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Alison Sweeney talks food and fitness

Christina Haller is the Food & Travel Editor for SheKnows, ChefMom, FabulousFoods. You can follow her on Twitter @ThisSheWrote.

How Alison does meals, fitness & holidays

There's a lot of pressure on a weight loss TV show host to stay fit. So just how does she do it? The good ol' fashioned way. Even during the holidays.
Alison Sweeney at Green Giant event

Alison Sweeney, author, host of NBC's The Biggest Loser, wife and mom, has recently teamed up with with Green Giant to launch One Giant Pledge in an effort to inspire families to eat one more vegetable each day. We talked to the award-winning actress about her favorite dishes and how she stays fit, especially during the holidays.

Alison Sweeney and kidsSheKnows: You and your family took Green Giant's One Giant Pledge and promised to eat an extra veggie a day. What are your favorite vegetable dishes?

Alison: I make a mean stir-fry. But my definition of stir-fry is a bit different from what you see in a restaurant. I mix together a heap of different veggies. Usually it's an 'anything in the veggie drawer' type recipe. And then a very small portion of rice to accompany it, as opposed to a huge bowl of white rice with three pieces of broccoli on top. I also think we underestimate our kids sometimes. I never tried lettuce wraps on my kids because I just thought it would be too fancy for them. But they loved it and what a great way to get romaine or butter lettuce in their diet (both are a great leafy green!).

SheKnows: In addition to eating healthy, what activities do you do to keep fit?

Alison: I like a lot of different types of workouts. I run, bike, yoga, swim, and I do circuit training with my trainer.

SheKnows: Congratulations on completing your first triathlon (the 2012 Nautica Malibu Triathlon)! What motivated you through training?

Alison: The biggest motivator was that looming deadline; knowing the triathlon was approaching. As opposed to working out thinking about burning calories or fitting into a certain size dress, the triathlon had me focused on the end game of being able to accomplish the fitness goal. I had to be able to do all those things in one day! It definitely kept me on my toes as far as training went.

SheKnows: Has hosting The Biggest Loser changed the way you look at food and fitness?

Alison: Absolutely. Being a part of BL has taught me so much about fitness and helped me understand that my health and fitness are a way of life — not a diet that will end at a certain date. I mean, once you attain your ideal weight, or close to it, you still have to continue to upkeep and maintain that weight loss. Sometimes that's as hard as losing the weight in the first place. You have to want to set goals for yourself and want to be healthy for life, and then work on it always.

SheKnows: How have you taken the lessons you've learned on the show and applied them to your life?

Alison: I've learned a lot about nutrition that helps me make better choices when I'm at restaurants now. Also portion control, learning what a realistic, healthy amount of food is appropriate for a meal... and the contestants work so hard in the gym, I always think of them when I'm working out, that I have to be willing to commit myself the way they do!

SheKnows: What are your tips for keeping the pounds off during the holidays?

Alison: The biggest mistake I see people make is skipping a meal thinking it's shaving off calories before going out to eat, when, in fact, the opposite happens. If you fill up on a healthy meal, you're way more likely to eat less of the fattening desserts and treats available during the holidays. When you're hungry, your willpower depletes, and you may end up snacking more on unhealthy options.

SheKnows: What are some of your favorite classic holiday dishes?

Alison: I love Thanksgiving turkey. My mom's stuffing is amazing. I make a delicious pumpkin pie. But now I have way better portion control on the tasty things that aren't as good for me, and I know exactly what I'm eating so I can make up for it in a good long workout and eating really clean before and after.

SheKnows: Do you enjoy entertaining or would you rather someone else do the work?

Alison: I absolutely adore hosting. My husband Dave and I both do. We love having parties at our house, and we always welcome the chance to entertain.

More healthy veggie recipes

7 Vegetable recipes
Vegetable quesadillas
3 Cauliflower recipes

Photo credits: Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com, FayesVision/WENN.com
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