-- by Shape Magazine
Life can be a bit of a juggling act for Alison Sweeney. The 33-year-old host of NBC's The Biggest Loser and star of the soap Days of Our Lives is also the mother of two kids under 6. "It can be hectic, but I've learned to take it a day at a time," says Alison. In her new book, The Mommy Diet (which comes out in October), she shares some of the insights and weight-loss tricks she's picked up over the years. "It will be focused on helping women take care of themselves in a positive, attainable way," she says.
And when it comes to feeding her family balanced meals, "attainable" is a key word. One of Alison's biggest challenges is finding the time to shop. "It's impossible to get to the market every day," she says, "so I make sure I always have healthy staples on hand."
1. MAKE ONE MEAL : "To save time—and my sanity—I prepare just one dinner each night, and everyone is expected to eat it."
2. KEEP VEGGIES WITHIN REACH: "If you clean them, cut them up, and put them in a bowl, they'll get eaten. Right now my son, Ben, is loving red bell peppers and sugar snap peas."
3. INTRODUCE NEW FLAVORS: "I'll sprinkle cinnamon on the kids' oatmeal and mix fresh mint in with their cooked carrots. Someone once told me kids need to taste a food 10 times before their palate really opens up to it. I've found that fact to be very helpful!"
4. OPT FOR COMPLEX CARBS: "They hold you over far longer than refined carbs, like bagels. That's why I start the day with a bowl of oatmeal."
5. GET GRILLING: "It's a tasty, lowfat way to cook, and it minimizes cleanup in the kitchen. My husband, Dave, and I are the perfect tag team—I prepare the food, and he barbecues it. We keep it simple: marinated chicken breasts, turkey burgers, or veggie and lean beef kebobs."
6. OFFER OPTIONS : "I'll ask Ben if he wants beans or broccoli, whole-wheat pasta or brown rice. When kids are part of the decision-making process, they're more likely to eat what's on their plate."
7. DOWNSIZE GOODIES: "Baking is soothing for me—and it's something my son and I like to do together. But having those treats around can be dangerous. So I'll make mini banana muffins or a small loaf of zucchini bread."
8. KNOW YOUR WEAKNESSES: "I lose sight of my diet when I'm around savory snacks, like tortilla chips, so I don't keep them in the house."
9. READ LABELS : "While working on The Biggest Loser, I learned how misleading packaging info can be, especially when it comes to serving sizes. One 'personal pizza' we found actually serves eight!"
10. SPLURGE ON THE REAL THING: "I'd rather have one small bite of something I'm craving than a fat- and sugarfree version of it. My best friend gave me an ice cream maker, so I can whip up a thick, creamy dessert and be satisfied with just a spoonful or two."