Photo: JB Lacroix/Getty Images
Cameron Diaz will be the first to tell you she couldn't have cared less about healthy eating in her younger years; she even admitted that she's reformed fast food junkie who has come a long way from her daily trips to Taco Bell for three bean-and-cheese burritos and nachos with extra cheese. Her intense years of research for both of her books—The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Body and The Longevity Book: The Science of Aging, the Biology of Strength, and the Privilege of Time have taught her a thing or two about what it means to nourish your body for optimal health.
"Good nutrition can extend life," Diaz writes in The Longevity Book. "What we eat affects how long we live and how we feel every day we are alive."
Diaz now adheres to a Mediterranean-style diet, emphasizing produce, whole grains, good fats and healthy proteins (think chicken over beef most days), but she also strongly believes in enjoying life's indulgences with good company. Here's how Diaz eats to fuel her workouts, stay svelte and age gracefully!
Pictured recipe: Peanut Butter Protein Overnight Oats
Diaz chugs a bottle of water first thing in the morning. She told Marie Claire that she fills up a big glass water bottle before bed and leaves it on her bathroom counter so she can chug it as soon as she brushes her teeth. She says this is important for rehydrating the body after eight hours without any fluids.
You probably won't hear the coffee maker go off in Cameron's house. She sticks pretty tightly to water, occasionally mixing things up with some tea. Now, here's the good part—Cameron Diaz eats *two* breakfasts in the morning! Granted, that's mostly because she genuinely loves the gym and chooses to start her day with a morning sweat session, but we're still here for it.
Diaz reaches for something light but protein-rich, like an apple with almond butter, some overnight oats or scrambled eggs to help her power through her workout. She jokes that she basically eats dinner for breakfast post-workout, and opts for something like chicken, grains and either steamed or sauteed veggies. I personally prefer breakfast for dinner over dinner for breakfast, but to each her own.
Pictured recipe: Za'atar-Roasted Chicken Tenders & Veggies with Couscous
Diaz has a pretty simple formula for her meals: protein + carbs + good fats + leafy greens. If eating by that formula equals me aging like Cameron Diaz, I'm about to understand the value of math for the first time in my life.
Diaz also believes everything tastes better with a squeeze of lemon (Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski thinks so, too!). Whether it's a big lunch salad or a marinade for chicken, she says lemon, garlic, olive oil and salt can make anything taste good. Diaz has a green thumb, so we're sure she loves serving up garden-fresh veggies and herbs in these dishes.
Pictured recipe: Quinoa, Avocado & Chickpea Salad over Mixed Greens
Diaz isn't much of a snacker and prefers to fill up at mealtime. If she does snack, she will make a plate of grains with veggies, chicken stock, lemon and garlic. She's also a huge advocate for eating for better gut health and drinks her probiotics in a rice-based probiotic drink.
Pictured recipe: Greek Braised Lamb Chops with Herbed Goat Cheese
When asked if she could eat one meal for the rest of her life, Diaz answered with a savory protein-rich dish with avocado. This girl is not a fan of sweets and her diet certainly reflects that. She tends to stick to her healthy eating equation at dinner as well, noting her famous lamb chops are one of the reasons her husband, Benji Madden, loves her.
Pictured recipe: Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwiches
While Diaz admits to staying pretty reigned-in at home, she's more of a free spirit when dining out with friends.
"I don't eat pork belly when I'm home by myself, but when I'm at a restaurant with a friend? That's another story," Diaz told Bon Appetit. "I'm just loving the moment with my friend and it's feeding my soul in a different way."
Just don't ask her to dinner on a Sunday night! That is her weekly meal prep time, and it's sacred to her. This weekly ritual helps her stay nourished all week long without spending hours in the kitchen every day.
The Bottom Line
Diaz would probably think we were doing a disservice if we left her anti-aging habits at the way she eats. Diaz's longevity book mentions five pillars of aging gracefully: good nutrition, good sleep, good physical activity throughout the day, finding healthy ways to release stress and finding a connection or purpose in life.
We can all agree that Diaz's diet is certainly healthy and she's eating in a way that will nourish her body for years to come. However, everyone has different food preferences, rituals, times of day they like to eat and nutritional needs. It's important to remember that there's no need to abandon your own diet to eat exactly like a celebrity, trainer or nutritionist to look more like them.
I'm not sure about you, but I need some sweets in my life! There are some great takeaways from Diaz's diet—such as her meal-building formula and finding freedom to enjoy an indulgence with loved ones—but I'm still going to enjoy my favorite smoothie bowls in the morning and an occasional ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookie.