The key to Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia Bailey‘s healthy diet is not being too strict on herself.
The 50-year-old tells PEOPLE when she has a craving for something, she goes for it.
“I don’t deprive myself of anything that I have a craving for because I won’t stop thinking about it until I eat it already, and move on,” she says.
The reality star also uses a few different techniques to keep herself on track.
“I never add salt or any extra seasonings to my food after it is cooked other than cracked black pepper once it hits my plate,” Bailey says. “I crave salty foods so I try to watch my sodium intake in order to prevent bloating.”
Part of her balanced diet is also focused on portion control.
“Other than breakfast and dinner, I try to eat everything else in between on a bread and butter plate,” Bailey says. “If it doesn’t fit, don’t force it!”
Read on for a day of Bailey’s meals, and for more, pickup a copy of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.
3 to 5 bottles of water
1 cup of organic green tea with 1 tablespoon of organic coconut oil and 1 to 2 tablespoons of organic honey; one scrambled egg; a slice of honey wheat toast with strawberry jam and two slices of turkey bacon
10 lightly salted cashews and 1 cup of organic green tea with organic coconut oil and organic honey
Small bowl of white albacore tuna mixed with mayonnaise and cracked black pepper, with 10 golden raisins and plain water crackers
10 cucumber slices with tomatoes and red onion drizzled with zesty Italian dressing
6 oz. sautéed wild salmon with teriyaki sauce; 2 cups sautéed broccoli with olive oil and fresh garlic
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4 to 5 chocolate covered cookies with raspberry filling
Total Calories: 1,765
“Kudos to Cynthia for enjoying small indulgences versus trying to fight her cravings,” says Atlanta-based dietitian Marisa Moore. “Being able to eat intuitively honors her body and helps establish a healthy relationship with food.” But she adds, “Cynthia could swap out the cookies for a piece of dark chocolate to satisfy her sweet tooth with less sugar.” And Moore suggests she add fiber by “replacing water crackers and honey wheat toast with whole-grain options.”
NOTE: It is recommended that women eat at least 1,200 calories per day, and men eat at least 1,800 calories per day.