Jennifer Garner Just Shared What She Eats in a Day, Here's What a Dietitian Thinks

The actress and #PretendCookingShow host opts for simple meals that still sound pretty dang delicious.

Jennifer Garner may be an actress by trade, but she's a bit of a food whiz, too. She brought us all into her home and kitchen for her #PretendCookingShows on Instagram during the height of the COVID pandemic—and even for a while afterward—and she's even a longtime friend of Ina Garten.

That's why we were so excited to see that Garner sat down with Harper's Bazaar to chat through her food routine in a typical day. Though Garner says she's no expert in the kitchen, her bright ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time are not to be missed—so we broke them all down for you.

Breakfast

If there's one breakfast rut we wouldn't mind getting stuck in, it's Garner's. Right now, Jen says she's into a big ol' scoop of full-fat yogurt with a mix of berries and nuts on top. "Full-fat yogurt and nuts are great sourcing of healthy fats, and pairing them with fiber-rich berries makes this a super filling and nutritious breakfast options," shares EatingWell's own nutrition editor and registered dietitian, Jessica Ball, M.S., RD.

Opting for Greek yogurt would be an especially good option here, since it is a high-protein option with less added sugar—especially if you choose a plain, unflavored variety. Folks who practice a heart-healthy eating pattern may want to check the nutrition info on Greek yogurts at the store and find one—whether nonfat, 2% or full-fat—that will help them eat a healthy amount of saturated fat each day.

Garner says she also has "coffee and more coffee" in the morning, and she usually takes hers black. When you consider that a morning cup can have long-term benefits for your heart and mind, getting the day started with a fresh cup of joe is a great way to establish a healthy morning routine.

Snack

It's no surprise that Garner loves to keep around snacks from her organic food line, Once Upon a Farm. But the star also says she's a huge fan of grabbing an apple on the go. Since biting off a chunk of an apple can get messy, Garner says she slices her apple before packing it away in her purse—but she puts the slices back together, like a puzzle, to keep them from oxidizing and turning brown. Just wrap the apple in something reusable, like a Stasher bag or piece of Bee's Wrap, and you're good to go.

Garner says an apple with peanut butter is her No. 1 snack, so toss a little side of PB in your bag while you're prepping your fruit—apples and nut butter are a staple snack at EatingWell, too.

a photo of Jennifer Garner
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Lunch

"A typical lunch is a big arugula salad, some dark greens," Garner says of her typical lunch bowl. "It's chopped-up veggies, whatever's fresh in the garden—broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, sugar snap peas, peppers, anything."

Garner says she's also eager to add cheese, nuts, sweet potato or even some brown rice to her salad, which would give it a little more staying power. A malleable salad recipe like this one can help you clean out your fridge *and* get in lots of veggies for a healthy, well-rounded day. "This salad sounds tasty and flexible, which are both trademarks for a good lunch in my book. But I would love it even more if it included a source of protein like lentils, beans, canned fish or eggs as well as some healthy fats to make it more balanced and filling," adds Ball.

Adding items like avocado, walnuts, almonds or sunflower seeds can also help you enjoy some healthy fat and added flavor. Tack on your favorite salad dressing, like maybe our vibrant Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette, for a super-simple meal.

Dinner

Jen is all about "mom food"—dishing up something that will appeal to her kids and taste delish to her own palate. In the past, Garner has shared recipes she loves for chicken and orzo, tuna bowls and cornbread—all of which could be the starting point for a tasty dinner.

"I don't consider myself a good cook or a baker, and I do not have the gift of making anything cute…," Garner told Bazaar. "But I do like to cook and bake for people I love, especially for my kids."

When she's not quite sure what to make on a given night, Garner says she relies on her five favorite Ina Garten recipes, and she's also been known to order in from one of her favorite pizza places, Pizzana. Garner says she always orders a pizza her kids will love and a big order of Brussels sprouts salad to make herself a little pizz'alad with a glass of wine. If she needs a sweet treat, Garner says she cannot resist a scoop of ice cream with a drizzle of homemade Magic Shell chocolate coating on top—which reminds us of our favorite Magic Shell copycat recipe.

Bottom Line

We love that Garner's typical routine is so flexible around food, trying to incorporate whatever ingredients are in season (or in the fridge). Still, Garner starts most days with a healthy, simple breakfast that's easy to mimic in your own home, and occasionally ends her day with a well-deserved sweet treat—which can definitely be a part of a healthy diet.

"Overall, Garner's pattern is super nutritious and very accessible, and I especially love that she is intentional about including treats and foods she loves," concludes Ball. "But it's important to remember that eating the same foods as a celebrity (or any person, for that matter) won't make you look like them. Instead, these meals and snacks should be a source of inspiration for recipes you want to try, rather than trying to exactly recreate her days."

We'll be taking a little inspiration from Garner's routine—like maybe zhuzhing up our salads with a fun sprinkle of brown rice and delish cheese. However you eat your way through the day, it's good to remember a piece of Jen's advice: when in doubt, rely on Ina.

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