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Hilary Duff shares why she's had to limit her wine-drinking as she gets older: 'I'll wake up at 3 in the morning with anxiety'

The 'How I Met Your Father' star says when it comes to cooking for her three kids, 'some days are tougher than others.'

Hilary Duff says she'd bring bacon-wrapped dates or her mom's famous bacon-wrapped chicken bites to a potluck.
Hilary Duff says she'd bring bacon-wrapped dates or her mom's famous bacon-wrapped chicken bites to a potluck. "We eat a lot of bacon in my house, if you can't tell," she tells Yahoo Life. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

Because food connects us all, Yahoo Life is serving up a heaping plateful of table talk with people who are passionate about what's on their menu in Deglazed, a series about food.

On How I Met Your Father, Hilary Duff spends time with friends at Manhattan bars and trendy dinner parties. But in real life, the 35-year-old mom of three says she's become "a short-order chef" in her own kitchen.

"It's tough. Some days are tougher than others,” she tells Yahoo Life of cooking for Luca, 10; Banks, 4; and Mae, 1.

"I had no idea it was going to be this complicated," Duff says of feeding her sometimes-picky eaters. "They all like different things and they're all very picky. But Luca will live for caviar — if we're having friends over, I'll put potato chips out and some caviar and he's so excited. So it's hard for me to come down on them. They won't eat cauliflower, but they love broccoli. They won't touch kiwi, but they love apples."

Among her go-to kid-approved meals? Chicken wings, roasted vegetables and pasta with olives and capers. "They love salty things," she says. "But then the second I try to put a little lemon zest or something, they're like, 'That was different.' Once, we were growing bok choy and Luca was like eating it raw out of the garden but then once I cooked it, it was a hard no for him."

While she's "not the parent that's cutting things into shapes or leaving notes" in her kids' lunches, Duff says she's quick to check the lunchboxes each day after school to evaluate what was a success and what came back uneaten. "What was a hit? What worked? What didn't?" she says. "You want their approval on stuff and it's so insane."

When she's not trying to find palate-pleasing meals for the kids, Duff says she works to adopt an "everything in moderation" policy for her own food choices. "I know it's boring and cliché to say, but it's real," she says. "I try to plan out things like if I have dinner with my girlfriends or a date with my husband, I think about where we're going to dinner. If I'm having sushi one night, I'm going to have salad the night before to try to get greens in because if we're having omakase I'm not getting any fiber. I need to do the equation and think ahead a little more as I get older."

Duff has also found her relationship with alcohol has changed as she's hit her mid-30s. "I used to be able to have three glasses of wine out to dinner with girlfriends and now, I'll wake up at 3 in the morning with anxiety and just running through how I'm not doing enough or not good enough," she says. "Then I'm like, 'Oh, that's the wine. That's that extra glass of wine I drank. What the hell?'"

Sugar is also on the former Lizzie McGuire star's no-no list. "If I'm in a really good routine, the second I reintroduce sugar into my diet, I am not looking great," she admits. "My face is kind of puffy."

Duff spoke with Yahoo Life as part of her work promoting Planet Oat oat milk and the brand's support of Girl Scouts of America. As a former Girl Scout herself, Duff says the partnership is close to her heart. "This is cookie season," says Duff. "It's the time of year when you see the Girl Scouts selling their cookies and oat milk goes great with them."

Duff spoke with Yahoo Life as part of her work promoting Planet Oat's support of Girl Scouts of America. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Planet Oat/AP Images)
Duff spoke with Yahoo Life as part of her work promoting Planet Oat's support of Girl Scouts of America. (Photo: Casey Rodgers/Invision for Planet Oat/AP Images)

Duff's Girl Scout cookies of choice? Thin Mints and Caramel deLites (formerly Samoas). "I'm a classic girl," she says, "and I keep both of them in the freezer. I know people do it with the Thin Mints, but I put them both in the freezer."

Another sugary splurge Duff considers worth it? A cheesecake recipe she's perfected through years of trial-and-error. "Half of my family is dairy-free, but one or two times a year I'll make a cheesecake that is like an epic, epic cheesecake," says Duff. "I got the recipe years ago. It has a blackberry topping and it's something I'm very proud of."

In a 2022 interview with Yahoo Life, Duff's HIMYF co-star Francia Raisa said Duff and her kids were huge fans of her homemade salsa, a secret recipe Raisa was unwilling to share. "A little Francia sauce goes a long way," she joked.

Duff recalls Raisa's salsa vividly. "It's the best salsa I've ever had," Duff said, recalling the party where she was introduced to it. "We got in the hot tub that night and my kids were eating her salsa and they looked like vampires — it was dripping down their faces like they'd bitten a human. And it was spicy — you know when you're like chasing the spice so you've gotta keep eating it or else you're gonna be on fire? That's what they were doing and it was hilarious. I keep telling her she needs to find a way to sell it because it's so good."

So what's Duff's go-to dish she'd bring to a gathering? "I love making bacon-wrapped dates," she says. "Or my mom makes these little chicken bites wrapped in bacon with a mustard and brown sugar [glaze] that are so so so good. We eat a lot of bacon in my house, if you can't tell."

Duff's sister, Haylie Duff, has found fame in the culinary world through her Real Girls Kitchen food blog and a cooking show of the same name. Duff says she'd call her older sister "more of a natural" in the kitchen.

"I think she's probably more of a natural cook and I'm a recipe-follower," says Duff. "But we both grew up in the kitchen with my mom and my mom's an excellent cook, so we both know what to do."

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