Think it’s hard to drop 10 or 15 pounds? That’s the challenge Padma Lakshmi, 45, faces at the end of each season of her popular Bravo series, Top Chef. But after feasting for months with the best cooks in the world, the New York-based host isn’t about to settle for bland “diet” food. We caught up with the foodie icon over her morning cup of tea and learned what foods keep her looking so good.
What Do You Usually Have for Breakfast?
I always start with ginger tea, which is black tea with milk, honey, ginger, and cardamom. 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.
I’m not a big bread eater. If it's sitting in front of me in a restaurant, it's hard to resist, so I ask them to take it away.
What’s Always on Your Grocery List?
Ginger, garlic, shallots—I prefer them to onions because they resemble South Indian onions. Curry leaves, lime leaves, fresh mint, fresh coriander, fresh parsley, fresh dill. And I always keep tubs of plain low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese in my fridge.
How Do You Keep Fresh Herbs from Going Bad?
When you get it home from the market, take it out of the bag and spread it out on a paper towel and pat-dry it. I’ll also put it in a little glass on my counter, so it looks like a little floral vase. But I’m reminded when I see it, “Better use that parsley! Better use that mint.”
What’s Your Secret for Not Overeating in a Social Situation?
Before I go to a cocktail party, I make sure I’m not super hungry. Sometimes I’ll drink a protein shake. I also love cottage cheese with sliced tomatoes. I put salsa and vinegar on that, or chili powder.
Are There Any Foods You Won’t Eat, Like Fries?
No, I love fries. I’d rather have a handful of fries than have cake. When I do want something sweet, I make my own ice cream—without eggs, which is more like an ice milk. I make simple desserts that feel decadent when you’re sitting on the floor eating it and smiling.
Fancy BLT (minus the Bread)
2 beefsteak tomatoes, thickly sliced
2 strips of bacon, crumbled
1 piece of white turmeric, peeled and minced
2 thin hot green chilies, minced
1 bunch of cilantro, gently torn
Fresh lime juice
Salt to taste
How to make it
Sprinkle the bacon, turmeric, chilies, and cilantro on top of the tomatoes then drizzle with olive oil and a squeeze of lime juice.
MELT UP TO 10 POUNDS IN ONE WEEK! WITH OUR BEST-SELLING NEW DIET PLAN, The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse! Test panelists lost up to 4 inches from their waist! Available now for Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Google Play, and Kobo.