This year, ditch the restrictive diet in favor of Giada De Laurentiis’s fresh, tasty dinners and snacks. Click here to get the recipes!
From the outside, Giada De Laurentiis can seem, well, perfect—enviably so. The 43-year-old Food Network star is a best-selling cookbook author; she recently celebrated her 10th wedding anniversary; she’s the mom of an adorable daughter, Jade; and she’s gorgeous and fit, to boot. But five years ago, she ran into the same challenge many new moms face: After giving birth to Jade, her body just wasn’t bouncing back the way she’d expected. “Even though I looked like I’d lost all the weight, like I was back to normal,” De Laurentiis says, “physically and mentally I wasn’t. Having a child takes a lot out of you—it takes minerals and vitamins and energy, and your hormones shift. And my body actually never went back to the way it was. It just sort of changed.”
But in many ways, De Laurentiis says, the change was for the better. She’s never felt healthier than she does today, a feeling that inspired her new book, Giada’s Feel Good Food ($33; Clarkson Potter). Having Jade, she says, prompted her to tune in to her body, paying attention to which foods made her feel good. A healthy lifestyle is not about calorie counting, she insists, but about eating real food in reasonable portions and noticing how you feel. Acutely conscious of modeling a positive self-image for her little girl, De Laurentiis says, “I try to never talk about weight. Before I had Jade, I would say in front of my husband ‘I feel fat today’ or ‘My jeans feel tight.’ But I don’t want Jade to have a negative relationship with food. I want her to enjoy all different kinds of food, all in moderation.” It’s not always easy to practice what she preaches, De Laurentiis admits, but she, like all of us, does her best. To help you start 2014 right, she shared four recipes for wholesome, inviting winter suppers and five hearty snacks.