What Zoe Saldana Actually Eats in A Day

No one has the patience to diet–even celebs.

Every time Zoe Saldana stopped to take a lunch break while filming Guardians of the Galaxy, her makeup team would get anxious. Especially if soup was involved.

"Having green makeup on [for my role as Gamora, an alien assassin] and wanting to have soup is really hard," the actress told Bon Appetit (opens in new tab). "If that soup lands on your chin, and all that green makeup smears off, it takes forever to fix it."

Their hesitation makes sense: Saldana would spend up to five hours a day in the makeup chair (opens in new tab), getting encapsulated silicone prosthetics added to her forehead and cheeks and green makeup to cover every inch of exposed skin, from her hairline to her fingertips. Whenever her makeup artist saw her heading to her trailer with food, she'd beg, "Okay, I saw you walk by with that big plate of fish and chips. Please…be graceful."

Zoe Saldana

(Image credit: Marie Claire)

Before reprising her role as Gamora, the star lost an estimated 70 pounds she'd gained while pregnant with her twins, Bowie and Cy, in an effort to get healthy, both for herself and for her family. Here's what it took to make those changes—and why the star has cut the word "diet" from her vocabulary.

Saldana admits she gets "pretty creative with eggs (opens in new tab)," but she also enjoys starting the day with mashed avocados and sliced tomatoes on toast, and while filming Guardians, she 'grammed a pic of herself sipping a green juice while painted head-to-toe green.

For Saldana, the green juices (opens in new tab) are all part of maintaining a balanced diet. "There's a serenity to knowing that because four days out of the week you took care of yourself relatively well, you can really just close your eyes and enjoy the pizza or dim sum or or fish and chips," she says.

After giving birth to twins, Saldana admitted that at first, bouncing back felt impossible. "I am determined to get my energy back and find balance for my body before these little guys start walking, and before I go back to work," she wrote in a Facebook post (opens in new tab). The actress had weak joints, zero flexibility and found exercising painful, so she and her trainer, Steve Moyer, started with just walking, gradually building from there.

A few months into exercising, Saldana found herself feeling anxious whenever the weekends approached, worried about what she'd eat when out with friends and family—and whether it'd derail the progress she'd made during the week. "I am going to remove the word 'diet' from my life. I am going to remind myself that it is not about losing weight, it is about being healthy, feeling healthy, for the rest of my life," she wrote on Facebook (opens in new tab). "I am gonna try to focus on what weekends are really for—resting and making time for your loved ones...And when chow time arrives? I will make amazing and healthy decisions. "

Saldana and her family eat 80 percent gluten-free. "[My husband] Marco is Italian, and there are certain things about his culture that he doesn't want to part with, like the pasta and the breaded meats," she told Bon Appetit. Gradually, they've been learning how to make gluten-free substitutions to some of his faves, like making dough out of cauliflower or quinoa flour.

After a workout, Saldana focuses on protein-packed foods to refuel, deeming this combination of grilled honey ginger chicken, quinoa and zucchini "perfect."

The actress eats 80 percent gluten-free, but overall, she appreciates an 80/20 rule for finding balance: "Eighty percent good, 20 percent bad [for] everything—food, exercise—80 percent Louis [Vuitton], 20 percent Tar-zhay," a friend explained during Saldana's recent Rosé Roundtable video (opens in new tab) for Cinestar.

Zoe Saldana

(Image credit: Marie Claire)

Filming often means working odd hours, and since Saldana doesn't like to eat heavy meals late at night, she turns to popcorn as a late-night snack. "Popcorn caters to all of my senses before I go to bed," she told BA.

A few go-tos? White Cheddar Skinny Pop, Cape Cod's Salted Caramel Popcorn, and Thai Coconut Curry Pop Art Popcorn.

Lately, Saldana's been using cauliflower crust, buying a bunch of toppings—from burrata cheese and buffalo mozzarella to arugula and grilled mushrooms (opens in new tab)—and building pizzas at home. Back in April 2015, she shared her chicken pizza recipe on Facebook, which cost less than $14 to make, and involved covering a whole wheat Boboli crust with low-fat ricotta, pesto, chopped grilled chicken breast, red onion, spinach and diced bell pepper. Get the recipe here (opens in new tab).

There's one Saldana family recipe that's been passed down through the generations, which Zoe calls one of her favorite dishes: Potato and shrimp salad. It's a recipe Saldana's mom learned from her grandmother, and calls for making a tangy onion vinaigrette that you toss on boiled eggs, potatoes, carrots and cooked shrimp, along with dollops of veggie mayo.

Mama Saldana will show you exactly how it's made:

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