What Mario Lopez Really Eats In A Day

Mario Lopez is a jack of all trades. He's into dancing, acting, and hosting radio and TV shows, to name a few things. But he's most popular for his role as A.C. Slater, a teenager with a unique, curly mullet hairstyle, in the '90s comedy Saved by the Bell. The series has spawned a reboot and climbed to the LA Times' top ten shows in 2020. The year kept Lopez slammed with projects, such as the holiday movie Feliz NaviDaD and the mini-movie The Recipe for Seduction (by KFC and Lifetime), in which he plays a "soap-y kind of romantic" Colonel Sanders, and a buff Colonel Sanders at that (via The San Diego Union Tribune).

Lopez was the hottest bachelor in the country back in 2008. Over a decade later, though a father of three, he still has his beach bod intact. The surprising part: He follows no diet. "I eat whatever I want. I'll crush a whole pizza if I want to sometimes; had a burger the other night. Generally, it's all in moderation. I don't believe in calorie counting or in depriving yourself of anything," he told the LA Times in 2016.

The author of Extra Lean: The Fat-Burning Plan That Changes the Way You Eat for Life believes that the key to losing weight involves three rules: Control food portion, eat frequently, and balance intake of nutrients. Be it M&M ice cream, tortillas with butter, or sweet potato fries, Lopez eats it without guilt, and without deflecting from his three-point mantra.

Mario Lopez is a constant snacker

Here's one piece of advice that all of us will like: Eat more snacks. Alongside fitness expert Jimmy Pena, Mario Lopez has authored two books that give a clear-cut plan for weight loss. In both books, he emphasizes the need to eat more frequently and in smaller portions.

In the first book, Extra Lean: The Fat Burning Plan That Changes the Way You Eat For Life, he states, "Eating frequently throughout the day allows you to better control your portions and speeds up your metabolism, making your body burn more of the unwanted fat and calories instead of storing them." In the sequel, he admits that eating all day (at least five times) is the healthiest thing he does for his body.

For those on a rigid diet, this might be a shocker. Lopez acknowledges that. In the initial stages, people might get a little apprehensive about snacking through the day, as it also slows down the weight loss process, he notes. But the practice, he guarantees, will increase body metabolism. "Think of your metabolism as a furnace. In order to keep the fire burning, you have to constantly put something in there to maintain the heat," he writes.

A snack can be anything from one medium pear to one cup of air-popped popcorn, a granola bar, half a cup of shelled edamame, or a combination of half a cup of nonfat cottage cheese and a tablespoon of chopped walnuts.

Mario Lopez mostly has cereal for breakfast

Mario Lopez might have a number of healthy breakfast recipes under his sleeve, but the dimpled star chooses to go with the most convenient option for breakfast, like the rest of us — cereal. Lopez told Us in 2018, "I actually have cereal every morning, because, as you know, I have a family." Lopez is a father of three kids and has a professional life that keeps him on his toes.

His book includes a set of 40 recipes made with fresh ingredients, designed to include an ideal proportion of carbs, fat, and proteins. But, most often, when it comes to the first meal of the day, it's the modest cereal that he prefers. Growing up as a kid, he would get up early and make himself a bowl of cereal, just like his kids do now on Saturday mornings, he recalls. "You feel very independent when you're a kid doing that. Turning on the TV and watching cartoons — that's like your little grown up moment," says Lopez. (via Spoon University)

Given his love for cereal, he collaborated with General Mills to host the Ultimate Saturday Morning Drive-in in October 2020, in which classic cartoons of the '80s were screened. But more importantly, the event marked General Mills bringing back some of their old cereal flavors such as Cookie Crisps, Trix, Golden Grahams, and Lopez's favorite, Cocoa Puffs.

Mario Lopez is a dairy lover

Mario Lopez has had over three decades of experience in media. Right from the time he first appeared as a child artist in the dance show Kid' Incorporated in 1984, to now, when he has earned his position as a fitness expert, one thing that has unquestionably remained constant is his love for milk. "I loved milk since I was a kid," he tells Hombre. "I grew up drinking a gallon of milk a day," says Lopez, who partnered with Undeniably Diary — a campaign that promotes the work done by dairy farmers and the dairy community — to promote milk as a healthy beverage.

His association with the California Milk Processor Board goes back to the early '90s, when he starred in their "Got Milk?" advertising campaign. More recently, in 2019, he was again part of the Board's #BonesLoveMilk campaign. This campaign was particularly targeted toward preteens who are into surfing and skateboarding — two activities that can put a lot of stress on the bones. Through the campaign, which saw the setting up of pop-up skateparks, the Board aimed to promote milk as a healthy beverage, and a top option, among young adults who otherwise preferred beverages such as flavored water to milk.

While milk is a part of the daily diet, the Lopez family also loves other dairy products: "Butter, milk, any kind of cheese you can think of, cottage cheese, sour cream, the whole deal," says Lopez.

Mario Lopez chews sugarless gum

Here is a little fact to chew on: Chewing gum can help accelerate calorie burn. And when someone like Mario Lopez, with his washboard abs and toned muscles, says it, it's best to believe. "Chewing gum can actually raise your metabolic rate a little. It can increase your calorie burn... I really believe this," said the "#gumlover" in a tweet. It is not the first time Lopez has proclaimed his love for gum. On September 30, 2013, he reminded the world of the not-so-popular "National Chewing Gum Day" and tweeted "I am a big chewing gum guy."

Lopez's belief about what gum does to your body has scientific backing. Chewing gum does help burn calories. Some studies have shown that those who chewed gum before and after a breakfast meal burned as much as five percent more calories than those who didn't. Yet another study showed that if you chew gum after a meal, you'll burn more calories through digestion. If that didn't have you chewing already, here's the best bit: By simply chewing gum while walking, you tend to walk faster and your heart rate rises, and so does the rate at which the fat and calories burn.

Chewing gum can also help with controlling the amount you eat. In a study, some participants were made to chew gum after breakfast, and they consumed 68 fewer calories for lunch than those who didn't chew gum. (via Healthline)

Tuesday means tacos for Mario Lopez

If you are among the 1.8 million followers of Mario Lopez on Instagram, you'll know about his love for tacos. The Lopez family takes their tacos seriously. Lopez and his wife Courtney usually encourage their kids to make their own tacos because they believe that if the kids make them, they most likely will eat them, too.  A typical taco includes pork, chicken, Mexican cheese, cilantro, radishes, limes, lettuce, green salsa, tomato salsa, sun dried tomato and sour cream. The tortillas are warmed directly over the flame to give a slight crispiness. They are stacked up and wrapped in a dish towel and usually complemented with a large root beer float. "Taco nights are always fun," says Lopez, as he demonstrates how tacos are made and had at his home in an episode of Home & Family.

Tuesdays are meant for taco feasts. A video posted by Lopez shows his kids munching on hard-shell tacos with Ramen. There, as it turns out, is a Mexican etiquette to eating tacos: You start eating from the corner, and not the middle, as we learn from the video. "This isn't pizza!" he tells the rather amused kids in the video.

His favorite of all the tacos out there is tacos de lengua – the tacos that are made with beef tongue. He usually has them with homemade tortillas and a mix of jalapeño, avocado, and eggs drenched in a generous amount of salsa verde.

Mario Lopez has mariscos every weekend with his dad

For Mario Lopez, holidays are synonymous with his Grandma Rosario's chili pork tamales, 200 of which are made for a gathering of 60 people, including friends and family. And he has fond memories of growing up eating mariscos, which is Spanish for "seafood." He says, "We grew up in San Diego by the beach and there were always marisco places all over the place." Before the 9/11 incident, he recalls crossing the border to Mexico just to go eat mariscos. Since the rules have tightened now, he satisfies his marisco cravings at Mi Linda Sinaloa restaurant in Glendale, which he visits every weekend after church with his dad.

Though Lopez loves Mexican food, he also knows that it can be a tad unhealthy. So sometimes, he tweaks his childhood favorites to make a healthier version of it. One example is enchiladas. "I remember my nana putting in the lard with the beans and stirring it, and it tastes good, but ... not exactly the healthiest choice," he says in an episode of Lopez Tonight. He uses low-fat tortillas instead of the regular ones and scoops in only one fourth of a cup of the filling that comprises a combination of chicken and vegetables — the whole thing comes to just 340 calories and ten grams of fat. 

Mario Lopez drinks coffee every day

When it comes to choosing between tea or coffee, it's hands down coffee for Mario Lopez. "In my world, every day is #NationalCoffeeDay," he announced in a tweet. "I even love coffee ice cream. People that don't drink coffee trip me out...," he adds. It's quite apparent that Lopez's daily diet has a good share of caffeine in it. He has been caught on camera walking around the streets of New York drinking iced coffee, slurping the last of the cup right before a news interview, and sharing a hot cup with Sofia Vergara. He has endorsed the coffee maker brand Nescafe Dolce Gusto, as well as Coffee Mate's cinnamon toast crunch flavor. In an interview done soon after his third son was born, Lopez admitted, "Hardly sleeping but a lot of coffee. Coffee all day!"

Even his zucchini brownie recipe calls for two fluid ounces of espresso coffee. When Lopez unabashedly takes to a beverage, trust that there is a reason for it. An episode of the On with Mario Lopez podcast refers to the positive effects of having coffee, quoting two studies published in Annals of Internal Medicine that show that "the more coffee people drank, the less likely they were to die early from heart disease, diabetes or cancer. Coffee didn't seem to have any effect on the risks of other illnesses, like the flu or Alzheimer's." 

Mario Lopez fills up on protein shakes and energy drinks

Mario Lopez has a very active lifestyle. Even with sheltering in place, while the rest of us have put on a few pounds, Lopez has been staying active with boxing, hiking, jiu jitsu, dancing, and swimming. He trains six days a week and has to force himself to take a break. Between training and taking care of a five-member family, where does he have time to conserve and replenish energy? That's where the energy drinks come in.

"Between work and spending time with my family, I need all the energy I can get!" he writes in a Facebook post endorsing Premier Protein shakes. Lopez, who played the role of a wrestler in Saved by the Bell, complements his workouts with a good share of food. He tells Bodybuilding.com that 30 minutes before he begins training, he has a "slow-digesting carb like oatmeal and Ezekiel bread, and a quick digesting protein like whey."

"I don't like to be full or hungry during a training session, just satisfied," says Lopez, who is also the national spokesperson for Celsius energy drink. And post-workout, it's time to refuel the body. This means another whey shake and a sports drink or white bread — anything that digests fast and gives a quick boost of energy.

Mario Lopez has one banana a day

Bananas are packed with all the good stuff that your body needs. They contain vitamins, fiber, and potassium. The pectin, the gelatinous substance that's in the bananas, helps control blood sugar and aids digestion. A not-so-ripe banana contains resistant starch, which is starch that is left undigested in the intestines, thereby not adding to the calories but at the same time making you feel quite full. (via Healthline)

Because of its super high carb and mineral content, it is an ideal fruit to carry around in your gym bag. Lopez has a banana before a workout. In fact, he has one every day. In a tweet posted on April 20, 2016, he wrote, "Happy #NationalBananaDay! The best fruit. Comes w/its own wrapper. I eat one every day. I like them kinda brown too." He also likes them red, by the way.

He has passed down his passion for the tropical fruit to his daughter Gia as well. She was seen eating a banana right before walking the red carpet at Dancing with the Stars, a show that Lopez was part of in 2017. As a family, the Lopezes beat the summer heat with Lopez's wife Courtney's frozen bananas coated with peanut butter. And for those who do not have the patience to let them freeze, Lopez suggests this: Chop some bananas, lay them on bread, spread some peanut butter, squirt some chocolate ... and there you have your "peanut butter banana chocolate sandwich."

Avocados are a staple at Mario Lopez's house

Mario Lopez loves avocados so much that he says he "would do shady things" to get one. Lopez says that his house is always stocked with avocados. In fact, Lopez and his wife Courtney have also partnered with Avocados from Mexico, a subsidiary of the Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association, to promote the all-season fruit.

"We make guacamole all the time and just get creative," he says. While he prefers his guac with serrano peppers and olive oil, his wife avoids the spice and just adds crumbled feta (via Popsugar.com). And the guac, the must in the Lopez household for any game night or party, is not just used as a dip but also as a spread on sandwiches and tacos that are filled with slow-cooked pulled pork or chicken.

Avocados might be synonymous with guacamole, but Lopez also likes to get creative with the "alligator pears." He suggests an egg scramble with avocado and tomato for breakfast, chicken enchiladas with avocado, black bean and corn salsa for lunch, and grilled lemon and herb pork tenderloin with avocado aioli for dinner. Another quick meal option, he writes in his book, is fish tacos with avocado and black bean salsa. The avocado is blended in the salsa along with tomatoes, onion, black beans, cilantro, lime, and hot sauce. 

Mario Lopez aims for a balanced intake of proteins, fat, and carbs

Mario Lopez doesn't believe in diets. "People always ask me, well, you must have not had bread or pasta for years," he says in an interview and clarifies that it is "totally not true." 

Though it seems like the whole world is inclined toward a carb-free diet, Lopez says that, "It is a common misconception that carbs make you fat. When the right kinds are eaten in the proper amounts along with protein, carbs actually do the opposite," he writes in his book. So what are the right kinds of carbs? The options seem plenty: fruits, vegetables, whole grains (such as tortillas, whole wheat bread, English muffins, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain cereals, and whole grain pastas), legumes, and non-fat milk or yogurt. The kind of carbs that you have to keep away from are sugar, candy, and soft drinks,which are just empty calories, he writes.

The key is to balance the intake of carbs, proteins, and fat. The ideal proportion is "50% carbs, 25% protein, and 25% healthy fats." He says breakfast can be heavy on carbs, since the body needs the energy after a whole night's break. There should be a balancing act between the meals. For example, if you have "grilled chicken and vegetables (something low in starchy carbs) for lunch, at dinner you can get away with a reasonable portion of rice, whole grain pasta or bread," he writes.