The actress gets candid about being as healthy as she can -- within reason

By Alex Apatoff
Updated May 21, 2014 01:00 PM

Courtesy Zico

Between her famously fit figure, happy family life and juggling three cool jobs (acting, running The Honest Company and being a mom to Honor, 5, and Haven, 2), Jessica Alba is one of the top models for “living your best life.” So it’s no wonder that when looking for a celeb face to front their “Crack Life Open” campaign — which is about making healthy choices in a realistic way — coconut water brand Zico went straight to Alba for a gorgeous Pacific Palisades photoshoot (and shared the behind-the-scenes shots with us). Alba called to chat about her own healthy lifestyle, her approach to fitness and more, plus shared her go-to playlist and favorite smoothie recipe so we can get one step closer to achieving that famous Alba balance in our own lives.

First thing she wants us to know: Even she doesn’t do things perfectly all the time. “As I’ve gotten older and after I became a mom, it became more of a priority to be healthy for the right reasons. It’s more important to have a balanced approach instead of trying to be perfect,” she tells PEOPLE, adding that she tries to fit in workouts in the morning and eat non-processed foods, but if she slips, she doesn’t beat herself up. “I don’t deprive myself … I have [junk] if I want it. When I do feel that I am depriving myself, I find that I binge. That’s not a balanced way to go about it.”

Courtesy Zico

Alba also has been working out steadily for years, to the point where she thinks there’s no fitness fad she hasn’t tried. (Her fave of the moment? “Hot Power Flow Yoga, [which is like] bootcamp mixed with hot yoga … [with] good fast paced dance music [and] … a little of everything. It’s my new jam!”) She relies on friends to bust her out of any gym slumps (“They hold me accountable!”) but if she doesn’t have time (at least 30 minutes!) for an intense cardio session, she’ll skip the workout and go for a longer walk with her girls instead. “If I’m not going to sweat I go for a walk for an hour and a half [with the girls],” she says, adding that it’s important to model good behavior for her family. “I’m not so much into preaching, more into practicing. I like to swim with them, go on family walks. The kids like it too, they go crazy, bouncing off the walls if I keep them inside. They’ll throw balls around, and I’m going, ‘You can’t throw balls in the house! That’s our lamp!'”

Another way she practices instead of preaches: Whipping up healthy smoothies for herself and her daughters for her morning meal. “I feel good and have a lot of energy when I start my day off with a great smoothie,” she says. (Her go-to recipe: 8 oz. Zico, 1/2 cup each frozen blueberries, strawberries and yogurt, a banana, 1 tsp. flax seeds.) And she was touting the benefits of coconut water long before she was getting paid to. “I was an early adopter!” she says. “Water can get a bit boring. What’s the alternative to just water? This tastes like a treat. My kids are obsessed [with the chocolate flavor]. That’s all they want. I’ve even brought it when we have a family dinner out. I’d rather them have that than whatever they have at the restaurant. It just feels better.”

Courtesy Zico

So before we hit play on Alba’s favorite jams, we had to ask: How does the queen of the balanced life treat herself when it’s all about her? “Sleeping in until I felt like getting up for sure, then having some kind of smoothie, then some kind of workout, because I really do like how I feel after a workout,” she says, sounding wistful. “Then actually to be able to look through a magazine or a book by the pool or beach would be nice. And a massage! Then I’d hang out with my kids by the pool — that’s usually the most fun thing. They love that so much, they’re like little mermaids, it’s so fun swimming with them. Then having dinner with my husband! We’d go for sushi [or maybe] a steak dinner — whatever I was feeling that day.” Sounds like the perfect balance to us.

How do you stay healthy in your everyday life? Do you love Alba’s tips? Are you a fan of her jams? Tell us in the comments!

–Alex Apatoff

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