Marilyn Monroe is one of the most instantly recognisable stars to this day, and her iconic status as a 1950s sex symbol continues to be celebrated. While acclaimed for her curvy physique, Marilyn was actually quite slim, and planned her meals painstakingly to maintain her figure. In an archived interview for Pageant magazine, Marilyn revealed some interesting, and at times, boggling, secrets to her diet. After seeing the growing trend for trialling celebrity diets, I decided to eat like Marilyn for one day, curious to see the effects of her "bizarre" eating habits.  


Rebecca Salter

Marilyn would start her morning with (questionably) the strangest meal of them all. After heating a glass of milk (Marilyn preferred whole), she would mix in two raw eggs to create something akin to a protein shake. I found this combination unusual, as the commixture of sweet and salty confused my tastebuds. The consistency, too, was stringy and unappetising.

My main concern was how filling this would be. I rely on an abundance of solid food in the morning to silence my stomach and get my energy going. I was pleasantly surprised when Marilyn's concoction satiated my appetite and gave me the energy boost I needed to kickstart my morning. I was also pleased to read that a multi-vitamin supplement was on the menu. While ultimately less favorable than whole foods, the vitamin assured me that this diet would take into account my nutritional wellbeing alongside my busy schedule.


Rebecca Salter

I lasted until lunch without any pangs of hunger, but when I read that Marilyn sometimes skipped her midday meal, I knew this wasn't a rule I could stick to. Taking note of Marilyn's favorites, I opted for a spaghetti dish with butter and tomato sauce. While sounding eerily like Mama June's "sketti," this lunch was actually quite nutritious. Marilyn avoided cheese in order to reduce her fat and dairy intake, and the added carbs were a welcome change from the carb-free choices she often made.

Overall, this lunch was a big win and took little time to prepare. Despite the availability of cheap pasta around campuses, it's a dish generally less suited to students on-the-go. As a comforting home-cooked meal on calm weekends, this gets five stars. Reading that Marilyn was also partial to noodles, her diet seems far more feasible for the common student and serves as a needed reminder that carbs are not the enemy.


Rebecca Salter

I'm a huge snacker, especially when I'm working. The very notion that someone could spend five hours in the library sans food is beyond me. Although Marilyn has never been cited as a huge snacker, her identification as "part rabbit" in her Pageant interview suggests she liked to munch at least half as much as I do. I opted for a few crackers to graze on as I studied, accepting that Marilyn's preference for a single cracker was far too meagre for me. I also kept some baby carrots on hand for something more nutritious. 


Rebecca Salter

Like her breakfast, Marilyn's dinner was loaded with protein. Choosing a lean steak, lamb chops, or chicken, she would grill or broil her meat and serve it with a generous portion of raw carrots. I thoroughly enjoyed making this dish, mainly as it so closely resembles the clean eating movement that saturates health magazines today. It was also quick and simple—no lengthy recipes, long-winded ingredient lists, or standing over a pot stirring.

It stunned me that one of the highest ranking actresses of all time ate meals not uncommon to my own, and that her choices were frugal and uncomplicated. If I was to try Marilyn's dinner again, I would even consider spicing it up and would most likely boil the carrots for a softer texture. One element of my evening meal that I missed, however, was the carbs. A serving of rice or potatoes would've made this meal perfect and wholesome as I knew I would face cravings later.


Rebecca Salter

Marilyn embraced the idea of dietary balance. While the healthiness of some of her choices could be debated, she definitely aimed to reduce overly-filling foods throughout the day in order to reward herself in the evening. It's unlikely that Marilyn ate dessert every day, but she certainly treated herself more often than not. With one of her favorites being a hot fudge sundae, this was one meal I could get on board with.

Marilyn referred to her diet as consisting mainly of protein foods, and her plan teaches us to indulge in moderation. As a chocolate addict myself, I openly welcomed an ice cream dessert, which concluded an eye-opening day testing out my favorite starlet's foods. Her diet, though at times strange, demonstrates some unexpected variety, and dissolves the boundary between "good" and "bad" food.

In the future, I don't think I'll shy away from Marilyn's trademark meals, but I also don't think I'll implement her eating habits as rigidly as she did. Following the low carb/high fat diet, Marilyn's daily dishes contradicted my high carb/low fat goals, but by reducing some of her indulgences and adding some carb staples, Marilyn's meal plan can actually serve us well.

Marilyn teaches us that it's acceptable, even advisable, to treat ourselves, and that simple foods don't have to be boring. I admire Marilyn's devotion to eating enough protein and like that she incorporated fresh veggies into her meals. In sum, my journey into the blonde bombshell's daily diet was a pleasing and revealing experience, and next time I'm craving an indulgent dessert, I might just think of her.