Here's What Dolly Parton's Diet Looks Like to Stay Healthy and Radiant

See what the lifelong singer and entrepreneur eats as she follows an 80/20-ish meal plan.

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Known for penning and crooning popular songs like "I Will Always Love You," "Jolene" and "9 to 5," Dolly Parton has evolved into so much more than a writer and singer (although she's still stellar at those skills!).

Just since 2020, Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University to help fund research for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, dropped a Christmas album, launched a signature flavor—Strawberry Pretzel Pie—with Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams to support her Imagination Library charity, unveiled a baking line with Williams Sonoma, worked with fragrance pros to create her perfume, Dolly—Scent from Above, and kept up an impressive media circuit to promote all of the above. It's clear the 70-something singer/actor/entrepreneur/philanthropist is not showing any signs of slowing down.

So how does she fuel up to tackle all that action? Read on for more about what Dolly Parton eats in a day.

What Dolly Parton Eats in a Day


As a pick-me-up to kickstart her day (that often begins at 3 a.m.!), "I use Folgers for my cup of ambition. I like quite a bit of cream, so it's just a little more than tan. A cup and a half will do me all day," Parton tells Wall Street Journal Magazine. (Buy it: Folgers Classic Medium Roast, $10.29 for 30.5 ounces at Target)

Alongside that java, "I usually try to keep some homemade egg salad around because I like to have something quick and easy," she adds in the same interview. "Through the week I'll eat things like egg salad on toast with tomato, and sometimes I'll have a bagel with cream cheese, cucumbers and tomatoes." (We think she'd totally dig our Egg Salad & Avocado Toasts with Capers, by the way.)

If Parton is working, she generally follows a low-carb diet during the week, then allows for more flexibility on the weekends a la, the 80/20 lifestyle that Drew Barrymore also adores.

"I just watch moderation for the most part," she says in Wall Street Journal Magazine.


When Parton is on the road, she packs the tour bus freezer full of plenty of homemade low-carb meals for the bus that she keeps in a freezer to thaw out later. (Psst...Dolly, a lot of our low-carb restaurant remakes are totally meal prep-friendly!)

And "when I'm home, I spend Sunday with my husband," she tells Parade. "I try to stay on my low-carb diet during the week, and then when I know I have a day off, I say, 'Make me a pan of cornbread.'"

Along with that cornbread or her go-to starch side, a baked potato ("Just give me my potato, any kind of potato, and I'm happy," she tells The New York Times), Parton might savor some seafood and a salad with ranch dressing for lunch.

A portrait of Dolly Parton on a designed background
Getty Images / NBC


When Dolly's in charge of dinner duty, she whips up her specialty: "Chicken and dumplings," according to her chat with Parade. Or she might make other classic Southern recipes like roast pork, green beans and fried okra, she adds in that interview with The New York Times.

She doesn't stick to just Southern cuisine, though.

"I love Indian, Italian and Mexican food. And if it's a romantic kind of evening, I like a good French restaurant," she tells the Times. Parton prefers simplicity, no matter what she's eating or serving. "I don't like pretty food. The way I see it, if the food's too pretty, it ain't too good."

As far as drinks go, Parton prefers red wine. "I don't know too much about different kinds. But I know I like the kind that has a little of that dryish feeling at the end," she shares in The New York Times.

Parton and her husband, Carl Dean, don't shy away from fast food when they're on RV road trips. Hey, it is vacation after all! Taco Bell (which actually has some solid choices nutrition-wise!) is a personal favorite, she says on Taste of Country, "I love their tacos."

Bottom Line

While we'd love to see Parton's diet include some more fruits and vegetables, perhaps as a nutritious mid-afternoon snack, we adore the fact that she doesn't have hard and fast rules about following a specific diet—besides the one that makes her feel her best.

"I tried every diet in the book," Parton has said, according to Vanity Fair. "I tried some that weren't in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets."

"Dolly's clearly figured out what works for her and keeps her feeling good," says registered dietitian and EatingWell Nutrition Editor Lisa Valente. "Other than boosting her produce intake a bit, my only advice would be to make sure she's not treating weekends like 'cheat days.' It's OK to enjoy potatoes and cornbread and even Taco Bell during the week. Overall, it sounds like she eats a variety of foods and enjoys cooking well-rounded and delicious meals," adds Valente.

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