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 their new network, and they recently opened a Texas restaurant, Magnolia Table.
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.
10 best cooking shortcuts from Joanna Gaines
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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“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 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.” These are the 7 other things that happen when you don’t eat enough protein.
To get her protein, Gaines says that she always keeps protein bars or trail mix with her when she’s out and about. 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 OK to indulge. “Typically with sweets, I go all out,” she says. “If you’re gonna make the cake, just make the cake.” It is possible to make healthier sweets—here are 12 easy recipes that are both sweet and healthy.
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!
She frequently shares photos of what she and her family eat on Instagram, as well as 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! Don’t miss these 8 other reasons you should eat dessert.