It really seems like Kate Hudson can do it all. The actress and mom of two boys, Ryder, 13, and Bingham, 5, also runs her athletic apparel company, Fabletics. Last year, she added author to her resume with her book Pretty Happy: The Healthy Way to Love Your Body. After sitting down with the actress recently in New York City to talk about the latest news from Fabletics, we at SELF think she should be adding chef to the list, too.
We spoke with Hudson about her favorite ways to move, her go-to healthy recipes, and ultimately, why slowing down and keeping things simple is the best way to make wellness a part of your lifestyle.
Hudson likes to stick to the basics when it comes to fitness.
She’s a no-frills kind of girl. “I love pilates, that’s always what I will do, and I know it’s boring but it really is the foundation of everything that I do,” Hudson tells SELF. “I believe in traditional pilates because I think that our bodies need to be aligned, and what that does for your body is it makes it so strong,” she says. Her advice for any women who want to try pilates is to “take it easy and learn the technique” because doing these exercises correctly is key. “If you start doing some of these classes that are a little bit intense, you can get hurt,” she says.
Hudson’s favorite pilates exercise? Spine stretch, a simple move where you sit tall with your arms straight out in front of you and then roll forward, stretching your spine as you bring your fingertips to your toes. “It feels sooo good,” Hudson gushes. “And then I love just hanging from the Cadillac and letting my body and my lower back hang.” The Cadillac is that big machine that has bars up top and straps that you can climb into and just hang from to get into a deep, satisfying stretch.
She also loves to dance, something she’s been doing since she was a kid. “Any dance aerobic workout just makes me feel happy,” Hudson says.
Hudson also says sometimes, ditching formal workouts and classes for simpler things is best. “Sometimes with all these classes, I’m just like, take a walk. The benefits of walking are huge and it’s such a nice thing to do,” she says. It’s a good example of how easy it can be to add more movement into your day without having to make a huge effort, she says.
When it comes to nutrition, Hudson is a little less loyal than she is with her fitness regimen.
While she typically just tries to eat a variety of foods that make her feel good, Hudson says she’s dabbled in a lot of different methods of eating to see how they would impact her. She’s tried veganism, the Paleo diet, pescatarianism, vegetarianism, and “this Ayurvedic thing that was no nightshades and you eat real clean,” she says. Ultimately, she says she felt the best—and had the best skin of her life—when she was vegan.
She doesn’t eat completely vegan all the time, but tries to stick to it two or three days a week, she says. For her, it’s more about choosing the way of eating that makes her feel her best as a baseline and general guide, not adhering to any super strict diet or rules. “If you like meat, to be predominantly plant-based is great for you. So why not be predominantly plant-based and every once in a while if you go to a great steakhouse, have a steak? I kind of try to look at it like that,” she says.
When she’s adhering to a vegan diet, she eats a lot of beans, spinach and kale, she says. But her favorite vegan meal is the Impossible Burger–a totally veggie-based “burger” that’s said to taste just like the real thing—from Crossroads Kitchen in Los Angeles. “It’s one of the greatest things. It’s so good. It’s crazy how they’ve been able to do that—it tastes just like a regular burger,” Hudson says.
Hudson also loves to cook—especially Italian food. And she has a genius three-ingredient chicken recipe.
“I love making homemade pastas. I go deep and make a homemade lasagna with homemade lasagna noodles, it’s like a Sicilian-style lasagna,” Hudson says. “It takes a lot of time—lasagna is like, a whole thing. But I love it. And I cook meatballs all the time. My kids love meatballs.” Hudson is half Italian, after all, she reminds us. “It could be in my DNA.”
She also describes another favorite in her cooking repertoire: a lemon and thyme chicken that’s browned and roasted and slathered in a creamy, lemon and nutmeg gravy. Hudson also gives a detailed explanation of how to make the perfect “Nothing Chicken,” a name she coins on the spot to describe chicken baked with nothing more than three ingredients—chicken, a generous amount of salt, and pepper. “When you salt a chicken generously and put it in the oven at 450, for 20 minutes on one side and then 20 minutes on the other, and you take it out, it’s perfect. You don’t need anything else,” she says. “It’s so great and so easy.”
Hudson says cooking for herself and her family makes her appreciate her food more. “I love to cook, and when you cook it always…it just feels totally different. I wonder if that does something to the way you feel when you eat,” she muses. “I’m curious as to what the brain does, if there’s a difference between going and buying something or actually making it.” She pauses, pondering the psychological benefits of baked chicken and meatballs. “We should figure that out.”
Kate Hudson on Her New Book Pretty Happy: