Kelly Ripa's Secrets for Staying Fit
Kelly Ripa's Secrets for Staying Fit (and Snacking), By the time she sits down to her desk at the long-running morning talk show Live!, Kelly Ripa's already had a full day. This is partly because she's the main host, since Regis retired last year, and partly because of the breakfast situation going on at home. "When I was a kid, I maybe had half of a Thomas' English muffin and we were out the door," says the mother of three. "But my kids all have different breakfast likes. They'll say, 'Can I have scrambled eggs and a side order of pancakes?' Sometimes I look at them like, 'This is not Denny's!' It's insane."
It's this perky, head-cheerleader attitude that makes Ripa such an amusing guest in your living room. (That, and her enviably toned arms, which make it look like she could lift a 12-quart Le Creuset pot without straining.) Ripa works out seven days a week and carefully watches what she eats. "You know how people say, 'Everything in moderation'?" she asks. "Once you cross 40, I say, 'Less of everything in moderation.'" Luckily, when it comes to dinnertime indulgences, there's one dish that she and her family can agree on.
Who is a better cook: You or your husband?
Kelly Ripa: I'm a better cook, but he is definitely the master of the grill, no doubt. It would never occur to me to even approach the grill. I'm not sure how to turn it on. The best thing he's made for me is a beautiful salmon steak that he's grilled and put a little orange glaze on top--very simple ingredients, but delicious. The worst thing he's made for me? He's tried to recreate his mother's bolognese . But everything is always missing. He forgets that more goes into it than tomatoes.
What's your morning routine?
KR: I get up at 6:30--not too early, very reasonable--and Mark makes me a beautiful cappuccino with half-and-half. Then I'll make breakfast. My kids will take the time to get up and make sure they place their orders, but I never eat breakfast until after the show. I can't seem to focus my mind if my stomach is digesting. At the host chat desk, I'll have a triple shot skim latte. I usually have my yogurt and granola after the show. I find that if I eat beforehand, I'm just making digesting sounds.
How does that morning routine differ on Sunday?
KR: On Sunday, it's a full hot breakfast. Mark likes me to make him breakfast in bed. We're both so busy during the week, I rarely have time. But on Sunday, it's the one time that I can do something really nice for him. And everybody enjoys my scrambled eggs, because I put cream in the eggs and some cheese in there. They're not fat free, but they're delicious.
What's the key to hosting a good dinner party? And what's the one rule every guest should follow?
KR: Listen, my husband and I eloped. When we got married, there were just two of us. So anything over ten people to us is enormous and out of control--we try never to have a big dinner party. But once every couple of years, we'll throw a summer dinner party out on Long Island for 100 people. Being a good host is about knowing what your guests like to eat. And guess what? I let couples sit next to each other.
Everybody is always happy! They say, "Thank you so much for letting me sit next to my wife." You're welcome! I want to sit next to my husband, too, because I don't know half the people here. As for being a good guest, always show up on time. And know when to leave. Your host should not be yawning and clearing the table. That's a sign that you stayed too long.
You're in great shape. Do you have a vice?
KR: I work out seven days a week, but I'm a snacker. It's my downfall. I give up snacking for lent ever year. People say, "What does that mean?" Basically, I give up almost everything I eat. I love Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. And I get so anxious when I watch those weight-loss competition shows that I polish off a bag of chips. My behavior is insane! Every nutritionist we've had on the show, I always drag them back to my dressing room and say, "Are these snacks OK?" I have flaxseed snacks. I have all the "of-the-moment" snacks that are supposed to be good for you. I have Think Thin peanut butter protein bars. I don't think they have sugar in them. They have a lot of protein. I don't know if they're any good for me. But I like the taste of them.
That's an intense workout regime. Do you eat before you sweat or after?
KR: I don't work out until the afternoon. I get so hungry that I wind up eating beforehand and I'm always sorry. It's one of those digesting issues. You think, "Ugh, I wish I'd waited." But after a run or big cardio, I don't feel like eating. I don't know why that is. So, before I'll have a beautiful salad. Sometimes I'll have a protein bar. Or nuts. Something that's supposed to be good for me.
What's always in your refrigerator and why?
KR: Non-fat Greek yogurt. Even though my children don't enjoy it the way I do--unless I put honey and granola and make it look like some parfait--it's a must. Also: half-and-half. For the most part, Mark and I have very clean diets. But we love cream in our coffee. We also always have leeks in the frige. My kids love leeks. It's that vegetable that you would be surprised children would like, but they love it.
Is there a recipe you make for the family every spring, when the produce is back at the farmers markets?
KR: Yes, my kids have nicknamed it Tiger Soup. Basically, it's a vegetable minestrone but it's got two types of cabbage--a purple cabbage and then a Savoy cabbage. Between the carrots and the purple cabbage, they think it looks like tiger stripes. So they call it Tiger Soup. But it's fresh, simple ingredients. I took a recipe from The Naked Chef Cookbook --the original one--and modified it to things my kids like. And I substituted the pasta for chickpeas, just for a little bean essence.