Last updated: Aug 20, 2008
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Rachaelraymag.com
Chef, TV personality, and entrepreneur Rachael Ray celebrated her 40th birthday this month. Earlier this summer, she spilled to Health.com about her not-so-perfect diet, why she never hits the gym, and how she wants to help the next generation eat lighter.


1. Your newest book Yum-o! The Family Cookbook encourages families to cook together. What's your favorite recipe in it?

Buffalo Chicken Chili. It tastes the same as something that's bad for you, but it's not. It's got lean protein and lots of veggies that taste just like wings and blue cheese dip and all that bad for you stuff, but it's absolutely delicious. You can make it with ground turkey, ground chicken, whatever's cheapest that week.

2. How do you get kids interested in cooking?

Get the kids involved with the whole process. If they're involved with learning where the food comes from, in shopping for the food, and you get them into the kitchen, it just happens naturally. They just want to be part of the meal. They want to eat it because they have this pride factor because they've been involved in the preparation of it.

3. What's your personal eating philosophy?

It's a volume thing for me—I like to eat a lot of food. The only way to do that and not become huge and grossly unhealthy is to mix in vegetables and lean protein. Plus I don't eat processed food. I think processed foods pollute people, bloat them up, and make them hugely unhealthy. I just didn't grow up with it, and you don't miss what you don't have. (Read more of Rachael's eating strategies here.)

4. Pop quiz: What's in your fridge right now?

In the fridge, there are lots of mustards and condiments: You can make a lot of different sauces with your kitchen door. In the vegetable drawer, I always have root vegetables (carrots, celery, onions) and fresh herbs. I buy them in big sacks so they're always on hand. In the freezer: Nuts, flour, bread crumbs, dark chocolate that my husband likes. I don't eat sweets. I'm a salty girl—I always pick salt over sweet.

5. What's your biggest health challenge?

I never go to a gym. It's terrible. I keep buying the card; it just mocks me when I open my wallet. I gotta get to a gym. I'm turning 40 this year and I gotta start taking it more seriously.

6. What's your idea of the perfect day?

My family, my dog, good food, good wine, a late afternoon nap, and some great music and movies to enjoy. I'm a very homebody kind of person.