What Hilary Duff Eats in a Day to Stay Glowing and Strong
We first fell in love with HiIary Duff as the quirky and kind-hearted Lizzie McGuire back in the early 2000s. And she has grown up with us on the screen and via social media since, starring in hit shows like Younger and, most recently, How I Met Your Father. The star recently made waves in the latest issue of Women's Health, where she showed off her healthy, sculpted physique that she's come to love after struggling with a severe eating disorder in her teen years and giving birth to three children.
Related: What Padma Lakshmi Eats in a Day
"I'm proud of my body. I'm proud that it's produced three children for me," she tells Women's Health."I've gotten to a place of being peaceful with the changes my body has gone through. I also want people to know a makeup artist was there putting glow all over my body and someone put me in the most flattering position."
We love Duff's authenticity that first made her famous as Lizzie, and we continue to appreciate her realness as a working mom who has been on a very public health journey. The star has shared several times via Instagram that she found her healthiest, happiest body yet through the help of Erik Young, known as The Flexible Dieting Coach, as well as through a strength-focused fitness regimen.
Duff shared during 2020 that she had been following Young's flexible nutrition plan that involves counting macros based on one's personalized needs and wants, which, for Duff, include bread, wine and chocolate. She also recently told Women's Health that her household eats plenty of butter, olive oil, sodium and sugar, so restriction is certainly not on the menu. Side note: We here at EatingWell don't believe counting macros, calories or any nutrient for that matter is necessary for healthy eating, and doing so can be especially troublesome if you're someone who has a history of disordered eating. (Read more on our take here.) Though we do appreciate the emphasis Duff puts on including all foods in her and her kids' diets!
Read on to see how the avid home cook eats in a day to stay fueled to crush her workouts, get through busy days on set and still have plenty of time to play with her kiddos.
While eggs are likely a popular breakfast choice in the Duff-Koma household, since their home is now famous for having a backyard chicken coop, Duff has also been a big fan of egg-white protein powder over the years to make a nutrient-dense smoothie to start her day. The star told Shape that her go-to recipe includes berries, Greek yogurt and nut butter to keep her powered until lunch. According to Cosmo, she also enjoys a cozy bowl of oatmeal with almond butter in the mornings.
"Her smoothie sounds like a tasty and balanced way to start the morning, as does her oatmeal," says Victoria Seaver, M.S., RD, EatingWell's associate editorial director. "Pairing her smoothie with a piece of whole-wheat toast could help add even more staying power to her morning meal, and topping her oatmeal with fruit would deliver a boost of helpful nutrients and antioxidants."
Meal prep has been a mainstay of staying healthy for Duff over the years, and it's a main pillar of Erik Young's flexible dieting plan to ensure opting for nutritious meals 80% of the time is easy and convenient. Duff told Shape that she always preps grains like quinoa and brown rice, and protein like steak and chicken. She pairs grain and protein with some arugula for a healthy salad that can be ready in minutes come lunchtime, whether she's on set or wrangling the kids at home.
"I love hearing that Duff doesn't shy away from carbs," says Seaver. "Complex carbs, like the quinoa and brown rice Duff meal-preps each week, are one of the best things to include in your diet. They're full of fiber, which supports a healthy gut and helps you to feel more satisfied after a meal. And they provide lasting energy—which is something we could all use more of."
Duff also professes her love for sandwiches in many interviews—most recently to Women's Health, where she is photographed eating a turkey, arugula and pickle sandwich. (We have a feeling Duff would love our crunchy Cucumber Sandwich.) But if she's on set or didn't have time to meal prep, you also may find her enjoying a protein smoothie in between takes or meetings.
Snacks are another important pillar of Young's flexible dieting method, and a sample plan shows that clients (like Duff) will often eat six times in a day to help them get enough calories and nutrients in their day. Duff told Shape that her favorite snacks are avocado with lemon and sea salt, and some fruit on the go. The star recently told Today that she loves to make hummus-stuffed bell peppers with olive oil, salt, lemon and dill during the warmer months, but her all-time favorite snack is Trader Joe's Chocolate Covered Almonds, which she enjoys daily (perks of ditching the restrictive diets).
Seaver agrees that snacks are a key component of a healthy diet. "Eating regular snacks helps to keep blood sugars stable over the course of the day, which also means your energy levels will remain more stable. They also help prevent you from getting too hungry in between meals, making you less likely to overeat come mealtime."
While Duff loves nothing more than enjoying takeout sushi with her husband after putting the kids to bed (via Women's Health), she's also an avid home cook. While she has a beautifully designed kitchen that she's very proud of, Duff really enjoys grilling out and told Shape that some of her favorite things to serve come dinnertime are honey-garlic chicken, steak and pineapple skewers, and grilled veggies. If she's entertaining, the star also loves to serve bacon-wrapped dates with cream cheese as starters for the evening. We think our Skillet Honey-Garlic Chicken Thigh recipe would be right up her alley.
"[W]hen I'm entertaining, I'm not trying to be healthy for my friends," she tells Shape. "They can go get that somewhere else. I want my food to taste good and for people to enjoy themselves."
Duff also likes to jazz up favorite simple comfort-food favorites. She recently shared a photo on Instagram making sliders with her husband, along with one of some delicious crab, egg and avocado toasts for an easy yet satisfying weeknight dinner.
"Yum! I want to go to her house for dinner!" exclaims Seaver. "It's clear Duff has worked hard over the years to rebuild her relationship with food and is now in a place where she's happy, healthy and having fun with the meals and snacks she makes."
The Bottom Line
All in all, we love that Hilary Duff has been able to achieve her personal definition of wellness that has her as strong, glowing and energized as ever. While balance may look different for everyone, it's refreshing to see a celebrity who doesn't deprive themselves of favorite foods, while leaving plenty of room for protein, whole grains, healthy fats, fruits and veggies. No wonder she's glowing!
That said, we here at EatingWell don't think you need to follow a diet plan like The Flexible Dieting Coach's to achieve your healthy-eating goals (especially with its expensive $200 per month price tag). Mindful eating can help you find a balanced eating pattern without the need to be bound to a plan, and it can be more sustainable over time.
"I would recommend staying away from any type of diet plan that has you counting macros, especially if you're someone who has a history of disordered eating," says Seaver. "Instead, work with a registered dietitian who has experience with eating disorders to come up with a personalized strategy to help you achieve your health goals without triggering unhealthy habits. Plus, most insurance plans cover a few sessions with a dietitian, so you might not need to pay much out of pocket."
While there is plenty of inspiration to be found from Duff's healthful (and joyful) eating habits, it's important to remember that modeling your diet exactly after that of another person isn't healthy or sustainable (and it won't make you look like the person you're emulating). Every body has different needs based on size, activity levels, muscle mass and age, so it's most important to listen to your body's hunger and fullness cues, and lean into the foods that make you feel your best, to achieve your healthiest, happiest you.