By: Dana Leigh Smith
Gunning for a promotion? Trying to strike it rich? Want to become a better, healthier version of yourself? Try powering up like these successful celebs and business leaders.
When you’re an A-list celeb, millionaire CEO, or best-selling author, your diet isn’t just important—it’s a cornerstone of your success. And that’s because food does more shape our muscles and help us lose weight; it fuels the most vital organ for our success: the brain. Our diets affect everything from our memory and emotions to our job performance and productivity, so it’s imperative that you fuel it properly—especially if you want to launch a company, score a promotion, or simply want to become the a better, healthier version of yourself.
Not sure which foods can help you reach your goals? We found out what fuels some of America’s most successful people, so you can follow their lead. And while you’ve got self-improvement on the brain, be sure to check out these 30 Easy Eating Habits for a Flatter Tummy!
“When I make breakfast at home, I love to make soft scrambled eggs with sharp cheddar and cilantro. I typically pair that with a cup of black tea,” Kelly Choi, former host of Bravo TV’s Top Chef Masters and author of The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse, tells us. Emma Watson, star of the forthcoming film Colonia, also likes to kick off her day by cracking open a few eggs. “I make a really amazing egg tortilla in the morning,” the 25-year old star told Marie Claire. “It’s my special thing. I make guacamole, salsa, and scrambled eggs, and then I cook the tortilla. It’s pretty simple, really, but yummy.”
Why It’s Smart: As you eat the yolk, you’re getting a solid hit of choline, a B-vitamin that’s been shown to blast away belly fat, enhance memory, boost mood and take mental performance to new heights.
“When I snack, I make sure I have some protein, some healthy fat, and some fiber—or, at least, two of the three,” says Melissa Milne, model and author of the forthcoming book The Naughty Diet. “One of my go-to snacks is a nice chunk of dark chocolate, smeared with natural peanut butter.”
Why It’s Smart: You likely already know that eating cacao can lower your blood pressure and decrease your risk of heart attack. But now, thanks to a new finding uncovered by a team of chocolate-loving scientists, there’s one more reason to give in to your sweet tooth: It can make you smarter, likely by increasing blood flow to the brain and improving concentration. To reap the benefits—without expanding your waistline—stick to one one-inch square of the dark stuff per day. For more yummy foods that can help you lose weight, check out these 26 Foods That Melt Love Handles.
3. HEALTH-A-FIED PIZZA
“One of my favorite lunches is veggie pizza on whole-wheat bread,” First Lady Michelle Obama writes in her book American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America. “It’s really good, just loaded with vegetables and cheese and tomato sauce. I love that.”
Why It’s Smart: While simple carbs like traditional pizza crust convert to memory-diminishing sugar inside the body, whole grains have the opposite effect, helping you stay mentally alert throughout the day. Michelle’s addition of veggies is another smart move. Eating more fruit and vegetable have been shown to increase productivity by as much as 20 percent!
4. GREEK YOGURT
“Breakfast for me is usually a Greek yogurt with blueberries,” says E! News host and the author of The EveryGirl’s Guide to Cooking Maria Menounos. “I also love Harley Pasternak’s White Breakfast Smoothie. It’s made with apple, banana, Greek yogurt, almonds, and milk.”
Why It’s Smart: Greek yogurt is overflowing with metabolism-revving protein and gut-healthy, slimming probiotics, so it’s no surprise that it’s a mainstay in Menounos’ diet. (Have you seen how flat her stomach is?!) Mixing in fruits like bananas, which are rich in brain-boosting glucose, and blueberries is another smart movie. Aside from the added fiber, the antioxidants in blueberries help lessen inflammation, warding off impaired memory and diminished brain health.
5&6. GRILLED CHICKEN &WALNUTS
“When I get home, my easy go-to dinner is grilled chicken breast—you can make it in five or seven minutes. I usually pair it with a spinach salad with cranberries and walnuts,” Dancing with the Stars star Karina Smirnoff reveals.
Why It’s Smart: According to a Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease report, eating walnuts as part of a Mediterranean diet may help counteract age-related cognitive decline and even reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s. While slimming, lean proteins (like chicken!) that can be cooked in under 10-minutes can help you stay on track with a healthy eating plan, even when your 9 to 5, becomes more of an 8 to 7. To discover more proteins to keep you trim and healthy for life, check out these 30 Best Proteins for Your Penis.
7&8. KALE CHIPS&PRESSED JUICES
“My favorite healthy snacks range from homemade superfood ice creams (no dairy, no gluten, no sugar) to Kale chips to pressed juices,” says actress and former professional wrestler Stacy Keibler. “I love food that gives me energy throughout the day. I also love a good, quick snack, which is why I generally carry a raw bar like the Element Superfoods Seedbar with me!”
Why It’s Smart: Healthy on-the-go snacks are vital to those who need sustained energy throughout the day. Whether your day is jam-packed with meetings or you simply need to run from the office to your kid’s little league game, Stacy’s go-to eats can give your the energy you need to fit it all in—without feeling run down. For more of our favorite healthy packaged snacks, check out these 25 Eat This! Snacks Delivered to Your Door.
“Once a week, I eat nothing but vegan soup for a full day,” Nicole Chaszar, founder of Splendid Spoon, tells us. “This helps me keep my weekly calorie count in check so I don’t feel bad about indulging on the weekends. It’s also good for karmic energy. Each day a person eats vegan saves 1,100 gallons of water, 20 pounds of CO2 and the life of one animal.”
Why It’s Smart: Having a cheat day without worry, is relaxing, and makes staying on track and focused during the week far easier. After a chill weekend that includes a favorite indulgence or two you’ll be recharged and ready to conquer the world.
“After my 7:30 weather [segment] I usually make a protein smoothie which consists of protein powder, fiber powder, 8-ounces [of] almond milk, frozen berries, a little ginger, and a little agave. Maybe I will throw in a little almond butter, too” Al Roker told Bon Appétit.
Why It’s Smart: Here at ETNT, we’re big fans of smoothies. And that’s because they’re one of the easiest and efficient ways to consume some of the most vital nutrients and vitamins. For some of our go-to blends, check out these 56 Best-Ever Smoothies.
“Quinoa, a fiber-rich grain, is one of my favorite foods to accompany a piece of fish with veggies,” says Mark Langowski, celebrity trainer and author of the brand-new book Eat This, Not That! For Abs!
Why It’s Smart: The grain is packed with satiating protein, essential amino acids, belly-filling fiber, and iron, a nutrient that increases brain function. For delicious ways to eat the ancient grain, check out these 30 Quinoa Recipes for Weight Loss.
12&13. TRAIL MIX& KASHI CEREAL
“I’m wary of trail mixes because they’re so high in calories, but I’ve found some good mixes in Whole Goods, and I don’t know what I would do without my Kashi cereal,” singing and songwriting sensation Carrie Underwood tells us. “I’ll throw some in a plastic Ziplock baggie and put it in my purse or backpack. Those are the kinds of things I always have on me to give me energy and keep me sustained until I get home.”
Why It’s Smart: Carrie is smart to stay away from specialty nuts and mixes. Things like dry roasted peanuts and chocolate-spiked trail mixes are filled with additives, sugar, and excess calories—not what you want to be snacking on if you’re trying to eat well and improve your overall health. However, making your own mix—with cereal, bulk bin raw nuts etc.— is a great way to reap the benefits of nuts (which range from weight loss to cholesterol management), while staying on the straight and narrow with your diet.
14&15. OATMEAL & PROTEIN SHAKES
You may have heard that Khloé Kardashian recently lost 11 pounds by giving up dairy—but that’s the short version of her weight slim down story. She didn’t just moo-ve on from the cow, she also added early a.m. workouts to her routine and started eating fiber and protein rich foods for breakfast. In her recent book, Strong Looks Better Naked, the svelte reality star reveals that she hits the gym at 6 a.m, and refuels afterward with oatmeal and a protein shake. Bobbi Brown, founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics is also a plan of shake n’ sip nutrition. “When I’m trying to drop a few pounds, I carry around a shaker cup of chocolate protein powder. If I’m ravenous, I add the water, and it fills me up so I don’t eat something high-calorie instead.”
Why It’s Smart: Oatmeal is rich in resistant starch, a type of carb that resists digestion and feeds healthy gut bacteria, helping you feel fuller for longer. As for the protein shake, a protein-rich diet can help you lose weight and burn pesky belly fat, which can not only boost your confidence, it can also give you more energy to tackle your ever-expanding to-do list. For some culinary inspiration, check out these 23 Best Protein Shake Recipes.
When most people think of popcorn, a giant butter-drenched bucket is often what comes to mind. However, air-popped popcorn made at home is actually a low-calorie, fiber-rich, whole-grain snack that can ward off hunger-causing crashes in blood sugar. David Zinczenko, author of Eat This, Not That! and the Zero Belly Diet, likes to pop 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels and flavor it up with 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil, 2-ounces semisweet chopped chocolate and 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut.
Why It’s Smart: This tasty snack will keep your blood sugar levels stable, which not only wards off cravings, but also helps your brain function optimally. Not to mention, dressed up popcorn is a treat for your taste buds. For even more recipes that flatten your belly fast—made with the foods you love—check out the brand-new book from Abs Diet creator David Zinczenko that’s already topping the Amazon charts: —Zero Belly Cookbook!
Most people know Shaun T, as “the Insanity guy”—and the sobriquet is a perfect fit. Not only is his renowned workout, well, freakin’ insane, but so is his body. But his abs weren’t built on exercise alone. He wouldn’t have the physique he has today—one that’s helped him sell more than 10 million fitness DVDs—without following a smart diet plan. One of his favorite healthy eats is berries. “Berries like raspberries, strawberries and blackberries taste amazing, satisfy my sweet tooth, and are good for brain power,” Shaun T tells us. “They also have tons of antioxidants that help slow down the aging process.” For more of Shaun T’s favorite eats, check out his 20 Weight Loss Secrets from Celeb Trainer Shaun T
Why It’s Smart: Aside from their brain-boosting benefits and delicious flavor, berries have also been shown to incinerate belly fat by turning on your get-lean genes. In one 90-day study, rats fed a blueberry-enriched diet had leaner bellies than the control group. A leaner you = a longer, more enriching life.
“I’ve always been a big believer in balance: Train hard, work hard, and live hard—and sometimes that involves a bit of bubbly,” says Dan Roberts, celeb trainer and author of the fashion model workout, Methodology X. “Indulging once and while in a bit of something that’s bad for your health is often extremely good for the soul!”
Why It’s Smart: A solid work-life balance is paramount to your success—and your sanity. We love the idea of sipping Champagne because it’s lower in calories than wine and mixed drinks, plus, the bubbles are filling so you wind up drinking less over the course of the evening. When selecting a bottle, stay away from Demi-Sec and Doux. They carry more sugar than other varieties.
19&20. ALMOND BUTTER & FLAX
Justin Timberlake eats not one, but two daily breakfasts, according to Bon Appétit. His first meal includes “waffles with flax and almond butter and a scrambled egg.” Then after he hits the gym, he’ll refuel his tired muscles with an another egg or a protein shake. Another super-successful celeb who refuels with the help of nut butter: Robert Herjavec, star of ABC’s Shark Tank and CEO of Herjavec Group, a global IT security firm. He reportedly likes to smear Nuts ‘N More spreads on whole wheat bread after he breaks a sweat.
Why It’s Smart: Almonds are a potent source of vitamin E, which has been shown to help reduce the risk of cognitive impairment. And some studies indicate it can slow the decline caused by Alzheimer’s disease. What makes the flax a smart addition to Timberlake’s plate? The tiny superfood has been shown to lower cholesterol and battle inflammation.