Alison Sweeney is a woman on the go. Along with being an actress and producer — she's currently the star and executive producer of the fifth installment of Hallmark's "Murder She Baked" franchise — as well as an author and director and even working partner with Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant toothpaste, the married mother of two is also an avid health and wellness advocate.
(We got tired just writing that sentence — how does she actually do it?!)
Must-Eat Food #1: Seasonal Fruit
"I have fruit every day and I try to pick fruit that is seasonal," Sweeney says. Right now, she's all about tangerines. "They're sold in the market by the bag full and I can hardly keep them in my house!"
Not only are tangerines portable and the perfect portion size for a snack, Sweeney says, "when you're peeling it, the smell of that mandarin just makes your mouth water. And those little slices give your body a burst of energy with vitamins C and D."
She's also thrilled that her kids, Ben and Megan, love the taste of the sweet citrus. "Since they're right there on the counter, everyone just grabs one. In-season fruits are the best snack you can keep on hand — right there, ready to eat."
Must-Eat Food #2: Greek Yogurt
Sweeney makes sure that her refrigerator is stocked with Greek yogurt at all times. She likes to mix it with fresh fruit, almonds, granola, and a touch of cinnamon and honey. "Many times, I'll put those same things into a blender and make a smoothie," she adds.
Smart move, Sweeney: A single serving of this nutrient-packed, gut bacteria-boosting food has twice as much protein as regular yogurt, which keeps you feeling fuller longer.
Must-Eat Food #3: Good-For-You Smoothie Ingredients
As a general rule, vegetables (think: spinach and kale) and protein powder are always available in Sweeney's kitchen so that a colorful smoothie can be made at any moment.
"I've been doing some pretty rigorous physical therapy [since she tore her ACL in December], and, especially if you're working on those muscles and rehabbing, you're exhausted," she explains. "You've depleted the resources in your body and you need to immediately resupply your body with those nutrients, so having a smoothie ready is key."
She and her kids have created "silly names" for some of her smoothie recipes.
"For example, The Incredible Hulk is made with blueberries, strawberries, a banana, and a chocolate protein powder," says Sweeney. "Plus, making it yourself is so much better for you because you're in charge of the ingredients — you're never going to put in as much sugar and additives as they do in the stores that sell 'smoothies.'"
Must-Eat Food #4: Avocado
"I love avocados — they're one of my go-to favorite foods and I eat them almost every day," Sweeney admits.
This antioxidant-rich superfruit — yep, it's actually a berry! — can help lower your risk of heart disease, control blood pressure, keep your eyes healthy, and protect your skin from UV damage.
Plus, avocados are so darn versatile you never get sick of them — enjoy them in dips, in salads, on toast, as a sauce, and as a healthy substitute for mayo or for butter during baking. "I could eat it at every meal — I could even have it for dessert!" she laughs. (We've got you covered, Ali!)