Jessica Alba
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

We admire Jessica Alba for many things: her ability to juggle a career and a family, her penchant for putting stylish outfits together no matter where she’s headed (a fancy awards show or a simple grocery store run), and the envy-inducing way she just so happens to always look flawless on the beach (sigh).

With a body like that, one would think Alba spends hours logging miles on the treadmill, but it turns out that all it takes is a little bit of moderation—in every aspect of her life. We chatted with Alba during a cooking class at the International Culinary Education in N.Y.C., where she whipped up some fab recipes using ultra-hydrating Zico Coconut Water (the actress is the brand’s new spokesperson). Over a slice of chocolate cake, we drilled her on everything from fitness to fashion (stay tuned for the second half of the interview on her style, coming next week).

You are in phenomenal shape. How do you stay fit?
I felt like before I had kids and a company, I had more time to stick to a regular regimen, but I really find it’s hard to stick to the same thing every morning. And working out now is more about what it does for me mentally than the physical benefits. Whereas before, it was more about physical benefits. Now it’s like, “I need some ‘me’ time. I want to jump on that treadmill and zone out for twenty minutes!”

Or I can do a great yoga class. It’s good to decompress, weirdly because I never thought I’d feel that way about working out. When I do get the time, I love it. I just never have the time to do it every day.

What items are always in your diet?
I try to eat fresh, and as much fresh produce as possible, and not so many processed and packaged foods. I think that probably is a healthier way of living. I don’t really eat fast food that much. But I’m not so healthy—I have dessert, I eat chocolate, I eat meat!

So, nothing is off limits? Everything in moderation?
Exactly, yeah. I don’t have a ton of dairy and simple carbs. I try to go for more complex carbs.

Do you have a breakfast that you stick to?
My favorite is oatmeal and brown sugar and bananas. Sometimes, I add almonds in there. That’s my go-to.

What’s your routine for kicking off your morning?
I’ve been drinking hot lemon water first thing in the morning, and that’s something I’ve been doing for the past two weeks. And I get really dehydrated when I fly a lot, and I’ve been flying a lot, so I’ve been drinking more coconut water. That’s a good thing that I’ve been doing recently. It really makes a difference.

Speaking of chocolate, Alba taught us how to whip up a delectable cake using coconut water last week in N.Y.C. Get the recipe here!

Want to see more stars in stellar shape? Take a look through our stars in bikinis gallery!