Joanna Gaines’ diet is surprisingly easy to follow

Chip and Joanna Gaines just had Baby #5, but don’t expect the power couple to slow down anytime soon! The HGTV stars are hard at work on a new show, Fixer Upper: Behind the Design, and they recently opened a Texas restaurant, Magnolia Table. (You can bring Magnolia Table home with our restaurant-inspired recipes.)

When Joanna Gaines talks about what she eats during her busy days, it sounds like she wants to stay healthy, without focusing too much on the small things. The specifics might be different for you, but the philosophy behind Joanna Gaines’ diet is super accessible.

“For the most part I just try to eat a lot of protein during the day and then not too many carbs or I will crash at and not make it,” Gaines says during an interview for Health. “So, I think just drinking a lot of water and being conscious of what I’m putting in my body and being conscious of what I’m doing to relieve stress, like walking and exercising, trying to find that balance.”

RELATED: Cooking tips from the star 

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10 best cooking shortcuts from Joanna Gaines

Stock up on crescent rolls

To get that homemade feel you don’t always have to make everything 100% from scratch. In Magnolia Table, Joanna relies on refrigerated crescent roll dough for a few tasty recipes, like her quick orange-walnut sweet rolls and her classic chicken potpie. This cuts the prep time down significantly, and the results can taste just as good as something made all by hand.

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Save time with rotisserie chicken

While everyone loves a perfectly roasted chicken for dinner—and then the leftovers used in tasty dinners all week—it can be hard to find the time to roast one on a busy evening. That’s why Joanna grabs a grocery store rotisserie chicken to use in a handful of recipes, like her cozy chicken potpie.

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Turn tricky dishes into casseroles

Have a favorite dish that you always order at a restaurant but is just too tricky to make at home? Joanna says turn those into a casserole! She explains in her book that Chip loves eggs Benedict, but making individual servings at home can be a real hassle. So to get that same flavor with less work, Joanna turned it into an easy-to-make, easy-to-serve casserole. Genius! 

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Use store-bought crust

Pie crust serves as the foundation for so many of our favorite dishes—pie (obviously!), quiches and tarts—but making your own crust from scratch is sometimes too time-consuming. According to Joanna, don’t worry about it! She writes in Magnolia table that she subs store-bought crust for homemade all the time, especially when she’s whipping up a tasty quiche.

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Refrigerated biscuits are your friend

We all know that Joanna is a true Southern gal with an authentic recipe for buttermilk biscuits (you can check out how to make them right here), but we also know she’s a busy woman! That’s why when it comes to chicken and dumplings, Joanna says that you can easily substitute packaged biscuits for her biscuit and dumpling recipe.

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Focus on the main dish and take shortcuts on the sides

In Magnolia Table, Joanna explains how enchiladas are a family favorite in her house. The cheese-filled chicken enchiladas are the star of the show and the side dishes—beans and rice—are just supporting players. So when time is tight, focus on the main, and used packaged rice as a quick substitute. Joanna prefers Knorr brand Mexican rice mix.

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Transform your condiments 

We love our sandwiches layered with flavored aiolis, but we never think to make those fancy types of mayonnaise at home. After all, mayonnaise from scratch can be a real chore. But to get that same effect, Joanna takes her favorite mayonnaise (she says she prefers Hellman’s) and stirs in a handful of herbs and spices. For her version, add chopped chives, garlic, dill, parsley, paprika and a bit of lemon juice. Feel free to add your favorite flavors to dress up your sandwiches.

Have a boxed pancake mix on hand

While Magnolia Table has an exceptional recipe for fluffy pancakes, Joanna writes, “I always have a boxed mix in the pantry for when I just don’t have the time.” It’s always smart to have these backup plans, plus boxed mixes serve as a great foundation for all sorts of recipes like these pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes and even this five-star breaded catfish.

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Use basics as a base

Even the most unassuming ingredients can turn into a craveable snack. In Magnolia Table, Joanna describes how her friend makes the tastiest seasoned crackers, perfect for parties. Try our version with these seasoned crackers—only four ingredients!

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There's always pizza

No matter how carefully you plan or how carefully you read a recipe, sometimes dishes can just go wrong. If something goes wrong and your dinner flops, take this advice from Chip and Joanna from Magnolia Table, “there’s always pizza.”

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To get her protein, Gaines says that she always keeps protein bars or trail mix with her when she’s out and about. (For a burst of protein on the go, try this Nutty Berry Trail Mix recipe.) Gaines also cited bananas and oranges as two fruits she always keeps on hand.

And as far as less-healthy treats go, Gaines knows that it’s okay to indulge. “Typically with sweets, I go all out,” she says. “If you’re gonna make the cake, just make the cake.”

The key, of course, is moderation. Gaines does stress that most of her family’s food includes things like the nutritious vegetables and fruits that grow in their own garden—like this beautiful broccoli!

RELATED: 10 facts you didn't know about Chip and Joanna 

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10 facts you didn't know about 'Fixer Upper' stars Chip and Joanna Gaines
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10 facts you didn't know about 'Fixer Upper' stars Chip and Joanna Gaines

They both attended Baylor University, but the two actually didn't meet in school! 

Jo's father owned tire shop and he saw a picture of her hanging behind the store counter. He convinced himself he was gonna marry Jo even before they had actually met.

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Jo was a communications major at Baylor University and she had dreams of becoming a broadcast journalist. 

Before getting her big break on "Fixer Upper," she actually appeared in commercials for her father's tire shop. Chip eventually used the commercial in a pick-up line when they first met ... and the rest is history!

As for Chip, he had other aspirations, like being a baseball player or politician. 

If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Chip stays loyal to his favorite clothing brands. In fact, he's worn the same style of jeans and boots since they got married in 2003 -- Gap 1969 standard-fit jeans and Ariat boots.

His ladylove, on the other hand, prefers Citizen low-rise skinny jeans and Frye boots. 

As you can probably tell from all their renovations on "Fixer Upper," Jo loves to decorate with pretty blooms and greenery. Her favorite flower? Pink antique roses.
Chip and Jo's Pinterest-perfect farmhouse sits on 40 acres of land, which is just big enough for their 60 animals to roam around in.
Jo knew the value of hard work even when she was very young. Her first job? At an all-you-can-eat buffet. To this day, she says still appreciates buffet lines, but her husband has different thoughts on the matter.

The couple's first fixer-upper home? Their very own abode that they started working on soon after their honeymoon. The 1,700-square-foot Victorian home they currently live in is the ninth home they've lived in and renovated together.

The name "Magnolia," which they named all their businesses after (Magnolia Homes, Magnolia Market, Magnolia Farms) holds a special meaning. When they first started dating, Chip would bring blooms from Magnolia trees to Jo.

The Gaines family doesn't own a television! They go over to a friend's house every week to watch their own "Fixer Upper" episodes or in their hotel room during trips.

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She frequently shares photos of what she and her family eat on Instagram, as well tips on how she does things like weekly meal prep. Her diet looks like it’s full of nutrition—with an assortment of treats in the mix, too.

Gaines’ diet isn’t revolutionary. Plenty of people will tell you that balance is key, or that it’s fine to have “everything in moderation.” Still, it’s nice to see that she makes room in her life for things like sweets now and then—life is too short to skip dessert!

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