Jessica Fecteau
October 31, 2017 03:05 PM

For Marla Maples, eating a healthy diet isn’t just to keep off weight — it’s a way of life.

The 54-year-old tells PEOPLE she’s had the desire to understand the power of food since she was young. “I have since been committed to helping others be the healthiest and best they can be through food and exercise choices so they can enjoy a joyful and healthy life.”

For Maples that means a lot of vegetables (she says you can almost call her a vegan), but she isn’t shy to indulge in steak every once in awhile.

“I was born a southern girl in a family of hunters with cattle grazing in the pasture behind our house, so family tradition was such that meat was a part of growing up,” she says. “I later went vegetarian but then read Eat Right 4 Your Type and found out I am a solid O+ which means a bit of lamb, beef or wild game is actually a boost for my lineage of Cherokee American roots.”

The 5’8″ actress and performer says she loves to eat clean, which for her means foods that are Kosher, free of dairy, gluten, and processed sugars.

For exercise, Maples says it’s her time to unwind and relieve stress.

“Currently I swim, play competitive tennis, shoot hoops, love Iyengar yoga, and weight train to do my best to keep my body mass and muscle tone,” she says. “Though I can’t keep up with this schedule every day I know my week goes better when I’ve taken this time for myself.”

Here’s a sample of what Maples eats in a day:

Hydration

4-5 big glasses of water

Breakfast

½ a lemon squeezed into 6 to 8 oz. of hot water and a pinch of Himalayan or Celtic sea salt

2 oz. of fresh wheatgrass

Fresh green juice made with 1 tsp. of Hawaiian Spirulina, 1 tsp. of Barley Grass powder, 2 oz. of water, celery, lemon, and parsley

Purely Elizabeth Superfood Oatmeal in organic unsweetened Hemp Milk with wild blueberries, fresh mango or raspberries and a touch of plain unsweetened coconut yogurt or cashew yogurt topped with a sprinkle of Tigernuts and Organic Fair Trade Ceylon Cinnamon

Lunch

Salad with a combo of brown rice and quinoa, kale and spinach, broccoli, Kalamata olives, chickpeas, cilantro, and artichoke hearts

RELATED LINK: What Jenna Dewan Tatum Eats in a Day

Snack

12 oz. pure vegetable green juice

Dinner

Salad with arugula, tomatoes, fresh sprouts and pine nuts, tossed in lemon juice, organic olive oil and Bragg’s liquid aminos

Baked sweet potato filled with lightly steamed broccoli, chopped tomato, parsley, avocado, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, Bragg’s amino acid and one tbsp. of hemp oil topped with Daiya cheese, turmeric powder, black pepper, Italian seasoning, Dulse flakes and Himalayan sea salt

One cup of hot water mixed with 1 tbsp. of collagen powder

Total Calories:

1,845

The Verdict:

“Marla takes in copious healthy fats from a variety of sources like hemp and olive oils, chia and other seeds, pine nuts, and avocado,” says Atlanta-based dietitian Marisa Moore. “Since she doesn’t regularly eat animal protein, she might include more plant-based sources like edamame or beans and peas to help build and maintain muscle mass and boost her total protein intake. I love that she skips the labels and what’s important is that she gets the nutrition necessary to maintain lifelong health and that she has a healthy relationship with the foods she eats and prepares.”

NOTE: It is recommended that women eat at least 1,200 calories per day, and men eat at least 1,800 calories per day.

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