(Health.com) -- Sitting in her trailer between filming scenes for "Parenthood," Lauren Graham is still in hair and makeup, but dressed in what could be considered her casual uniform: a pair of stretchy jeans tucked into boots, a tank top, and a Current/Elliott denim shirt.
She's nearly cornered the market on playing young, cool single moms, and it's no accident: The 43-year-old is warm, naturally pretty, and self-deprecatingly funny. But her devotion to living healthy is no joke.
Today, as she eats a lean lunch of brown rice and tuna, Lauren talks to Health about staying body-confident in Hollywood, and just how she earned herself the nickname "Bootsy."
Q: What does being healthy mean to you?
Balance, and I think that is something you're always aspiring to have. Sometimes I'll think, "That was a really nice day. I ate well, I exercised, I called some friends, wasn't working too hard," but I rarely have one of those. [Laughs.] They're more often, "I'm too tired, I didn't run as far as I wanted." And so that's something I've gained peace with. I expect now for the day to be imperfect in some way.
Q: What's your go-to power meal?
I guess it's protein and vegetables. I've pretty much always been on a diet since I was born. And the women in my family struggle, so I find the less I think about food, in a way, the happier I am. In general, I think I eat less the less I think about it.
Q: In what areas of your life are you most and least healthy?
I'm probably most healthy in exercise. I've always really liked being active. I do Spinning classes, I run, I have a trainer, I do Pilates with my sister Shade.
And I think work has been an area, historically, where I've way overworked myself. Not on this job. But [in the past] I've definitely spent a lot of time worrying about work, taking jobs when I maybe could have taken some time off - really pushing myself. Although I've gotten way way way better.
Q: What's your favorite healthy-life advice?
Just keep moving. Someone said this to me a long time ago. It's a Buddhist saying, I think: "There is no wasted effort." It applies to so many things. It applies to being physical, like, "Let's take a walk outside."
And I never go take a walk outside, but it's such a good idea! No, you didn't burn 1,000 calories, but you got up after dinner, you walked outside, had fresh air.
Q: Do you have a go-to way to lose a quick few pounds?
One thing I think is underrated is eating soup. I did this movie with Jeff Bridges, and I don't know if he was trying to lose weight or not, but he would carry around this thermos of soup.
Also, the best investment I made in the last year was a Vitamix. You can put raw kale in the Vitamix, and you don't even taste it when you put some fruit and ice in. It comes with all these insane recipes. You can make your own peanut butter. You can grind your own flour. [Laughs.]
Q: Wow, have you done that?
No. Are you kidding? But I gave one to Oliver Platt for his 50th birthday, and he was like, "You've made the peanut butter, right?" And I was like, "Nooo." I make juice.
Q: Are there any ways you stay fit that are more surprising than regular workouts?
I just had a vacation, and we went skiing. It was such a cool vacation because the whole day is around something active. And occasionally we'd go to the gym at night.
Q: You really worked out after skiing?
Yeah. That's my boyfriend [co-star Peter Krause] who works out like crazy. You would go to the gym at night because you're tired, but you've worked the strangest muscles, so you don't feel like you've worked out.
Q: If you're ever feeling down about your looks, how do you get the body confidence you need?
Well, part of my job is pretending. And I've honestly never led with my looks. I've always thought my strengths were I'm smart, and I have a good sense of humor.
I definitely struggle with feeling confident. We went to a party last night, and I always still feel like I'm in high school: "Did I wear the right thing? Do I look OK? Did I walk funny?" Like, I never feel comfortable, but I've done this for so long that I just know I'm not going to feel comfortable. That's not the real me, you know?
Q: Any embarrassing fashion moments that tested your confidence?
I wore something this year that I got criticized for, and [laughs] it killed me! And I was like, "But why didn't they like it?" You want people to feel you made the right choice. But, I am who I am.
I mean, honestly, I was such a tomboy as a kid. People were taking from their mothers' closets -- I was taking from my dad's closet. It was the '80s, so it wasn't terrible, but I was wearing my dad's dress shirts over jeans from the Gap. And not the Gap now, but the Gap when it was jeans and flannel shirts. That, to me, was a really good outfit.
I have more access to beautiful clothes and help, but everybody makes mistakes; that's why there are worst-dressed lists. [Laughs.]
Q: What's your go-to style now?
I think it's D.C. meets California. Growing up [in D.C.], I can remember a girl coming to me and saying, "Do you want to be preppy with me?" And I was like, "Yes." Back then, you were disco or preppy.
But then you come to California, and it's a little more laid back and Bohemian. My boyfriend has a friend who calls me Bootsy because I wear jeans tucked into boots 9 times out of 10! I have way too many jeans. But I never seem to have a top to wear.
Q: How do you feel about plastic surgery?
I don't ever plan to do it, but I don't know how I would feel. Like, if you have worked with and hung out with, as I have, Diane Keaton. She's in such good shape, you know? She, to my knowledge, has never had anything done. And why would you? She looks great, and she doesn't look fake.
The standards have changed, and people do much more in that world than they used to. It's not a fair playing field, in a way. I have an interest in looking good, but I have a fear of not looking like myself. I've had much more success than I ever thought not being iconic in the beauty sense, so maybe I'll just continue to rest on my personality. [Laughs.]
Q: Is there a celebrity whose body and looks inspire you?
Sandra Bullock. She looks really great and not fake. And I think she has dignity and has handled her public life really well.
Q: Do you have any beauty tricks that don't come from a bottle?
I really think if you're trying to look good, do something athletic. I have a little mini tramp, and sometimes I'll just try to jump for 20 minutes. It gets your blood circulating and that always looks really pretty.
Q: What's your ideal Saturday night?
Cooking for friends at my house -- although I always break that rule about not trying to cook something new when you are entertaining, so the results can be mixed. Someday I will learn!
Copyright Health Magazine 2011