Thanks to an overabundance in her herb garden, Alyssa Milano‘s family is getting a hint of mint in every dish this summer, whether they like it or not.
“My mint is out of control right now, so I basically put it in everything,” Milano, 44, tells PEOPLE. “It doesn’t matter what it is, it’s getting mint in it.”
The Charmed and Who’s The Boss star incorporates the refreshing herb into her club soda and into summer dishes like her go-to fresh watermelon, feta cheese and cucumber salad.”[It’s] super easy to make and super delicious,” she says.
Milano follows a low-carb diet — a “lifestyle” she has maintained through Atkins after looking for a way to shed the baby weight following her last pregnancy. “The last 20 pounds were kind of stuck and I couldn’t get them off,” says Milano, a spokesperson for the diet company. “I did some research and Atkins had such a great community and tools to help you through it, and for me, that’s really what made the difference.”
The actress and her husband David Bugliari, 38, avoid items like rice and pasta, instead opting for high-protein meals and healthy fats. “We feel satisfied,” she says. “We’re not stripping our kitchen bare and saying, ‘We can’t eat this, we can’t eat that.'”
When it comes to family dinners with her two children, Milo, 5, and Elizabella, 2, Milano says the kids don’t question why Mom and Dad’s plates don’t match their own. “It’s just been part of their life that we eat slightly different,” she says. “I don’t think kids’ diets should be structured like that.”
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But there isn’t a drastic disparity between what she serves her kids and what she makes for herself. Milano “modifies” her favorite recipes to suit everyone (picture taco night as hard corn tortillas for the little ones and lettuce cups for the grown ups). “It’s super easy to modify for us and still eat as a family,” she says.
The actress, who will appear later this summer in Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, typically starts her day with a vegetable omelet, followed by a salad with grilled fish for lunch and a dinner made up of “some kind of protein with vegetables.”
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To Milano, barbecuing is the “best thing” about summer, mostly because extensive modifying isn’t necessary. “I love to grill chicken or fish,” she said. “I love grilled vegetables because I think it gives it a little bit of a smoky flavor, and you do some olive oil with salt and pepper and it’s just delicious.”
As for sweets or guilty pleasure foods, Milano simply doesn’t have time for that. “To even think about having junk food would completely throw a wrench in my entire day … I would want to take a nap because my blood sugar would drop,” she said. “I have to maintain eating healthy and a certain amount of energy to work the way I work and also to be such a proud mommy.”