Diet and Fitness Tips Joanna Gaines From 'Fixer Upper' Swears By

From their family with four children to their ever-popular HGTV show Fixer Upper, the Gaines are a busy bunch. And Joanna Gaines doesn’t just have a love for renovation — she also has a passion for food, baking, and living a wholesome, healthy lifestyle. In 2014 the couple opened Silos Baking Co., which fulfilled a long-time dream for Joanna. And that’s not all — she also shares her favorite recipes and tips to stay fit on her Magnolia Market blog and social media.

If you want to live a healthy, active lifestyle like Joanna Gaines, we suggest following her lead with these tips.

1. She meal preps

Meal prepping takes the stress out of after-work cooking. | Loooby/iStock/Getty Images

When you don’t plan out your meals, picking up a pizza or fast food on the way home from work usually seems like the best option. Follow Joanna’s lead and write out the week’s meals and what you’ll need to pick up over the weekend. She offers a printable meal-prep sheet to help you stay organized, too. This will help you keep your diet on track no matter how busy you are.

Next: When she eats sweets, she bakes her own. 

2. She bakes her own treats

Toss the Oreos and take the time to bake your own desserts. | Bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images

With the opening of her bakery, you can tell Joanna loves sweets. But she doesn’t run out to the store for fattening, sugary goods — she makes her own using fresh, simple ingredients. Take her Simple Homemade Ice Cream recipe, for example, or her Lemon Pie. These treats don’t shy away from fat and calories, that’s for sure. But when you make it yourself, you’re more likely to appreciate all your hard work and are less likely to indulge in five pieces of pie in one sitting.

Next: Gardening helps Joanna stay trim.

3. She grows her own produce

Growing your own veggies is affordable … and doubles as a workout. | Wherelifeishidden/iStock/Getty Images

There are many benefits to growing your own produce. Gardening in itself burns more calories than you think: WebMD reports you can burn between 200 and 400 calories per hour just pulling weeds, and even more for heavy gardening work. And when you’re growing your own tomatoes and peppers, you’re probably going to enjoy more of these healthy veggies in your meals. Take Joanna’s lead and start small if you don’t have a huge space. Container planting works just as well.

Next: Try making your own healthy snacks instead of buying them.

4. She makes her own healthy snacks

These healthy Power Balls rival real cookie dough. | Magnolia Journal

Joanna Gaines doesn’t rely on store-bought snacks for her and the kids — she makes her own. This recipe for Power Balls shows she prioritizes nutrition when feeding her family. They have plenty of protein and fiber for keeping her going all day long, and her kids say they taste like cookie dough. With ingredients like flax seeds, chia seeds, and almond butter, you really can’t go wrong.

Next: Joanna makes nutritious meals her whole family enjoys.  

5. She makes nutritious food for her whole family

When Joanna isn’t busy working on her show, she’s making healthy and delicious recipes. | HGTV

Joanna doesn’t let nutrition go to the wayside just because she has a lot going on — she just makes tasty meals her entire family can enjoy. Take these Summer Smoothies, for example. They incorporate mango and pineapple (fresh or frozen), coconut milk, and a bit of fruit juice. Refreshing and delicious, they’re a healthy on-the-go breakfast even her kids love.

Next: Try growing your own herbs.  

6. She grows her own fresh herbs

A fresh garden full of herbs will surely prevent late-night supermarket runs. | Merc67/Getty Images

If you don’t cook with herbs already, you should really start. Not only do they enhance the flavor of your dishes, but they have many health benefits that can aid your diet. And when you add herbs to your meals, you won’t feel the need to douse salt and oil over everything you make, either. Joanna loves her DIY herb garden and even gives advice on how to get started with your own.

Next: Coffee’s a staple in Joanna’s diet. 

7. Coffee’s a big part of her morning

A burst of energy can set up a great day. | Stevanovicigor/iStock/Getty Images

To have the energy to complete all of their daily projects and spend time with their kids, both Chip and Joanna tell Today that coffee is a staple in their morning routine. That may be her key to staying trim, as coffee can speed up your metabolism and help you burn stubborn fat. And your morning brew has other health benefits too, like reducing your risk for Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

Next: Everyone agrees cooking veggies this way is delicious. 

8. She roasts all her veggies

Roasted veggies will transform your boring lunch sandwiches. | Gkrphoto/iStock/Getty Images

Once Joanna has her meal-prep plans prepared, she often roasts her veggies. She shares on Instagram her secret for getting the kids to eat their vegetables — and that’s throwing them in a hot oven with olive oil and sea salt until they’re crisp and golden brown. Joanna adds sweet potatoes into the mix for a slightly sweet bite, and she notes kale chips are also a healthy household favorite.

Next: Her exercise challenge was a huge hit on social media. 

9. She hosted a 21-day New Year’s resolutions exercise challenge

She inspires her fans to live their best lives. | HGTV

As if running around with her four children wasn’t enough exercise, Joanna chose to take on her own 21-day New Year’s resolution challenge. She posted on social media that for 21 days, she would carve out 20 minutes a day to work out — and she challenged her followers to do the same. In an Instagram post, she notes fitness was an unhealthy obsession for her in her younger years. But now that she’s more in tune with her mind and body, she no longer takes part in grueling workouts that take hours on end.

Next: Here are the moves Joanna does when she exercises. 

10. She incorporates squats

She might have her hands full … but she never forgets to do her squats. | HGTV

In this Instagram post, Joanna says she likes to add squats into her 20-minute workouts. Squats are crucial in building leg muscle and getting a seriously strong lower body. And once you get your form down, you can try variations like single-leg squats, pulses, and squat jumps for a high-intensity cardio boost. The choice is yours — and you really can’t go wrong with this one.

Next: This is what Joanna does for cardio. 

11. She sprints for cardio

Cardio keeps Joanna fit and trim. | HGTV

Joanna also says she incorporates sprints into her 20-minute workouts. When you’re looking to get in shape fast, running intervals are a really great way to get started — though they can be incredibly tough. In just 30 minutes, a 150-pound person can burn 320 calories, and some workouts can push you to burn even more than that.

Next: She also participates in this extremely effective form of cardio. 

12. Rowing is another go-to exercise

Joanna credits rowing for her strength and energy. | HGTV

Sprinting isn’t the only form of cardio Joanna participates in — she also rows. Whether you’re actually in the water or just utilizing the rowing machine, this exercise utilizes both upper and lower body muscles to torch calories. A 150-pound person can expect to burn about 300 calories in just 30 minutes at a moderate pace. And you’ll be building muscle in the process, which boosts your metabolism.

Next: Joanna doesn’t sit around and watch TV.

13. The Gaines don’t own a TV

They find more ways to spend time together as a family. | HGTV

Even if you have a consistent exercise regimen, your TV can really be your undoing. Between the hours spent sitting at the office, in your car for the commute, and on the couch watching your favorite show at night, that one hour at the gym doesn’t really account for much. We recommend following Joanna’s lead and ditching the TV altogether. Glamour says the couple watch their show, but they still don’t own a set in their household. This keeps the whole family more active and engaged in other activities instead of staying sedentary.

Next: You won’t see Joanna on her phone too often. 

14. She puts her phone away

She enjoys life outside of texting and social media. | HGTV

Joanna is a big fan of staying present and enjoying the company around her, and last year, Womanista reported she did this by not bringing her phone with her everywhere she went. While this is a healthy lifestyle tip you should try every now and then, it actually can severely impact your waistline, too. Scrolling through your emails all day can leave you stressed, which raises your cortisol levels and contributes to fat that won’t budge. And if you’re a fan of looking through your phone before bed, you’re negatively affecting your sleep big time.

Next: Joanna’s always on the go. 

15. She never sits still

Joanna takes breaks, but she’s definitely not a couch potato. | Wynn Myers/Friend + Johnson for HGTV

Joanna Gaines might just work out for 20 minutes or so a day, but that doesn’t mean she’s not getting exercise. She raises her kids, runs a farm, renovates homes, stars in a TV show, and runs a bakery with her husband — and that requires a lot of running around.

The New York Times explains thinner people tend to move around a lot more than folks who are sedentary, even if both groups have desk jobs and watch TV often. The thinner people get up, walk around, and fidget more, resulting in hundreds of more calories burned per day. If you can’t make time to hit the gym, at least stand up and shake out your legs every 30 minutes or so.

Read more: Skip These Diet Hacks If You Really Want to Lose Weight 

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