Nina Dobrev has been stunning Hollywood with her figure for years both on-screen in the CW’s The Vampire Diaries and MTV’s Degrassi: The Next Generation, and off-screen on the red carpet. The 27-year-old of Bulgarian descent, raised in Toronto, spent her childhood competing in gymnastics. Now, she stays active by running, spinning and taking hot yoga classes. 

When she’s not drinking blood as Elena Gilbert, Dobrev keeps up a balanced and sustainable diet inspired by Steve Moyer, creator of The Moyer Method, and marked by mostly whole, unprocessed foods.

Here are Dobrev’s tips for eating healthily and maintaining her hot bod.

1. Be aware of your caloric intake.

pizza, beer
Marisa Guido

Steve Moyer stresses the importance of calorie counting, referring to it instead as “calorie awareness.” Although calorie counting receives substantial criticism as overly obsessive, often inaccurate or the potential source of a skewed perspective, Moyer focuses on the necessity of understanding how your own body is processing the calories you’re consuming each day.

Dobrev observes this idea of calorie awareness through carefully designing meals to optimize nutritional value, but doesn’t stress too much about exact calorie counts. As a general rule, she avoids foods without much nutritional value, so-called “empty calories” like the sugars in soft drinks and baked goods or the solid fats in butter and sausage.

2. Choose your carbs carefully. 

chicken, bread
Alex Frank

Dobrev follows Moyer’s idea behind a “correct-carb” diet, a term that reinforces the idea that “low-carb” or “no-carb” diets may not be right for everyone. Depending on your lifestyle, you may need a high amount of carbs (especially if you’re more active or athletic than the average person), so what’s most important is to eat the correct balance of carbs for your body. If you’re feeling weighed down, sluggish or have the urge to keep snacking, cut the carbs; but if you’re feeling energized or satisfied, continue with the same carb routine.

3. Eat less, more often.

vinegar, garlic, oil, herb, salt, pickle
Bernard Wen

In recent research, there is an ongoing debate over whether the classic three meals per day decreases an individual’s basic metabolic rate (BMR) or energy levels throughout the day in comparison to eating smaller meals or snacks more frequently.

Dobrev chooses to eat five or six smaller meals each day, which helps keep away hunger and unhealthy binge snacking. When she does snack, she opts for a handful of almonds or an apple, often carrying these around in her purse as handy, healthy treats on the go.

4. Cut the processed foods.

While Moyer does advocate for flexibility in your diet, he warns against processed foods, as they’re comprised mostly of empty calories that may contribute to weight gain or prevent you from feeling full. Dobrev aims to avoid this category of food altogether.

5. Stay away from fad diets.

juice, grapefruit, citrus, lemon
Justin Schwebel

Dobrev does not subscribe to any fad diets, preferring instead to stay healthy through balanced eating and changing her lifestyle according to the way her body feels. She once tried going vegetarian, but said that it made her feel weak, most likely due to the lack of animal proteins. She also started to receive comments about her body after losing weight once she made the no-meat switch, so she decided to follow these physical cues and return to a diet including some meat and fish.