When it comes to the prison cuisine, the cookbook author says the choices were grim.
“Everything was expired. In the summer it got around that someone saw maggots in the rice, and that blew around the camp quick,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s isssue. “I was grossed-out and never wanted to eat rice again but at the same time I was starting to cut out the carbs so it kind of worked anyway.”
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Giudice, 43, was on a health kick while on the inside, working out three times a day. But she says “eating clean” wasn’t easy.
“We did have salad, but, oh my God, it was beans and rice all the time,” she tells PEOPLE. “I mean, you know, listen: The inmates were the cooks and they did the best they could, but you know, it wasn’t the best quality of food. It wasn’t.”
Giudice also reveals that the food had a direct impact on her physical well-being.
“I had like a lot of stomach problems there. I couldn’t go to the bathroom I was, like, dying. I was like, ‘My stomach is killing me,’ ” she reveals. “I started not eating so much of the meat because I would get sick. The meat I didn’t eat because I knew it was definitely expired.”
• For much more from Teresa Giudice, plus an exclusive interview with her husband Joe as he prepares to serve his own prison sentence, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE Magazine, on newsstands Friday
When she left prison Dec. 23, her friends and family made sure she had a lavish meal waiting for her at home.
Real Housewives of New Jersey costar Teresa Aprea’s husband Rino “sent over lobster fra diavolo from his restaurant,” Giudice tells PEOPLE.
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The next day, Christmas Eve, ” I went to my brother’s house for Christmas Eve, and my sister-in-law Melissa Gorga made the Feast of the Seven Fishes, the traditional Italian Christmas dinner,” she says.
She also got a special treat: breakfast courtesy of her husband Joe, 43.
“I was always an-old school wife – I would do everything,” she says, “but he made me breakfast, like, the next morning and, you know, the girls set the table. He had it all done. It was nice.”