35 Foods Successful People Eat
When you’re an A-list celeb, millionaire CEO, or best-selling author, your diet isn’t just important—it’s a cornerstone of your success. And that’s because food does more shape our muscles and help us lose weight; it fuels the most vital organ for our success: the brain. Our diets affect everything from our memory and emotions to our job performance and productivity, so it’s imperative that you fuel it properly—especially if you want to launch a company, score a promotion, or simply want to become the a better, healthier version of yourself.
Not sure which foods can help you reach your goals? We found out what fuels some of America’s most successful people, so you can follow their lead. And while you’ve got self-improvement on the brain, be sure to check out these 30 Easy Eating Habits for a Flatter Tummy!
“When I make breakfast at home, I love to make soft scrambled eggs with sharp cheddar and cilantro. I typically pair that with a cup of black tea,” Kelly Choi, former host of Bravo TV’s Top Chef Masters and author of The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse, tells us. Emma Watson, star of the forthcoming film Colonia, also likes to kick off her day by cracking open a few eggs. “I make a really amazing egg tortilla in the morning,” the 25-year old star told Marie Claire. “It’s my special thing. I make guacamole, salsa, and scrambled eggs, and then I cook the tortilla. It’s pretty simple, really, but yummy.”
Why It’s Smart: As you eat the yolk, you’re getting a solid hit of choline, a B-vitamin that’s been shown to blast away belly fat, enhance memory, boost mood and take mental performance to new heights.
“One of my favorite lunches is veggie pizza on whole-wheat bread,” First Lady Michelle Obama writes in her book American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America. “It’s really good, just loaded with vegetables and cheese and tomato sauce. I love that.”
Why It’s Smart: While simple carbs like traditional pizza crust convert to memory-diminishing sugar inside the body, whole grains have the opposite effect, helping you stay mentally alert throughout the day. Michelle’s addition of veggies is another smart move. Eating more fruit and vegetable have been shown to increase productivity by as much as 20 percent!
“Breakfast for me is usually a Greek yogurt with blueberries,” says E! News host and the author of The EveryGirl’s Guide to Cooking Maria Menounos. “I also love Harley Pasternak’s White Breakfast Smoothie. It’s made with apple, banana, Greek yogurt, almonds, and milk.”
Why It’s Smart: Greek yogurt is overflowing with metabolism-revving protein and gut-healthy, slimming probiotics, so it’s no surprise that it’s a mainstay in Menounos’ diet. (Have you seen how flat her stomach is?!) Mixing in fruits like bananas, which are rich in brain-boosting glucose, and blueberries is another smart movie. Aside from the added fiber, the antioxidants in blueberries help lessen inflammation, warding off impaired memory and diminished brain health.
GRILLED CHICKEN & WALNUTS
“When I get home, my easy go-to dinner is grilled chicken breast—you can make it in five or seven minutes. I usually pair it with a spinach salad with cranberries and walnuts,” Dancing with the Stars star Karina Smirnoff reveals.
Why It’s Smart: According to a Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease report, eating walnuts as part of a Mediterranean diet may help counteract age-related cognitive decline and even reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s. While slimming, lean proteins (like chicken!) that can be cooked in under 10-minutes can help you stay on track with a healthy eating plan, even when your 9 to 5, becomes more of an 8 to 7. To discover more proteins to keep you trim and healthy for life, check out these 30 Best Proteins for Your Penis.
KALE CHIPS & PRESSED JUICES
“My favorite healthy snacks range from homemade superfood ice creams (no dairy, no gluten, no sugar) to Kale chips to pressed juices,” says actress and former professional wrestler Stacy Keibler. “I love food that gives me energy throughout the day. I also love a good, quick snack, which is why I generally carry a raw bar like the Element Superfoods Seedbar with me!”
Why It’s Smart: Healthy on-the-go snacks are vital to those who need sustained energy throughout the day. Whether your day is jam-packed with meetings or you simply need to run from the office to your kid’s little league game, Stacy’s go-to eats can give your the energy you need to fit it all in—without feeling run down. For more of our favorite healthy packaged snacks, check out these 25 Eat This! Snacks Delivered to Your Door.
“Once a week, I eat nothing but vegan soup for a full day,” Nicole Chaszar, founder of Splendid Spoon, tells us. “This helps me keep my weekly calorie count in check so I don’t feel bad about indulging on the weekends. It’s also good for karmic energy. Each day a person eats vegan saves 1,100 gallons of water, 20 pounds of CO2 and the life of one animal.”
Why It’s Smart: Having a cheat day without worry, is relaxing, and makes staying on track and focused during the week far easier. After a chill weekend that includes a favorite indulgence or two you’ll be recharged and ready to conquer the world.
“After my 7:30 weather [segment] I usually make a protein smoothie which consists of protein powder, fiber powder, 8-ounces [of] almond milk, frozen berries, a little ginger, and a little agave. Maybe I will throw in a little almond butter, too” Al Roker told Bon Appétit.
Why It’s Smart: Here at ETNT, we’re big fans of smoothies. And that’s because they’re one of the easiest and efficient ways to consume some of the most vital nutrients and vitamins. For some of our go-to blends, check out these 56 Best-Ever Smoothies.
QUINOA AND CHOCOLATE
“Quinoa, a fiber-rich grain, is one of my favorite foods to accompany a piece of fish with veggies,” says Mark Langowski, celebrity trainer and author of the brand-new book Eat This, Not That! For Abs! “But I like to treat myself once a week to something, whether it is a slice of pizza, a bite of dessert, or a handful of chocolate,” Langowski reveals.
Why It’s Smart: The grain is packed with satiating protein, essential amino acids, belly-filling fiber, and iron, a nutrient that increases brain function. For delicious ways to eat the ancient grain, check out these 30 Quinoa Recipes for Weight Loss. As for dark chocolate, new research shows that it can likely increase blood flow to the brain and improve concentration. To reap the benefits—without expanding your waistline—stick to one one-inch square of the dark stuff per day.
TRAIL MIX & KASHI CEREAL
“I’m wary of trail mixes because they’re so high in calories, but I’ve found some good mixes in Whole Goods, and I don’t know what I would do without my Kashi cereal,” singing and songwriting sensation Carrie Underwood tells us. “I’ll throw some in a plastic Ziplock baggie and put it in my purse or backpack. Those are the kinds of things I always have on me to give me energy and keep me sustained until I get home.”
Why It’s Smart: Carrie is smart to stay away from specialty nuts and mixes. Things like dry roasted peanuts and chocolate-spiked trail mixes are filled with additives, sugar, and excess calories—not what you want to be snacking on if you’re trying to eat well and improve your overall health. However, making your own mix—with cereal, bulk bin raw nuts etc.— is a great way to reap the benefits of nuts (which range from weight loss to cholesterol management), while staying on the straight and narrow with your diet.
OATMEAL & PROTEIN SHAKES
You may have heard that Khloé Kardashian recently lost 11 pounds by giving up dairy—but that’s the short version of her weight slim down story. She didn’t just moo-ve on from the cow, she also added early a.m. workouts to her routine and started eating fiber and protein rich foods for breakfast. In her recent book, Strong Looks Better Naked, the svelte reality star reveals that she hits the gym at 6 a.m, and refuels afterward with oatmeal and a protein shake. Bobbi Brown, founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics is also a plan of shake n’ sip nutrition. “When I’m trying to drop a few pounds, I carry around a shaker cup of chocolate protein powder. If I’m ravenous, I add the water, and it fills me up so I don’t eat something high-calorie instead.”
Why It’s Smart: Oatmeal is rich in resistant starch, a type of carb that resists digestion and feeds healthy gut bacteria, helping you feel fuller for longer. As for the protein shake, a protein-rich diet can help you lose weight and burn pesky belly fat, which can not only boost your confidence, it can also give you more energy to tackle your ever-expanding to-do list. For some culinary inspiration, check out these 23 Best Protein Shake Recipes.
When most people think of popcorn, a giant butter-drenched bucket is often what comes to mind. However, air-popped popcorn made at home is actually a low-calorie, fiber-rich, whole-grain snack that can ward off hunger-causing crashes in blood sugar. David Zinczenko, author of Eat This, Not That! and the Zero Belly Diet, likes to pop 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels and flavor it up with 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil, 2-ounces semisweet chopped chocolate and 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut.
Why It’s Smart: This tasty snack will keep your blood sugar levels stable, which not only wards off cravings, but also helps your brain function optimally. Not to mention, dressed up popcorn is a treat for your taste buds. For even more recipes that flatten your belly fast—made with the foods you love—check out the brand-new book from Abs Diet creator David Zinczenko that’s already topping the Amazon charts: —Zero Belly Cookbook!
Most people know Shaun T, as “the Insanity guy”—and the sobriquet is a perfect fit. Not only is his renowned workout, well, freakin’ insane, but so is his body. But his abs weren’t built on exercise alone. He wouldn’t have the physique he has today—one that’s helped him sell more than 10 million fitness DVDs—without following a smart diet plan. One of his favorite healthy eats is berries. “Berries like raspberries, strawberries and blackberries taste amazing, satisfy my sweet tooth, and are good for brain power,” Shaun T tells us. “They also have tons of antioxidants that help slow down the aging process.” For more of Shaun T’s favorite eats, check out his 20 Weight Loss Secrets from Celeb Trainer Shaun T
Why It’s Smart: Aside from their brain-boosting benefits and delicious flavor, berries have also been shown to incinerate belly fat by turning on your get-lean genes. In one 90-day study, rats fed a blueberry-enriched diet had leaner bellies than the control group. A leaner you = a longer, more enriching life.
“I’ve always been a big believer in balance: Train hard, work hard, and live hard—and sometimes that involves a bit of bubbly,” says Dan Roberts, celeb trainer and author of the fashion model workout, Methodology X. “Indulging once and while in a bit of something that’s bad for your health is often extremely good for the soul!”
Why It’s Smart: A solid work-life balance is paramount to your success—and your sanity. We love the idea of sipping Champagne because it’s lower in calories than wine and mixed drinks, plus, the bubbles are filling so you wind up drinking less over the course of the evening. When selecting a bottle, stay away from Demi-Sec and Doux. They carry more sugar than other varieties.
ALMOND BUTTER & FLAX
Justin Timberlake eats not one, but two daily breakfasts, according to Bon Appétit. His first meal includes “waffles with flax and almond butter and a scrambled egg.” Then after he hits the gym, he’ll refuel his tired muscles with an another egg or a protein shake. Another super-successful celeb who refuels with the help of nut butter: Robert Herjavec, star of ABC’s Shark Tank and CEO of Herjavec Group, a global IT security firm. He reportedly likes to smear Nuts ‘N More spreads on whole wheat bread after he breaks a sweat.
Why It’s Smart: Almonds are a potent source of vitamin E, which has been shown to help reduce the risk of cognitive impairment. And some studies indicate it can slow the decline caused by Alzheimer’s disease. What makes the flax a smart addition to Timberlake’s plate? The tiny superfood has been shown to lower cholesterol and battle inflammation.
We’re not going to sit here and tell you that model and reality star Kendall Jenner isn’t naturally thin because anyone who doesn’t live under a rock would call our bluff. (Plus, she’s not exactly shy about her Fritos chili cheese chip obsession.) But that doesn’t change the fact that the 5’10” 20-year-old has a ton on her plate—and she wouldn’t make it through her busy days without the proper fuel. On her app, Jenner shared her grocery list which included things like fresh fruit, milk, and cereal. She says cereal and milk are “musts for a quick breakfast” and adds that she stocks fresh fruit so she can “grab and go.” Basically, if it’s fast, simple, and somewhat healthy, she’ll keep it in her kitchen.
Why It’s Smart: Stocking fresh grab-and-go eats like pears, bananas, and apples ensure you’ll sneak some nutrition into your diet—even if you’re constantly on the run. Plus, fruits are naturally rich in energizing carbohydrates and blood-sugar stabilizing fiber, so they’ll help keep your energy up better than stuff like cookies and chips. And speaking of nature’s candy, check out our exclusive report, 25 Popular Fruits—Ranked By Sugar Content!
She may be 57-years-old, but you’d never guess it by looking at her. Madonna, mom of two and legendary music icon, maintains her killer body with a strict macrobiotic diet, which eliminates wheat, eggs, meat, and dairy and relies heavily on things like sea vegetables. What exactly is a sea vegetable? The most common is nori, the blackish wrap around the rice in your sushi roll. Other types of sea vegetables include kelp (commonly found in miso soup) wakame, dulse, and hijiki.
Why It’s Smart: Underwater veggies are packed with iodine, a nutrient that aids thyroid function and fat burn, says nutritionist Dana James of Food Coach NYC, who suggests sneaking sea vegetables into your diet at least three times a week. Seaweed also contains a compound called alginate, which has been shown to significantly cut fat absorption, says registered dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot. It’s no wonder the Material Girl has basically zero belly fat. We’ll take whatever she’s having!
She may be naturally petite, but Lea Michele works hard to keep her trim and toned figure on point—which is no easy feat considering how crazy-busy she is. To fuel her afternoons on set, the former Scream Queen and Glee star noshes on simple—yet healthy—recipes like homemade lentil burgers. (Aside from lentils, her recipe calls for onions, carrots, olive oil, black pepper, soy sauce, breadcrumbs, egg, spinach, and lemon.)
Why It’s Smart: First and foremost, bringing your own lunch from home is always a smart move. Not only does it save you cash, but you can control everything that winds up on your plate, ultimately saving you tons of calories. As for lentils, specifically, we love them because they’re a source of resistant starch, a slow-digesting fiber that triggers the release of acetate—a molecule in the gut that tells the brain when to stop eating. In fact, a systematic review of clinical trials on dietary pulses found that people who ate a daily serving of lentils (about 3/4 cup) reported feeling an average 31 percent fuller compared to a control diet. The less hungry you feel, the less food you’re apt to eat, which can equate to major weight loss.
From midriff-baring superstars like Beyoncé to conservative political types like Hillary Clinton, it seems everyone in the public eye is getting in on the hot sauce trend—and Jessica Alba is no exception. The actress, mom of two, and owner of The Honest Company says she stocks up to six different varieties of the condiment in her fridge on the reg. She’s particularly fond of anything habanero-Caribbean-flavored. While the slender star isn’t transforming her main dishes into flaming hot meals, she noshes on healthy snacks like popcorn and hummus with veggies.
Why It’s Smart: Packing heat is smart for a number of reasons. Capsaicin, the compound that gives chiles their signature kick, has been shown to increase body heat, boost metabolism, and decrease appetite. In fact, scientists are currently looking at turning capsaicin into an all-natural anti-obesity supplement for its ability to activate our “good,” calorie-burning brown fat stores. Plus, eating hot sauce is a little bit painful, which lowers the odds you’ll pig out, nutrition experts say. For some yummy and creative ways to incorporate the stuff into your diet, check out these 20 Hurts-So-Good Ways to Eat Hot Sauce!
You may have heard about the recent study that looked at what happens to The Biggest Loser participants years after the cameras have stopped rolling. While the 14 people the study researchers checked in with had regained a fair amount of the weight that they had lost during the competition, this isn’t the reality for all former show contestants. So far, Sonya Jones, who was a season 16 finalist, has kept off the weight for over a year. “When we taped the finale, I weighed 139 pounds. That’s about 20 pounds lighter than what the show’s medical team recommended, but I was trying to win the competition. I knew that I would never maintain that weight. I’m 179 pounds now and I feel great. I’m healthier and happier than ever,” Jones tells us. So, what foods are fueling her continued success? Greens—and lots of ‘em! “My fridge is always stocked with them,” she tells us.
Why It’s Smart: Leafy greens like spinach, arugula, romaine and kale are low-calorie yet super filling, thanks to their high fiber content. Plus, they can also be enjoyed a million different ways, whether eaten raw or cooked, making them a smart mainstay in your weight loss diet plan.
Homemade Bone Broth
You might not recognize his name off the bat, but Abel James is the real deal. He was one of the trainers from the most recent season of ABC’s My Diet is Better Than Yours and creator of The Wild Diet, a primarily plant-based plan that allows for meats, cheeses, butter, and even chocolate. After just one week on the diet, Able’s TV teammate lost an impressive 16 pounds! Curious what a guy like that stocks in his fridge, aside from stuff like green smoothies and raw cashew butter? Answer: He always keeps jars of homemade bone broth on hand. “We have some bubbling at all times. We use pasture-raised bones, usually beef or a chicken carcass or pieces of leftover turkey, and drink at least a cup a day,” says Abel.
Why It’s Smart: When animal bones are boiled to make the broth, their collagen is broken down into gelatin and extracted into the water. “When we ingest it, it acts as an intestinal Band-Aid, protecting and healing the lining of the digestive tract which aids digestion and helps us absorb extra nutrients from the foods we eat,” explains Lauren Slayton, MS RD, founder of Foodtrainers. Interested in incorporating more collagen into your diet? Enjoy a cup of bone broth or give some of these 35 Collagen Recipes That Turn Back The Clock a try.
Cat Greenleaf is the host of NBC’s three-time Emmy Award-winning series Talk Stoop with Cat Greenleaf—and a big fan of Angostura bitters. “I don’t drink alcohol. [Instead,] I load up on Angostura bitters—that’s the only kind I like…I drink bitters every night,” says the 44-year-old star.
Why It’s Smart: Replacing alcohol with something flavorful that’s not filled with chemicals or too many calories is a smart move for anyone looking to slim down or just wants to ward off a hangover. Interested in trying it out? Mix two or three dashes of Angostura bitters with a squeeze of fresh lime juice with seltzer and ice. Drop the slice of lime into the glass for some added flavor.
Food Network host Giada De Laurentiis always keeps chickpeas in her kitchen. “Chickpeas are super diverse…I toss them in salads, bake them for crunchy snacks, or pop them in the food processor with a little lemon, olive oil, and salt for a dip with veggies.”
Why It’s Smart: Along with other legumes, chickpeas are a powerful weight loss superfood. Their high fiber and protein content increase satiety, and a number of studies have shown that people who add them to a reduced-calorie diet lose more weight and have lower cholesterol levels than those who don’t consume the legume. Chickpeas are also rich in magnesium, a nutrient that speeds message transmission between brain cell receptors and plays a key role in energy metabolism.
From “Vampire Facials” to corset training, Kim Kardashian is always on the cusp of what’s cool and new in the beauty and weight loss world. Which is why we were surprised to learn that the 35-year-old mom of two turned to the Atkins 40 Diet—which is far from cutting edge—to slim down and tone up after giving birth to her son Saint West this past December. Curious what’s actually on her plate? We were, too. So we did a bit of digging. As it turns out, Atkins 40 calls for normal healthy stuff like bananas, broccoli, Greek yogurt, chicken, and cashews.
Why It’s Smart: Not only will cashews help keep you satiated between meals (thanks to its protein and healthy fat content), they’re also rich in magnesium, a mineral that improves memory and wards off age-related memory loss.
Turkey Burger & Sweet Potato
When he’s trimming down for a role, Mark Wahlberg, AKA Marky Mark, kicks off his morning with an egg white and avocado breakfast and a workout in his home gym. Then, he preps his lunch for the day, which typically consists of a salad, a turkey burger, and a sweet potato.
Why It’s Smart: Health experts say healthy, balanced meals should contain a lean protein, a vegetable, some fiber-rich carbs, and some healthy fats—and assuming he drizzles a bit of olive oil on his salad, this meal provides those very nutrients. Follow in Mark’s footsteps by prepping a week’s worth of lunches with his go-to trio! And for even more meal prep ideas, check out these 25 Tips for Meal Prep Sunday!
If you’ve ever been curious how Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi kicks off her day, we’ve got the scoop. “I always start with ginger tea, which is black tea with milk, honey, ginger, and cardamom,” she tells us. “Then I’ll have a green juice with kale, beets, mint, apple, carrots, and ginger or a three egg-white, one-yolk scramble. If I’m hungry, I’ll add half a cup of 1 percent cottage cheese to the eggs.”
Why It’s Smart: If the flat stomach you saw in the mirror before hitting the sheets seems to have vanished overnight, inflammation–often brought on by spicy foods, dairy, and chemical additives–may be to blame. According to numerous studies, ginger, traditionally used to ease stomach pain, blocks several genes and enzymes in the body that promote bloat-causing inflammation. If you prefer the taste of chai tea, typically made from a blend of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and ginger, that may also do the trick—but may be less potent. For even more info on teas that can help you maintain a trim bod, check out The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse! Test panelists lost up to 4 inches from their waist!
Apple Cider Vinegar
Megan Fox is just one of the many A-listers who relies on the powers of apple cider vinegar (ACV) to stay slim and healthy. “It just cleanses out your system entirely,” the svelte Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles actress said back in 2010.
Why It’s Smart: A Japanese study found that obese study participants who consumed two tablespoons daily were leaner and had less belly fat than the control group who didn’t consume vinegar—after just eight weeks! How’s it work? ACV produces proteins inside the body that incinerate pesky flab. Discover these 22 Apple Cider Vinegar Tips and Tricks to make the most of ACV!
Coffee & Raw Sprouted Almonds
Reese Witherspoon, star of the forthcoming HBO series, Big Little Lies, stays energized between meals with drinks made from raw sprouted almond milk and fresh cups of java. She’s particularly fond of Café du Monde Coffee. “I like to prepare it in a French press,” Witherspoon says.
Why It’s Smart: Just 20 minutes after drinking a cup of coffee, you’ll begin to feel coffee’s stimulating effects. You can expect to experience a greater degree of alertness and be able to concentrate better on tasks. (It’s no wonder most offices give the stuff out for free.) As for Witherspoon’s sprouted almond milk drink, it’s a refreshing sip rich in L-arginine, an amino acid that can actually help you burn more fat and carbs during workouts, according to a Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition report. If you get the majority of your zinc, magnesium, and iron from nuts (in which case you’re likely a vegetarian), it’s best to splurge for sprouted nuts. The sprouting process increases the amount and bioavailability of these vital vitamins and minerals you may not be getting from other foods.
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