Victoria's Secret Models: What They Really Eat In A Day

For years, it was no secret that Victoria's Secret models had to stay in tip-top shape for their jobs. It involved a ton of rigorous exercise — according to Cosmopolitan, many models exercised twice a day when it came close to fashion show time — and following strict diets. However, the brand has faced a lot of scrutiny for the unhealthy pressure it's put on its models and the consumers who look up to them. 

After years of mounting pressure to be more inclusive in its representation, Victoria's Secret announced in 2021 that it would overhaul its Angels imagery in favor of more diverse types of models, per the New York Times. CEO Martin Waters noted that the fashion show would make a post-Covid comeback, but in a very different form. That likely means we won't be seeing super heavy angel wings and diamond encrusted bras on the runway anytime soon. And while new models have been joining the fold, many of the former Angels have stuck around to be included in the brand's latest marketing campaigns. 

Whether they're former Angels or new VS Collective members, the ladies of Victoria's Secret — past and present — are not only in great shape, but are super confident. They have to be in order to face the world in nothing but their skivvies! Here's a glimpse into their diet plans and overall eating habits that help them stay in shape and camera-ready. 

Three square meals

Victoria's Secret Angels were, as a rule, incredibly thin — and many of them were ripped. Naturally, a lot of fuel is needed to get in that kind of shape. Stephen Pasterino, a New York City-based personal trainer who prepared two Victoria's Secret Angels for the 2017 runway show in Shanghai, spoke with PopSugar about the women's dietary guidelines. "I'm not a fan of snacking," he admitted. "I like to focus on three main meals and occasional dessert spread out throughout the week." That's right, the models may not get to snack much but they do get to eat dessert. Though the key word here, however, is "occasional." 

Pasterino's recommendation includes a light breakfast and a "normal" portion of both lunch and dinner. He shared his reasoning, saying, "This improves the immune system and heals the digestive tract. Time between meals can be anywhere from three to six hours," he explained. Three to six hours with no snacks? Sigh.

New Victoria's Secret VS Collective model Hailey Bieber is a proponent of three square meals a day too, telling Elle, "On a regular day, breakfast is usually eggs or oatmeal, some type of healthy protein, or a smoothie." She follows that with a salad or sandwich for lunch, and vegetables, pasta, and chicken for a typical dinner. She also occasionally adds in something sweet: "Sometimes [I'll do dessert]. I really like the Magnum bars ... [But I generally try to avoid] sugar."

The most important meal of the day

Three square meals? Got it. But many of us tend to skip breakfast. A study conducted by Ohio State University found that 15% of adults don't eat breakfast, per VeryWell Health, and other studies put the number closer to 25%. But it doesn't seem like most Victoria's Secret models fall under that statistic, with many of them citing big breakfasts as a staple of their routines. SheFinds notes that Kendall Jenner likes to fuel up in the mornings with eggs, avocado (a Victoria's Secret model favorite), and oatmeal. Hailey Bieber also likes eggs and oatmeal, but will sometimes have a smoothie instead, as she told Elle

Model and fitness influencer Alexis Ren, who appeared in the Victoria's Secret Love Cloud fall 2022 campaign, is pretty specific about her first meal of the day. "When I wake up, I immediately have my coffee with vanilla soy creamer," she told Women's Health. "I can't process the day without it." She works out in the morning, as many of the other models do, so she'll eat some fruit for energy. "I don't want to be in fasting mode in a workout because then you're depleting your muscles," she said. After her workout, she incorporates some kind of protein into her diet, typically a protein shake. We definitely have some morning routine envy.

Giving up dairy products can be beneficial

Cutting out snacks and sticking to three sensible meals per day sounds reasonable enough, and it would be fairly easy to stick to, right? Trainer Stephen Pasterino's advice didn't end there, however. "Personally, I cut out dairy," he told PopSugar. "There are plenty of other options such as almond or coconut milk that I prefer and [these options] don't bloat you." 

Bloating is a common problem reported by women, and many simply put up with the discomfort. But, as a Victoria's Secret model, imagine both feeling and looking bloated while posing in nothing but your lingerie. Pasterino is justified to advise models to cut out dairy, even if he's just opting to be on the safe side. 

According to a study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, around 75% of the global population loses the ability to properly digest dairy products at some point in their lives and could be considered lactose intolerant. This intolerance causes stomach pain, bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea. And you thought bloating was the worst thing that could happen on the runway.

No 'crazy diets'

Not all Victoria's Secret models cut out dairy. After all, not all people are lactose intolerant. Hailey Bieber told Elle she loves Magnum ice cream bars, for example. And it's not just the new crop of models: Former Angel Stella Maxwell spoke to Byrdie about her philosophy on healthy eating, saying, "I kind of eat in moderation. I don't think it's good to cut anything out 100% or go on some crazy diet." Instead, Maxwell advocated for portion control. For breakfast, she routinely enjoys having scrambled eggs with avocado or oatmeal, which she claims to love. Yogurt with granola is another one of Maxwell's go-to breakfasts. Moving on to lunch, she sticks with proteins — anything from salmon to chicken — alongside a salad. 

Maxwell, unlike Pasterino, believes in snacking. A sleeve of Oreo cookies, perhaps? The occasional pint of ice cream? No, not exactly. "I like nuts and those dried peas," she explained, "They're really addictive." Okay so, her idea of snacking is a little different than the average American's, but then again, the average American isn't a Victoria's Secret model.

VS Collective member and Olympian Eileen Gu has also noted the importance of not restricting her eating too much, telling the New York Times that after struggling with counting calories and overthinking her eating habits, she's now in a healthier place after working with a nutritionist: "I'm eating about 2,000 calories a day. It's really a maintenance level for me, and then sometimes I need to eat more."

'Burgers and hotdogs and French fries'

Former Angel Devon Windsor expressed a similar philosophy as her colleague, Stella Maxwell, in that she doesn't cut out food groups. Windsor, who considers herself a foodie, described her ideal day's worth of food to Elle — and it may not be what you expect from someone so fit.

She likes eggs Benedict, but instead of the traditional Canadian ham she opts for bacon. Her lunch is a sensible salad with protein, and for dinner she shared that if it's nice out, she and her friends will "barbecue and have burgers and hotdogs and French fries, and then a coffee," she explained. Oh, and you can't forget the snacks. She prefers either a smoothie or juice in the mid-afternoon. Depending on the weather, she might switch out the smoothie for some ice cream. Now that's a diet plan! 

Of course, Windsor would then balance out all of her food choices with a combination of cardio and bodyweight exercises, like kickboxing, to maintain the signature thinness that used to be required of Victoria's Secret Angels. The brand currently showcases models of all shapes and sizes rather than one body type, which we love — just like we love Maxwell's down-to-earth food faves.   

Water, water, water

In the days of the Victoria's Secret fashion show (before Covid-19 shut them down), many of the models, including Adriana Lima and Bella Hadid, followed a detox recommended by nutritionist Dr. Charles Passler. The goal of this particular detox was to lower body fat while increasing metabolism. That said, it wasn't exactly easy, as Passler explained to InStyle. Although the detox only lasted around a week, there was a lot involved. Passler recommended anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Deal. The next step involved a lot of water — anywhere from two to four liters — according to Passler. That's over a gallon of water per day. 

Although the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (a division of the National Institutes of Health) indicates there's no convincing evidence that detoxing will improve your health or even remove toxins, water isn't necessarily harmful. If you plan to up your water intake to match that of Victoria's Secret models, though, you should pace yourself.

VS Collective member Hailey Bieber also touts the importance of water, but she has a more moderate approach: "I think drinking a lot of water helps. I try to drink, like, a couple bottles throughout the day. I don't know how many glasses that would amount to, but it's important" (via Elle). 

A model's relationship with carbs might be complicated

During the detox, Passler also urged the models to avoid all foods that could contribute to both inflammation and bloating. That meant cutting out gluten, sugar, processed foods, and — you guessed it — dairy. Passler also explicitly stated, "no alcohol." This isn't to say Victoria's Secret models never drink alcoholic beverages (Devon Windsor loves Moscow mules), they just avoided them during the detox. 

Perhaps most importantly, only limited carbs were recommended. According to Passler's advice given to InStyle, carbs retain water and "prevent the lean look that is needed." So why not cut out carbs completely, then? Passler explained that carbs are needed for energy prior to workouts. During the detox, the models only consumed them pre-exercise. So, what did the famous ladies eat during the detox? Lots of protein (fish, eggs, meat, protein powder), healthy fats (avocado, nuts, chia seeds), and, of course, a small amount of "good carbs" (quinoa, fruit, sweet potatoes), prior to their workouts. 

But while some models likely remain this strict, not every Victoria's Secret model follows this advice. In the new era of body positivity, carbs are starting to shed their bad reputation, and the masses (and the models themselves!) are realizing that carbs don't need to be as demonized as they've been in the past. Plus, that "lean look" is no longer a VS model requirement. Alexis Ren told Women's Health, "Bread was always a trigger. I gauged how much I've healed off of my eating disorder based on if I can eat a piece of bread and be okay. Bread's not the enemy, and I know we need carbohydrates."

Salads are a favorite

Figuring out what to eat for lunch is a daily struggle. The Victoria's Secret models seem to have it figured out though. Many of their go-to lunches involve, rather specifically, kale salads. Hailey Bieber is a fan, telling Elle, "I love a good kale Caesar salad [but with] no croutons. That's usually one thing I leave out," adding that she tries to avoid gluten. 

New Victoria's Secret model Alexis Ren loves her salads too. She described her favorite kale salad recipe to Women's Health: "I'll chop up the kale ... in small pieces with my hands and add onions and then garbanzo beans because they're a really good protein." She's also a fan of avocado, as many of the models are, which she adds to her salad along with olive oil, lime, and nutritional yeast.  

The 80/20 rule

While the requirements for being a Victoria's Secret model have certainly changed (for the better!), many of the models still remain conscious of their health. Unlike Windsor, who consumes hamburgers and fries, model Josephine Skriver admitted to Byrdie, "I can't live off of burgers!" She described a hectic travel schedule that sometimes involved as many as three red-eye flights in one week, and said she prefers to "eat for fuel or eat to stay energized." 

Skriver explained that she follows the 80/20 rule. This means that 80% of the time she eats healthy and works out. The other 20% is reserved for a more flexible approach to her food and exercise habits. She explained, "I stay on a schedule because I really am all about taking care of my body."

The 80/20 rule is, no doubt, a more realistic lifestyle to follow than being healthy a hundred percent of the time, but it isn't something that changes your body overnight. Skriver also explained that she's not a fan of dieting and "quick fixes." She added, "There's no such thing as doing 30 ab exercises and then you get a six-pack." Bummer!

Snacks, but make them healthy

Josephine Skriver may believe moderation is best, but she still has healthier snack habits than the rest of us. "For snacks, I love everything from fruit to carrots or nuts — like a little handful of nuts keeps me going or just a half a portion of what I ate earlier," she told Byrdie. Carrots as snacks? Eating goals

In addition to the little veggies and nuts, Skriver always brings fruit with her in her bag to eat while she's out, but that's not all you'll find her in bag. "Nut bars are good and easy to bring in your bag," she added. That is certainly true.

Skriver doesn't rely much on carbs for snacks or meals because they make her tired. However, she does often eat two breakfasts a day. But the takeaway for most of us is probably to eat carrots for snacks and not second breakfasts.

An avo a day keeps the doctor away

Similar to Josephine Skriver, Victoria's Secret model Georgia Fowler follows an 80% rule of sorts, though her plan still manages to be 100% healthy. "I try to keep it 80% fruit and veg, 10% fat, 10% protein," she told Women's Health Australia

She consumes one of her favorite fats daily. "I say an avo a day," she told the publication, reportedly laughing. If you're an avocado-lover, that part is easy. Additionally, Fowler cuts out all unnecessary carbs, limits the amount of dairy products she eats and drinks, and doesn't consume processed food. Those parts are not quite as easy.

Like many of her colleagues, when the fashion shows were still being produced, Fowler cut out even more in the days leading up to the show to eliminate bloat. Still, it's not about crash dieting, she explained, "it's about being healthy all year round really." Not that she can really slack off, anyway. "I'm always doing swimwear," she said, so she has to stay toned.

Not all of the models eat meat

It's clear that protein plays a special part in the diet of Victoria's Secret models. Eating meat, however, is not the only way to consume it. Former Angel Bridget Malcolm, named PETA Australia's Sexiest Vegetarian of 2015, balanced her meals with fruit, vegetables, and grains, according to Vogue. On Malcolm's blog, she admitted that her diet involves more than just what she shares on social media when she's training. "This seems to have perpetuated the myth that I only eat vegetables, protein shakes and gallons of water in a day," she wrote, adding, "I need to break this myth." She then shared her average eating routine, which included mostly organic foods (and mentioned having an avocado a day, like Fowler). Cherry tomatoes, salads, nuts and beans, and vegetable-based starches were also listed as favorites.

While new VS Collective member Eileen Gu isn't a vegetarian, she does try to limit her meat intake as well. "I eat everything in balance," she told the New York Times. "I am huge about the environment, but it's such a conflict for me. Yes, I want to support the cause, but how much tofu can I eat? I probably eat red meat three days a week, and then I eat fish or plant protein."

Adut Akech is another newer member of the Victoria's Secret model squad who limits her meat intake, noting that she really started appreciating veggies after going vegan. "I'm pescatarian now, but I'm eating my vegetables, fruits and making sure I stay hydrated," she told Byrdie

Some of the models used intermittent fasting, but it's not for everyone

Another aspect of Malcolm's routine included fasting. "I leave a large window between dinner and breakfast," she wrote on her blog. "I am an accidental intermittent faster," she added, "I find it helps me sleep better if I am not too full, but still a little full. Goldilocks level of full."

However, in recent years, Malcolm has spoken out about the pressures she faced during her time as an Angel on TikTok, saying that she developed an eating disorder and mental health issues as a result (via People). Thankfully, she is in a much better place now — and the restrictive standards Victoria's Secret models were once held to have been loosened.

Whether the intermittent fasting really was accidental on Malcolm's part or not, though, the practice does appear to be helpful to some looking to change their eating habits. Intermittent fasting has been credited with promising results, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. One researcher explained that if a person doesn't eat for 10 to 16 hours, the body will look for energy in its fat stores. When that happens, fatty acids (ketones) get released into the bloodstream, which is good for the brain. 

Another theory about the benefits of fasting — one that is much less scientific — is that a person just consumes fewer calories per day when they fast. Whatever the reason, Pasterino advised the Victoria's Secret Angels he worked with to fast intermittently, or at least to "never eat three hours before bedtime."