For actress Jessica Biel, eating well is less about following rules and more about following the way foods make her feel. That's how Biel, husband Justin Timberlake, and their 1-year-old son Silas landed on their current breakfast staple: paleo pancakes topped with nut butter and local honey. Just don't call them all-out paleo. "Not all-out anything," the 34-year-old said to the Los Angeles Times. Her philosophy is all about "creating a balance if possible," and that balance isn't calculated by a prescribed diet but by how her body reacts to different foods. "Honestly I just feel better when I don't have gluten or wheat or dairy. My digestion is better, I feel better, I have more energy."
So how does that philosophy unfold throughout the day? A perennial garden in the family's backyard allows for improvised salads and roasted veggies, the cornerstones of their lunches and dinners. "Every couple of days, [we] pick spinach and pick radishes and things and throw them together and it's wonderful. That's probably one of the coolest things I think about living in California is that we can really grow all year long." For a dinnertime protein boost, she adds grilled salmon or chicken. Snacks throughout the day keep her energy high. A favorite staple? "Gluten-free pretzels with this really yummy almond cheese dip. It almost tastes like cream cheese, but no dairy." Freshly made juice from a Juicero machine and green tea with honey help her stay hydrated and glowing.
As a mom and proprietor of LA's Au Fudge, a kid-and-parent-friendly restaurant-cum-playspace, Biel understands the importance of passing on healthy habits to our kids. Au Fudge offers a fully organic kids' menu with vegan and gluten-free options everyone can get excited about, as well as creative classes like doughnut decorating and sushi making to get kids comfortable in the kitchen.
Even with a backyard garden and restaurant to her name, motherhood for Biel means eating flexibly, "We all eat healthy—I mean, we try to. Silas is a kid, so sometimes he doesn't want to eat that broccoli or eat that spinach, so you go, 'All right, pasta it is,' or 'French fries it is.' I eat differently because I eat his leftover scraps. I'm like a human vacuum cleaner." Between her work on-screen, at Au Fudge, and as a mom, staying balanced means saying yes to the occasional indulgence: "I mean, of course I have cheat days and will go out and have, like, cookies and pizza." That's the kind of balance we can get behind.