Zooey Deschanel Shares Her Healthy Eating Habits

In this month’s issue of Health Magazine, actress and musician Zooey Deschanel dishes on her healthy eating habits, why she’s no longer vegan, and her secret to staying motivated to exercise.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Q: Is it harder to eat well when you’re touring?
A: I find that I’m almost healthier because I have to be really disciplined. I can’t eat too much before a show, [or] you go on stage feeling terrible. And I almost always visit health-food stores in every city I’m in, just to make sure there’s stuff on the bus I can eat—vegetables, fruits, lean meat, and nuts.

Q: That’s interesting. We always hear how hard it is for musicians to eat well on the road.
A: It’s so easy! These people, I don’t know who they are, because there are health-food stores in every city! The other thing is, I don’t go out after shows.

Q: So you’re not partying afterward?
A: No, I’m not [laughs], because if I were to do that I probably wouldn’t be able to sing the next day. The whole thing is, you’re touring to perform, and you owe people because they pay money to come and see you play. I literally go to sleep after shows. And I always make sure to exercise.

Q: You used to be vegan right?
A: Not anymore. My older sister [Bones star Emily Deschanel] has been a very, very committed vegan since high school. I wish I could be like that, but I’m not. I have a lot of food sensitivities—I can’t eat wheat or soy—and it was very difficult to eat and get enough calories. It was even impossible to eat at a vegan restaurant. [Laughs.]

Q: You love to cook. What do you make?
A: I don’t really like sweets that much, but I find it really satisfying to bake for other people—cupcakes and cookies and cakes. I make a good quinoa spaghetti with pesto and zucchini. Pesto’s one of those things you can experiment with, and one day I was like, What if I used hemp seeds instead of pine nuts because they’re more nutritious? I’ve made it for a lot of dinner parties. It was a hit!

Q: Do you have any other healthy-snacking secrets?
A: I try not to snack a lot. I know that sounds weird—some people think you should snack all the time. If I start to snack too much, I don’t have an appetite for meals. So I eat three square meals a day, and if I’m hungry, I have an apple.

Q: So, no guilty pleasure foods?
A: Actually, there’s a bakery called BabyCakes in New York, and one in L.A. now. They make amazing gluten-free chocolate-chip cookies. I like to keep things like that in my freezer, just so I know it’s there, but I almost never touch it. It’s weird. The knowledge that it’s there is enough, it’s almost more satisfying to me. Once it’s gone, then you don’t have the option anymore. I like having the option.

Q: What fitness routine works best for you?
A: I really mix it up. I hike, run, bike. I do an hour a day, and then have a day off a week. And I took six years of tap dancing, and I love it! It’s a good cardio workout.

Q: Sounds like variety is key for you.
A: Yeah, sometimes it’s even just a walk. It’s just about being active. When I was a kid, I went through a period where I just liked to sit in a closet reading all the time. And then in seventh grade I joined a swim team, and it really was so great for me. It just made me feel so much better. It changed my personality.

Q: Wow, really?
A: Oh, yeah, totally. Before the swim team, I was kind of high-strung. Afterward, it just made me super-relaxed. [Exercise] is the best mood stabilizer.

Q: What’s your secret to staying motivated?
A: Meeting a friend to exercise. Sometimes I have friends come to my house to do a little circuit. And if they’re coming over, you have to do it. You can’t bail out when there’s someone else coming! [Laughs.]

Q: Are you good at taking time for yourself?
A: I’m not a spa girl. And I sort of go insane if I go to a place that’s too remote. Just being at home and getting to have a couple hours where there’s nothing planned is completely relaxing to me.

Q: What’s the best thing about being you?
A: I find the more I get to know myself, the happier I am—and the better I am. I think that’s true of everyone.

Q:When do you feel most at peace?
A: When I’m playing music, I definitely feel really happy.

Zooey sounds super down to earth and really centered in her own life.  What are your thoughts on her diet and workout routine?  Are there any tips you could incorporate into your own life?

To read more about Zooey’s healthy habits pick up a copy of Health Magazine and make sure to check out her new film, Your Highness, later this year.