I don't think that there's a person in the country who doesn't know who Jennifer Garner is. Sure, she's notable for a number of television roles that began in 1995 with her playing Sasha in "Zoya" and runs through her current role as Sydney Bristow on ABC's "Alias". But wrapped around all that talent is one of Hollywood's most physically fit actresses and she doesn't really work exceptionally hard at it either. She just works smart. When you're in front of the camera for 12-16 hours a day, it doesn't leave much time for exotic diets and body-builder workout routines. She's a product of exactly what this site is all about; building the complete person through nutrition, fitness and cosmetics. What do the guys call it when they're looking at the interiors of exotic boats and cars...Fit and Finish? Well, it's the same thing with actors and actresses. It all comes down to Fit and Finish and, perhaps more than anyone else, Jennifer epitomizes Fit and Finish.

While one of the perks of Hollywood stardom is having things like personal trainers, and Valerie Waters is one of the best, there's absolutely nothing you can't do yourself that this 31 year old girl from West Virginia has done to transform herself into a well-toned screen machine. And it all starts with a healthy food regimen. I didn't say "exotic" or "stringent" or "low-carb" or any of the buzz words that Madison Avenue seems to like these days. I simply said, "healthy".

For breakfast, Jennifer has an egg-white omelet with strawberries, or a bowl of oatmeal topped with a scoop of chocolate protein powder and a sprinkling of almonds. If she gets up extra early to train, she starts the day with a protein shake. "Who wants to eat egg whites at 4 a.m.?" she laughs. She also enjoys midmorning and mid-afternoon snacks which can be yogurt with boysenberries, string cheese and an apple, or celery with almond butter. Lunch and dinner each consist of lean protein such as chicken or fish with fresh vegetables and a salad. And while Jennifer gets plenty of healthy complex carbohydrates from vegetables, the one thing she does do is avoids simple carbs like white-flour pasta and white rice.

Now, when you look at it, this is a simple system that's easy for anyone to follow and a sensible dinner with lean meat, chicken or fish, a vegetable and baked potato (without the heavy butter and sour cream...try Mrs. Dash and margarine) finishes the day. The key to Jennifer and your success is
  1. Eat several times a day in portions according to your physical output level. To maintain a steady flow of energy throughout the long hours on the set of Alias, Jennifer eats about every three hours. Your body's cellular structure needs the same ready supply of nutrients to meet their needs just not as much as Jennifer's. Several small, healthy snacks during the day is better than a coffee and roll breakfast, cafeteria lunch and carb-laden dinner at 7 at night. "I find it incredible--even when I'm shooting 16 hours a day--that I'm still able to keep up my energy level by spreading my meals throughout the day" says Jennifer.

  2. Use food as fuel and not out of habit. Garner performs most of her own stunts and relies on power-packed snacks midmorning and midafternoon to give her a boost. Your regimen should be the same without the concentration on "power-pack". Remember, your body uses what's in the food that you eat and not the food itself to sustain life. That's why the simple thing are best; like CRUNCHY CELERY DIPPED IN ALMOND BUTTER which is Jennifer's winning combination of protein and fat that gives her an energizing boost.

  3. Never, ever miss breakfast! Not eating a healthy breakfast can lead to binging on high-fat foods later in the morning and then heading our with your co-workers to the cafeteria for lunch maybe an hour or so later out of time-clock habit. It takes 5-minutes to pour some low-fat milk over a healthy cereal and enjoy it while you're getting ready for work. Got an extra 30 seconds laying around? Cut up a banana and really splurge. The point is, a healthy breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It sustains you to lunch and keeps you away from the vending machines. Nobody doesn't have 5 minutes and 30 seconds in the morning. NO EXCUSES! I have a husband and two kids, run my own business and take care of the house and I can't find an excuse; how can you.

  4. Keep healthful snacks on hand. Having healthy munchies at the ready helps Jennifer feel satisfied and avoid cravings. Her trainer, Valerie Waters says, " If you let yourself get ravenous, it's hard to be rational and not eat the first thing in sight. When you're really hungry, you crave cookies, breads and pasta--foods that the body can break down quickly into sugar for an energy boost." and I agree. There's little reason why anyone can't shop smart and keep protein bars and healthy snack items within easy reach at the home or in the office. "I think my favorite snack when I'm at home is a protein smoothie made by combining 1 cup of frozen berries, 2 cups of water, 1 cup of crushed ice and 1 scoop of whey protein powder in a blender and then pureeing until it's smooth."

  5. Finally, Indulge...In Moderation...on Special Occasions. "I really try to watch what I eat most of the time," Jennifer says, "but if I'm at a dinner party or event, I'll eat what's offered and I don't beat myself up over it. I may have a piece of bread, enjoy a glass of wine or a small portion of dessert, but I'll try not to do all three. And then I make sure to get back on track the next day with my usual eating plan."

Protein smoothie made by combining in a blender and pureeing until it's smooth:
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • I scoop whey protein powder

Fresh, crunchy celery dipped in Almond Butter. "It's a winning combo of protein and fat that gives me an energizing boost."

So, for Jennifer and most of Hollywood, the idea is to not go shopping when you're hungry. It's as simple as that. We're way past the days of being able to use the old excuse, "I don't have time". Even McDonalds is jumping on the bandwagon when it comes to heathy eating. So first, eat before you walk into the supermarket. I know it sounds crazy but Madison Avenue's own research shows that an empty stomach leads to buying pleasure foods instead of healthy foods. Then, when you're shopping, look for the small things that you can eat during the day; protein bars, fruits, whatever. There are a million of them out there. The key is to keep both your refrigerator and your office stocked with healthy foods that you can either grab-and-go or grab-and-eat. Were lucky. Today, health tastes good. It sure didn't when I was growing up.