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Maria Menounos: ‘I Eat Like I’m Going to Play in a Football Game’

Maria Menounos Almonds
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

After covering countless award shows, E! host Maria Menounos knows what goes into prepping for a red carpet.

From packing on the protein to avoiding a game-day food fest, the author of The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness, reveals her award show rituals to PEOPLE  — and, what they have to do with football.

PEOPLE: What is your diet like leading up to an awards show?

Maria Menounos: I don’t change that much because I have a pretty good handle on my diet and fitness routine. I have learned that having a lot of beers and chips before a red carpet is not the best idea. At the Golden Globes I was watching the arrivals in my hotel room before I had to go backstage — I had watched the Patriots game the night before and had many beers and chips – and I said to my friend, “I look six months pregnant!” So no beer. I’m not doing beer the night before ever again.  So [before the Oscars] I’ll be having Greek yogurt and some almonds.

So excited to be on #ERedCarpet tonight live 8pm pacific 11 eastern…here with my awesome crew getting the party started!! #goldenglobes

A photo posted by maria menounos (@mariamenounos) on Jan 11, 2015 at 5:58pm PST

PEOPLE: Is that your go-to meal before a long red carpet?

MM: I’ll eat a good breakfast or lunch before I leave. Like eggs or oatmeal — it depends what I’m craving but I keep almonds in my purse, my car — it’s the best snack because they don’t go bad and can’t melt! And if you’re prepared you won’t make bad choices like going through the drive through. I’ll eat a handful of almonds to get me through the hour I’m in traffic before I can eat a meal. [Below, Menounos snacks on California almonds before the Golden Globes].

Maria Menounos Almonds
California Almonds

PEOPLE: So, no crazy pre-show cleanses for you?

MM: No, I think people put so much emphasis on an award show and it’s one day. We’re never going to be perfect and I hate depriving myself. If I do; I don’t’ feel good and I want to feel good that day. I don’t want to be like, “Oh my god, I’m not going to eat for a week so I’ll look good in my dress.” I’ll look good in my dress either way. I’m a normal person. I wake up and eat like I’m going to play in a football game. I want my protein that’s going to carry me through the day, I want to feel like I ate something filling because I have a lot of work ahead of me.

PEOPLE: But just not beer or chips?

MM: No beer [before the carpet] now! I live by the 75/25 rule: 75% clean and from the ground, and have a 25% play area so it’s never a guilty pleasure or a splurge day. If Wednesday night I want nachos, I’m going to have it. And on Friday if I want a potato skin then I may have it.

PEOPLE: What’s your exercise philosophy when it comes to the red carpet?

MM: If I have a dress with high slit, I’ll work more on my legs, but I’m always active so I don’t [do anything differently]. I have been working out with a trainer for the last few weeks because I really want to build my upper body. The amount of weights I’m doing I can’t do by myself. For me anything over 10 lbs. is a lot for me! I’ve gotten up to 25 lbs.

–Michelle Ward

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