Mexican crema or Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp lime juice (+ zest)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
How to make it:
Cook the rice according to package, then add the cilantro and 1 Tbsp of lime juice. Season the fish. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the butter and cook the fish fillets until done. Sauté carrots and cauliflower and build the bowl: layer the rice, vegetables, fish, tomato, radishes, scallions, avocado-cilantro cream sauce and top with Cotija cheese. Enjoy!