Don’t be fooled. Ashley Tisdale may not be in the direct spotlight, but she’s keeping busy. After the beloved actress (who you remember as Sharpay from High School Musical and Maddie from The Suite Life of Zack & Cody) had her daughter in 2021, she took a step back from acting and producing projects to focus on herself, her family, and her wellness brand, Frenshe. In that time, she's found a love for hosting epic dinner parties and has explored her passion for plant-based foods more.

In a chat with Spoon, Tisdale shared how she doesn't like the idea of dieting, how she incorporates vegan meals throughout the week as a non-vegan, and her favorite products from the plant-based food brand, Sweet Earth.

Spoon University: Let’s start with an easy question, tofu or seitan?

Ashley Tisdale: Tofu. I just like the texture a lot more.

SU: What’s your favorite tofu recipe?

AT: I’m not an amazing cook, so I don’t have a ton of recipes. But I do use Sweet Earth, and I love all their products. And one of them is their Big Sur burrito [Ed. note: which is made with tofu].

You eat primarily plant-based, right?

AT: I'm not fully vegan. I once tried being vegan. I love what being vegan stands for. I love that it's cruelty-free. I love what it does for the environment. So I was really excited to just commit to that. I was vegan for a good couple months, but because of dietary restrictions and my body just needing meat, I became anemic so I am not able to fully commit, but I actually felt really good on it. So for me it was about balance. It's incorporating plant-based meals throughout the week. It just makes it really easy for me to use the products by Sweet Earth to incorporate plant-based meals throughout the week.

SU: You talked a bit about balance in your diet. Can you tell me more about your thoughts on that?

AT: I mean, I'm not someone who believes in dieting. I just believe in making more lifestyle changes. And I also believe in listening to my body. If I'm not feeling good, I look into what I’ve been eating that's making me feel that way. I think diets are not a healthy way to look at things. For me, self care is really all-encompassing. It's about obviously not just the products we use, but our thoughts to ourselves. We can be toxic to ourselves, so it's really about making those better choices, and I think even what we're eating is all a part of that.

SU: You’re a very busy person. What’s your go-to snack when you’re on the run?

AT: I always make sure that I get my meals in, and I'm obsessed with salads. I love a good salad, and using the Mindful Chik’n is super easy to do. I'll just grab that and bring it with me wherever I have to go. 

SU: What type of salads do you usually eat?

AT: I usually just throw a salad together. It’s super easy, I'll do a spring mix with cucumbers and tomatoes and then the Mindful Chik’n and a little salad dressing.

SU: Do you have any other staple food products that you love?

AT: I mean, I was a humongous coffee fan. If I didn't have my coffee, it was like I didn't have any energy. And I didn't think I was going to be able to do it, but I'm telling you, the matcha just keeps me going throughout the day. There's no highs and lows from caffeine. So it really keeps me going, and it feels so much better on my stomach.

SU: What are your favorite dishes to serve at dinner parties?

AT: I would say it's always like a combination. I love doing some sort of charcuterie board for people with just a mix of different things. I love Simple Mill Crackers, the almond flour crackers. I love serving anything that's easy and fun for me. I love a good salad. Hosting dinners is always so nerve wracking and stressful. That is also why I love Sweet Earth, because it makes it so much easier. I recently had a girls dinner with my Frenshe team, and we had the Sweet Earth Pad Thai bowl. It was so good. I'm a huge Pad Thai fan.

SU: Is there anything you want people to know about your current projects?

AT: I am hosting the Sweet Earth foods big comeback dining event on April 26. So consumers can enter for a chance to win a trip to LA. Go to [from] March 28 through April 6 [to enter]. I think it's going to be so much fun. I'm all about connecting and community, so it's gonna be a really fun event.

SU: What are your top three Sweet Earth suggestions?

AT: I would say the Mindful Chik’n is really good, especially on salads, or I love to make tacos with it. The Pad Thai Bowl is really good, and like I said, the Big Sur burrito is really yummy. I just love that all their foods are super flavorful.

You can enter the Veggie Come Back sweepstakes starting March 28 through 11:59 PM ET on April 6, 2023. One lucky winner and their plus one, will get a trip to Los Angeles to attend the Sweet Earth Foods Veggie Come Back dining event on April 26 They’ll get an exclusive invite to the co-hosted event with Tisdale to experience and try all the new and improved Sweet Earth products.