Ashanti's Secret to Clean Eating Habits — and Why She Believes in 2 Cheat Days a Week

Ashanti works hard for her slim figure, but the singer is all about occasionally straying from her usual diet to enjoy her favorite foods.

The actress, who currently stars in the musical film Stuck, tells PEOPLE that “to have balance, you have to eat clean and you have to work out,” but also, “you have to allow yourself at least two cheat days so that it doesn’t become too strict.”

Ashanti usually follows a pescatarian diet, something she decided to try at the encouragement of her sister, Kenashia Douglas.

“I cut out a lot of meat,” she says of her lifestyle change. “I think again, self-health and self-awareness are so important. All of that stuff is so important to maintaining your body, knowing what’s in your food, the GMO’s and the chemicals, and I’m super aware of this stuff.”

Ashanti at the NYC premiere of her film Stuck  | Michael Loccisano/Getty
Ashanti at the NYC premiere of her film Stuck | Michael Loccisano/Getty

Her awareness extends to the chemicals inside of everyday products such as deodorant and toothpaste. “I’m kind of a weirdo with that stuff,” she says jokingly.

It’s part of her overall approach to health. “I feel like it’s very necessary to just be aware of what you’re eating,” she continues. “I have a trainer and we try to go five days a week when I’m home and then when I get to another place, he’s texting me a workout or he’ll FaceTime me and say, ‘Are you still in the bed?’ We try to keep it going.”

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Ashanti’s lifestyle change has definitely given her more energy, something she needs for high-profile projects like her new film, Stuck, in which she stars alongside Giancarlo Esposito, Arden Cho and Amy Madigan.

She’s also been on tour with close friend Ja Rule and is planning a joint album.

“We have some shows together. He’s definitely gonna be working on stuff and we’re gonna be doing some stuff together as well,” she says. “We’re still on the path to dropping a joint album. I think that should be kind of cool, too.”

Stuck is in theaters now.