This Is What Oprah Eats

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It's safe to say that Oprah Winfrey is one of the most iconic figures in modern times. The media personality is worth billions and has been a household name since she first rose to prominence with her beloved talk show in the 1980s. Since the beginning of her career, she has been open about her struggles with her body image and weight. Oprah revealed to O Magazine that she went to her first "diet doctor" in 1977, detailing her frustration when she easily regained all of the weight she lost. "Thus began the cycle of discontent, the struggle with my body," she said.

Oprah's willingness to discuss her weight and diet goals is just one of the reasons many find her so relatable. She's an inspiration to many, and her influence extends to food — especially now that she's made her eating habits public by being not only a spokesperson, but also a shareholder and board member for Weight Watchers. So what does Oprah really eat, and does it actually look anything like her commercials? Let's find out.

Oprah Winfrey eats lots of fruit

Oprah Winfrey eats plenty of fruits. She considers them to be good fuel for the body, saying on that she is "passionate about breakfast," listing some of the fruits she chooses to start her day with. Her favorites include passion fruit, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and bananas, often served in smoothies or with breakfast staples like pancakes, oatmeal, quinoa, and baked goods.

Oprah's high opinion of fruit has a sound basis in science. Fruits and vegetables have been shown to not only be diet-friendly foods, but can also work as preventative medicines. People who eat an average of eight or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day have a significantly reduced risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Citrus fruits are especially beneficial. Other health benefits of eating a lot of fruit include a reduced risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and lower risks of other illnesses including diabetes and digestive issues. It looks like Oprah is putting plenty of good fuel into her body, which will likely help her live a long, healthy life.

Oprah Winfrey is a fan of egg sandwiches

Egg sandwiches are another one of Oprah Winfrey's morning staples, though she probably doesn't indulge in any breakfast sandwiches of the Egg McMuffin variety. She prefers her breakfast sandwiches open-faced, cutting down on carbs by using just one slice of bread, and topped with an over-easy egg, avocado, and tomato.

While the sandwich she describes is low in calories and sounds delicious, dietitian Jenny Beth Kroplin told Self that it's also a little low on protein. She says if you follow Oprah's diet you may want to add a side of nonfat Greek yogurt to add more protein to the meal. It also may not be very filling, depending on your dietary needs. While some people prefer to eat lightly at breakfast (maybe to save room for more hardy meals later in the day?), others need a little more nourishment to start their day on the right foot. 

At just 200 calories, Oprah's egg sandwich breakfast won't satisfy everyone. If you like to eat a fuller breakfast, you might need to pair the sandwich with some fruit or nuts in order to truly silence those morning hunger pangs — or maybe just top it with another slice of bread.

We all know Oprah Winfrey loves bread

Even those who pay no attention to Oprah Winfrey and her food journey know this little tidbit — it's the one fact that makes her more relatable than anything else. Oprah's love for bread has become infamous, thanks to a Weight Watchers commercial in which the talk show host professes her love for it. "This is the joy for me," she said. "I love bread. I love bread. I now just manage it, so I don't deny myself bread, I have bread every day." We can all empathize with you on that one, Oprah. 

She also told Us Weekly that she has a weakness for bread, particularly "a seeded bread...from South Africa" and that she has even been known to bring her own bread to hotels, asking the hotel staff to toast it for her. Now that's bread love! At breakfast, Oprah says that her bread preference is "multigrain, double toasted."

Bread is often viewed as a high-carb food that should be avoided when you're trying to lose weight, but a little bread won't hurt you. Women's Health pointed out that there are a lot of foods we think of as healthy, like apples and soy milk, that have even more carbs than a slice of bread, so if you love bread like Oprah does, toast away!

Oprah Winfrey is a big fan of seafood

Oprah Winfrey is a big fan of seafood, telling Today that "Seafood is your friend!" Her favorite fish is barramundi (also known as Asian sea bass), which is not readily available in the U.S., so she often substitutes it with the more common cod. Also on her list of go-to fish are salmon and Chilean sea bass, although she says she doesn't eat them as often as they are higher in fat. Another seafood she frequently eats is shrimp, which may seem like a decadent indulgence, but there's a good reason for Oprah including shrimp in her diet.

According to The Spruce, many people think that shrimp are unhealthy because their cholesterol content is higher than some other seafood choices, but it's actually much healthier than you might think, since it's still low in saturated fat and total fat. As long as you're not eating it fried or with a heavy sauce, shrimp is a pretty healthy choice — and always a smarter choice than a greasy burger.

Oprah Winfrey has a sneaky way of indulging in pasta

Pasta is another delicious food that people tend to avoid when they are trying to eat healthy, but Oprah Winfrey finds healthy ways of incorporating it into her diet. For lunch she will sometimes have cacio e pepe pasta with sautéed shrimp. The low-fat shrimp offsets the carb-filled pasta (which means she can get by with a little less pasta on her plate), so it doesn't cost her too many points on her Weight Watchers' diet.

Oprah loves her pasta, and has a brilliant (and sneaky) way of making herself think she's eating more of it. Spaghetti squash is a pasta alternative that is often used when people are cutting back on carbs, but there is definitely a difference in taste and texture between squash and actual pasta. In order to get around those differences, Oprah adds something extra to her spaghetti squash. She mixes a bit of real pasta in with the veggie pasta. This mixture still provides a healthier alternative to pure pasta, but it also tastes more like the real deal than plain spaghetti squash.

Oprah Winfrey likes to sneak in some mashed cauliflower, too

Oprah Winfrey's mix and switch alternative isn't just reserved for pasta. She also uses a similar technique on mashed potatoes. Potatoes are full of carbs, meaning that though they are delicious, they aren't usually the healthiest option for those looking to cut back. Oprah doesn't let that stop her from enjoying the food, though.

Instead of completely eliminating mashed potatoes from her diet, Oprah uses mashed cauliflower, a common alternative to mashed potatoes. Of course, Oprah doesn't stop there. She has a truly ingenious secret to making the cauliflower even tastier. She told Today she combines one head of cauliflower with one potato, which she says serves six to eight people. The result is a healthy alternative that tastes just as creamy as regular mashed potatoes.

Oprah mixes up the side dish for her dinner guests (who she says can't tell the difference) but also made her mashed potatoes with cauliflower available as part of her frozen food line, O, That's Good!. Who knew that Oprah was such a culinary genius?

Oprah Winfrey snacks on jicama

When Oprah Winfrey is in the mood for a snack, she tries to choose a healthy option that will indulge her craving without being unhealthy. One of her favorite healthy snack options is a root vegetable you may have never heard of, called jicama. "I love jicama because you get a crunch," Oprah said in a Weight Watchers members call (via Today.) In addition to being crunchy, the veggie also has a sweet and nutty taste, making it ideal for snacking, and great replacement for chips.

Jicama, which is also called yam bean, Mexican turnip, and Mexican potato, is native to Mexico. It can be tricky to find in the United States as it isn't locally grown, but can usually be found in larger supermarkets or in Mexican, Latin American, or Asian specialty stores. The Kitchn described the vegetable's flavor as that of a savory apple. It's a root vegetable with brown skin that does look a bit like a potato — but it's something very different. The vegetable can be cooked while retaining its crisp, or eaten raw for extra crunch.

Oprah Winfrey doesn't really like water

Adult men are made up of as much as 60 percent water. Because our bodies are made up of so much of it, water is an essential part of a healthy diet, not to mention necessary for survival. According to the United States Geological Survey website, men need to drink around three liters of water each day, and women need to drink 2.2 liters. This varies a bit based on the individual and on their environment, but the bottom line remains the same: water is important.  

Water is especially good to drink for those looking to avoid fat and sugar, since it's calorie-free. In spite of all of this, Oprah Winfrey is not a fan, and said that she "doesn't really like water." That's a surprising comment coming from someone with such a commitment to a healthy diet. 

Oprah does her best to drink as much water as possible, although she searches for different ways to make it more appealing to her taste buds. She has tried fruit-infused water, which she didn't like. She has also tried to flavor her water with ginger and vanilla, in the hopes that it will encourage her to drink more.

Oprah Winfrey likes tea or cappuccino

Oprah Winfrey may hate water, but she loves hot drinks like tea and cappuccino. She brews herself a cup of one of these beverages daily, and uses the time her drink takes to brew to get mentally prepared for the day. While waiting for her drink, Oprah reads inspirational quotes. 

"When I'm standing in the kitchen and waiting on my tea to brew, I'll read one [quote] for every minute it takes to finish brewing," she told Hollywood Reporter (via "Everything from Gandhi to Thoreau."

She also enjoys visiting Starbucks. You'd think that someone as famous as Oprah would immediately be recognized and walk out of the shop with her name correctly spelled on her cup, but it turns out that this isn't the case. Oprah revealed to E! News that she had to spell her name out on a coffee run. "Oh my god, I just went two days ago," she said. "And the woman said 'name?', and I said 'Oprah', and she said 'how do you spell that?'" It's great to know we're not the only ones that happens to....

Oprah Winfrey drinks tequila shots and wine

Oprah Winfrey also enjoys the occasional adult beverage. There are some good reasons to avoid drinking too much alcohol — aside from not wanting to deal with a nasty hangover the next morning. Alcoholic beverages aren't exactly healthy. They tend to be high in calories, so drinking on a regular basis can wreak havoc on a healthy diet.

Alcoholic drinks aren't all bad, though, and are okay to indulge in on occasion as part of a balanced diet. Moderate alcohol consumption even has some benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, drinking alcohol in moderation could lower the risk of heart disease, ischemic stroke, and diabetes.

Oprah doesn't break her Weight Watchers diet in order to drink, but instead is careful about what she eats on the days she chooses to drink. She told Us Weekly that, as part of her diet, she saves her splurge points so that she can indulge in a glass of wine or some shots of tequila.

Oprah Winfrey eats veggies from her own garden

Oprah Winfrey's love of gift giving is legendary. Over the years, she has given quite generously to her audiences, surprising them with vacations, cash, and even cars. Her neighbors are regular receivers of Oprah's generosity, too, although what they get isn't quite as exciting as a trip to Disney World. Still, who can say no to freshly grown vegetables, especially knowing how good they are for you?

Regularly eating vegetables has several health benefits, and can reduce the risk of heart disease, lower your blood pressure, and may even prevent certain cancers. The most benefit comes from eating a wide variety of vegetables as part of a healthy diet. Oprah takes advantage of all of the nutrients in veggies by eating plenty of them, and grows her own in her garden so she can always have fresh produce on hand. 

She sometimes ends up with more than she needs, which is when she spreads the wealth by distributing the extras to her lucky neighbors.

Oprah Winfrey adds nuts to her diet

Oprah Winfrey is nuts about nuts, incorporating lots of them into her daily diet. In 2007, she kept a food diary for seven days, which she shared on her website. Over the course of a week, she ate nuts most days, finding creative ways of working them into her meals.

On the first day, she had a handful of almonds with her breakfast. On day two, she topped off her mid-morning snack of yogurt with some chopped almonds. On the fourth day, Oprah had breakfast foods for dinner, eating cereal and some fruit topped with yogurt and garnished with walnuts. The next day, Oprah had some almonds with her breakfast and cashews as a snack. On day six, Oprah didn't record any nuts in her food diary, although she did have some trail mix at dinner which likely had nuts in it. On day seven, the last day of Oprah's log, she had chopped walnuts as part of her lunch. Who knew that a simple snack food could have so many uses? 

Oprah Winfrey feasts on her birthday

If there is one thing we can all learn from what Oprah Winfrey eats, it's that healthy eating doesn't have to be boring. In fact, if you're doing it right, it shouldn't be boring at all. We often associate healthy eating and diets with sacrifice, and assume that we have to give up things we love in order to reap the benefits. This is why typical diets don't usually work in the long run.

The solution is to eat what you want in moderation, and to allow yourself to indulge once in a while, a theory that many of us, including Oprah, can get behind. Even Oprah really lets loose at least once a year, throwing out her carefully regulated eating plan on her birthday. That one day of the year is reserved for indulging her cravings. She said in her cookbook Food, Health and Happiness, "I don't do it often, and I never do it mindlessly; the goal is to make my indulgences intentional... I plan for decadence."