“My philosophy is yes, I want great tasting food that I want to eat, but also I look at food as vitamins and fuel for my body and energy,” the 5’11” model, 33, tells PEOPLE. “As someone who has an active and busy lifestyle, I am constantly doing things and traveling so I’m very aware of what I’m putting in my body. I don’t want to be consuming bad things — I want it to have nutritional value.”
Her ideal diet is full of the freshly-picked fruits and vegetables she ate as a kid.
“I love fresh produce,” Kurkova tells PEOPLE. “The food I grew up on as a child came from my grandparent’s house where they grew everything. They had cherry trees — I used to climb the trees and pick cherries. They had apples, pears, carrots, cucumbers, strawberries and raspberries. I didn’t realize back then how lucky I was, having that kind of food and being able to taste it straight from the ground and the nature.”
But, the mom of two adds, “that doesn’t mean I have the best and perfect nutritional foods all the time.”
“I do believe in treating yourself. If you’re in a moment or in a great place where certain foods are made with love, even if it’s fried, you should have it! I believe in enjoying food and not always being super strict.”
Read on for a day of Kurkova’s meals, and for more, pickup a copy of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.
1½ liters of water
Greek yogurt with pumpkin seeds, 4 strawberries, ¼ cup of blueberries, shredded coconut, cacao nibs and maple syrup
Hot water with ginger, lemon juice and manuka honey
Grilled salmon with steamed asparagus drizzled in olive oil and lemon juice
¼ cup of white rice
½ of an avocado
Smoothie made with coconut milk, cacao nibs, raw cacao powder, ½ of a frozen banana and chia seeds
Leek, zucchini and potato soup
A few cubes of raw chocolate
Strawberry hibiscus tea
Peach tea with honey and lemon juice
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“One word that describes Karolina: Creative,” says Chicago-based dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner. “She has amazing, healthy creativity with her beverages, chocolate cravings and vegetables.” Blatner praises Kurkova’s “balanced” meals, that all include a “lean protein, smart carbs, lots of produce and healthy fats like olive oil, seeds and avocados.” She also has a great mix of beverages that provide tons of hydration without being boring. And Kurkova knows how to sensibly indulge her sweet tooth with raw chocolate and cacao nibs.
NOTE: It is recommended that women eat at least 1,200 calories per day, and men eat at least 1,800 calories per day.