Getty Images / Kristy Sparow
Zendaya is a 25-year-old singer and actress who’s starred in major movies and shows like Spider-Man, The Greatest Showman and Euphoria. With how busy she is and how many projects she’s working on, she still makes an effort to stay fit. However, eating a healthy diet proves challenging for her at times. Here’s what Zendaya eats in a day—plus, what a dietitian thinks about her diet.
What Zendaya Eats in a Day
Zendaya became a vegetarian at age 11 when she passed a slaughterhouse on a road trip with her father. She tells PEOPLE, “I thought it was awful, all those animals getting packed up in there waiting to be killed. I couldn’t believe that’s how I’d been getting my meat!”
Since then, she’s stuck to a plant-based diet. Ironically, though, Zendaya is a vegetarian who doesn’t love vegetables, so she has to get creative with her meals. She admits to Cosmopolitan, “I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t like vegetables too much—makes it challenging!”
Even though she’s not the biggest fan of veggies, she manages to score some produce through her trademark rice salads. In this easy lunch recipe, she combines instant brown rice with vegetable broth, olive oil, sautéed veggies (onion, zucchini, mushrooms and carrots), lemon juice, salt and pepper. We’d love to see her add some plant-based protein like lentils, beans or tofu for staying power (like we do in this Vegetarian Taco Salad or this Rice and Lentil Salad).
Zendaya tells Harper’s Bazaar that she doesn’t really cook and relies heavily on delivery and takeout. “I just a) don’t like following directions, and I’m b) too lazy,” she says. “I use Postmates to order food. I can have anything I want; that’s the beauty of ordering food. If I’m having my favorite meal, I’ll just skip right to ice cream. In fact, I get in trouble with my assistant a lot. He says I shouldn’t do that.”
And her sweet tooth doesn’t stop at ice cream. Though she says she’s not a big breakfast eater, Zendaya tells Harper’s Bazaar, “I’ll eat breakfast food, but it must have some Nutella on it: pancakes, berries and Nutella.” (We have a feeling she’d love this healthy Chocolate Banana Oatmeal that’s made with hazelnut spread!)
Zendaya also admits that sometimes she’s so busy at work, her diet has to take a back seat. “It’s bad, but because I work so much, sometimes I forget to eat,” she tells Harper’s Bazaar. “I snack throughout the day, though, especially if I’m on set where there is craft service. My go-to is a cup of noodles with hot sauce. I know it’s bad for me. People are like, ‘Zendaya, it’s high in sodium!’ but it’s what I want to eat,” she says.
And unlike some other celebs, you probably won’t find Zendaya drinking hot water with lemon or a green juice first thing in the morning. She tells Harper’s Bazaar, “I don’t drink coffee; it doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t drink energy drinks or soda, either. And I hate water. I’m a juice drinker, but not fancy-people juice. Like Tropicana or lemonade—not fancy.”
Zendaya’s Workout Routine
In a YouTube video from Justine Magazine, Zendaya reveals that she’s not a huge fan of working out. She says, “I enjoy dancing and doing choreography, stuff like that. So, that’s how I get my exercise.” She adds, “Find something that’s really fun for you. Whether that’s Jazzercise or whatever.”
For her role in The Greatest Showman, Zendaya had to build up her upper body and core strength to perform stunts on the trapeze. She worked with a personal trainer in order to gain muscle and fly through the air with grace. Talk about a fun workout!
What a Dietitian Thinks About Zendaya’s Diet and Workout Routine
EatingWell’s associate nutrition editor, Jessica Ball, M.S., RD, says, “Even though Zendaya states she isn’t a big fan of vegetables, it’s nice to see that she includes some variety of vegetables in her rice bowl lunches.”
However, Ball says that a cup of noodles with hot sauce probably doesn’t provide enough nutrition or staying power to get her through her long days. Ball adds, “There are several easy ways to turn instant noodles into a healthy dinner, like adding eggs, beans and greens. Sometimes we can’t control much about our busy schedules, but skipping meals can lead to getting so hungry that we overeat. Over time, this can cause sharp spikes and steep plummets in blood sugar that can harm your health.”
Ball says it’s great that Zendaya has found an exercise routine that she enjoys and that fits well into her lifestyle. Ball adds, “That’s a key part of making it sustainable.” That said, Ball wishes Zendaya would make it a priority to stay hydrated by drinking water—especially since she’s doing such rigorous training each day. “I would love to see her drink more water, or add fresh fruit and citrus to water to give it a flavor boost,” Ball says.
At the end of the day, Zendaya is a celebrity with access to high-quality food and likely has several personal trainers at her disposal. It’s important to remember that everyone is different and there’s no one-size-fits-all diet or exercise routine. However, if you’re curious about trying out a vegetarian diet like Zendaya, start with our Vegetarian Diet for Beginners guide to learn how to go plant-based in a healthy way.