Jean Smart Shares Her "Famous" Fiber-Packed, Comforting Dinner—Here's How to Make It

Plus, the actor talks about her plan to stay healthy this season, her advice for managing diabetes and more in this exclusive interview.

Pfizer/Jean Smart
Pfizer/Jean Smart

Reviewed by Dietitian Emily Lachtrupp, M.S., RD

As cooler weather approaches, cold and flu season is soon to follow. Luckily, we have a plan in place to help combat the stress and discomfort being sick may bring, thanks to Jean Smart and her partnership with Pfizer's Know Plan Go campaign.

Best known for her roles in Designing Women, Frasier and most recently Hacks, actor Smart has teamed up with Pfizer to help promote their new campaign in order to educate as many people as they can about their accessible wellness plan. According to the campaign, 3 out of 4 people are at high risk for becoming very sick with COVID-19, and with Smart having diabetes, she became involved alongside other celebs with risk factors, like Pink, Questlove and Michael Phelps.

That's why we were given the incredible opportunity to sit down with Smart and talk more about this mission—as well as other topics, from her go-to comfort foods to her favorite form of exercise. Learn more about how Smart plans to stay healthy this season, her top piece of advice for those managing diabetes and more in this exclusive interview.

Related: Coco Gauff Shares Her Go-To Sneakers, Favorite Snacks and #1 Way to Stay Hydrated (Exclusive)

EatingWell: Tell us a little about the Know Plan Go campaign and why you're participating.

Smart: Know Plan Go is a really simple, very smart campaign that Pfizer has come up with to [help] people that have so many questions and so many concerns about COVID. First, know your risks. I recently found out that depression is one of the risks for more extreme COVID, which I had no idea. Weight, age, diabetes like myself, know your risk factors. Make a plan with your medical professional or your doctor. And if you get sick, go to your doctor and see if there's a prescription plan they recommend or what they think you should do. If you have that all ahead of time, then there's no reason to panic about it or worry, which is what I did.

I finally got COVID after all this time in January, and I wasn't concerned about it because I knew what risk factors I had, and I knew I didn't want to risk it getting serious at all for a variety of reasons: working full time, having a lot of people depend on me and also being a single mom. And I knew what my doctor would plan for me, so as soon as I got the positive test, I went back to the doctor and we implemented our plan, and I felt great very quickly.

EatingWell: How do you plan to stay healthy and keep your immune system strong this upcoming season?

Smart: I had to be hospitalized for a heart procedure shortly after we started working on [Hacks], and I didn't work for a few months. We also had to shut down briefly when I had COVID, and it made me realize how much my crew and my cast depend on me for their work, and that was a huge weight on me that I felt very strongly about. And I felt very bad about putting them through that, so I don't ever want to do that again, especially now that there's a strike and again they're out of work. So it's been a very rough time for my crew in particular and, boy, they all love us and love the show and love each other, and hopefully—knock wood—they all want to stick together and come back to the show. But I feel a huge responsibility to not ever put them through that again if I have any say about it.

Related: I'm a Dietitian & This Is the #1 Thing I'm Making To Stay Healthy During Cold & Flu Season

EatingWell: Anything you do to help unwind? Any special hobbies?

Smart: One of my ideal things is to find a few garage sales and estate sales near my house. But unfortunately I can't unwind too much right now because I'm in the middle of moving and in the middle of construction, so that's very stressful. If I really want to just hibernate and get away from the world, especially if I'm not feeling great, I'll get in bed and put on Antiques Roadshow.

EatingWell: With cooler seasons approaching, what's your favorite comfort meal for you and your family?

Smart: My kids have already said, "It's too soon to ask for it now, but make it pretty soon when it starts to cool off." It's my chili. I make really good chili, and I make a giant pot and then freeze half of it. I'm a little bit famous among my friends for my chili. And also homemade chicken soup; there's nothing like that on a cool day, and it's good for you!

EatingWell: Can you talk more about this famous chili of yours? Is it a classic recipe?

Smart: It's actually a recipe that I doctored from The Silver Palate Cookbook, it's called "Chili for a Crowd," and the recipe is basically enough for 60 people. I used to make it every year for a Christmas party. I add extra beans, three kinds of beans: black beans, kidney beans and pinto beans. I don't add dill because I don't care for it, I don't add the olives because I don't like olives. I do add corn, usually fresh corn, ideally. I add a little bit of ketchup for some sweetness. It calls for ground beef, ground turkey and ground Italian sausage, so more and more I'm trying to go more toward the turkey and less with the beef and sausage—although I'm not sure if it's quite as good.

See the Full Recipe: Chili for a Crowd

EatingWell: For times where you may feel a bit under the weather, what helps you feel better?

Smart: Definitely one of those comfort foods would, and watching Antiques Roadshow or Flea Market Flip; I've recently been addicted to that. I can't believe I was never on that show!

EatingWell: Do you have a top tip or piece of advice for how you manage diabetes?

Smart: When the pandemic started, it was a little scary. I knew that, being diabetic, I was the most vulnerable member of my family, and I obviously wanted to stay healthy for them as well as myself. Knowledge is power, and so the more I learned about it, the better I felt about it. I took the precautions that my doctor and I felt that I should, and of course I wore masks, even when some people thought it was unnecessary, because I didn't want to take the chance, it's not worth it. If you have any of the risk factors, it's just so important, which is why now we have this program called Know Plan Go. Educate yourself, do research, but also know what your particular risk factors are. Talk to your doctor about it, make a plan with your health care provider about what you can do that's preventive and what you can do if you do contract the virus. And if you do, then go: go back to your doctor and implement what you have come up with, see what's right for you, but again if you have this all planned ahead of time, then it's not scary. Just take those three steps for a great peace of mind.

Related: What You Should Know About Diabetes & the Coronavirus

EatingWell: Do you have a morning routine that you stick by?

Smart: I would be a lot better off if I did, and being a Virgo, I don't know why I'm not more organized. I can be very organized for my children, but not for myself. I do not have a routine, part of that is because of the business I'm in. There's some mornings where I have to get up at 4:30 to go to work, and there are other days occasionally where I might not work until noon. Or I might not work at all, or if it's a day that I'm not taking my child to school, I'll get up at 10 or 11 instead of 4 a.m. So it's kind of hard to have much of a routine, but that's just the nature of the business.

EatingWell: Do you prefer coffee or tea?

Smart: I just started drinking coffee and I feel like a grown-up, and I'm very excited! I've now gone to a restaurant four times—or a Starbucks, wherever—and ordered an iced decaf latte. And I feel like a grown-up because I never drank coffee. Very exciting.

EatingWell: What's your favorite form of exercise?

Smart: I recently moved to a terrific walking neighborhood, so that's been great, and I'll actually walk or walk the dog or walk to the store, or even ride my bike. So that's been wonderful.

Related: The 9 Best Walking Shoes, According to Podiatrists

EatingWell: What does "eating well" mean to you?

Smart: Balance. My mantra at my house with my kids always is, "Did you eat anything green today?" I don't really care what you ate for lunch at school, but did you eat anything green? And if you didn't, please have something green with your dinner. That's basically my only requirement, not to go nuts with the sugar and try to eat something green.

EatingWell: Where should people go to learn more about the campaign and how to prepare for a potential COVID-19 surge this fall and winter?

Smart: The program is at and it will give you all of the information you need, it makes it real simple. It takes all the worry out of it.

Up next: The #1 Snack to Eat When You're Sick, According to a Dietitian

Read the original article on Eating Well.