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‘Rizzoli’ star Sasha Alexander fights the urge to pick from kids’ plates

BY CINDY PEARLMAN | FOR THE SUN-TIMES

The doctor is in. But can she take her own medicine?

Sasha Alexander, who plays Dr. Maura Isles on the hit series “Rizzoli & Isles,” says that when it comes to health she’s like any other working mother.

“I’m the queen picker and a foodie — not a great combination,” says the 41-year-old beauty and Los Angeles native.

What happens when her 8-year-old daughter, Lucia, leaves a little extra mac & cheese on the plate? Or when 4-year-old son, Leonardo, doesn’t want his crusts?

Pick, pick, pick, pick….

“I’ll pick off their plates, which is my huge weakness and a great way to add several hundred calories to your day. I’m loosey-goosey about it like any other mom,” Alexander says. “If you count up how much I pick, it’s a lot.

Sasha Alexander attends a premiere with her daughter, Lucia; her mother-in-law, screen legend Sophia Loren, and her husband, Edoardo Ponti. | GETTY IMAGES

Sasha Alexander attends a premiere with her daughter, Lucia; her mother-in-law, screen legend Sophia Loren, and her husband, Edoardo Ponti. | Getty Images

“I grew up in one of those homes where you were taught not to waste food. In fact, I think I have an allergy to wasting food,” she says with a laugh. “I think the key for any mom is to watch what you’re doing with your hands and don’t allow your mouth to have a mind of its own.”

What can moms do to be healthier?

“I’ll look at those bread crusts now and try to ask myself, ‘Why am I even holding these things?’” she says. “It’s all about discipline.”

She also has her appearance in high-def to worry about, with the new season of her show debuting Feb. 17 on TNT.

“It’s all about personal growth for the women,” says Alexander, who stars with Angie Harmon in the detective series. “The ladies are moving forward while still having the medical bumping up against the criminal investigation.”

Staying fit to mix motherhood with TV detective work isn’t easy. “I’ve done a lot of things over the past year knowing that I wanted to step up my fitness a bit,” she says. “The biggest help for me was doing the Tracy Anderson Method. It’s really good because her DVDs combine dance with a lot of muscular and structural work — and you sweat a lot!”

Her other stay-healthy and lean tips:

• Add yoga to your program: “I feel that we live such a busy life and we’re not able to breathe,” says Alexander. “Yoga helps with everything. If we keep our minds in balance, we keep our lives in balance.”

• Sneak in an extra workout: “I do Tracy Anderson, but I still love to dance. Go out dancing. It’s great cardio and gives you so much energy.”

• Consider eating for your blood type: “My blood type indicates I should eat mostly protein and veggies. I lose energy when I eat a lot of carbs. I love carbs, but I just don’t feel good after eating them.”

• Don’t deny yourself: “I love food,” Alexander says. “I eat clean all week long, but I do give myself a free day on the weekends to have a meal that’s fun, and I eat it with my kids. I don’t just do pizza. I love cooking, and this is when I try out new things. I’ll eat a couple of bites of dessert.”

• When you don’t want to work out, remember why you work out: “I want to feel good to play with my kids. I don’t want to feel tired. When I remind myself that is the goal, then it becomes more important.”

• Experience life: Alexander experienced Chicago filming an upcoming arc on “Shameless.” “We shot last winter doing scenes where it was supposed to be summer. There I was with snot running down my nose trying to do a romantic scene.” Was it a love scene? “Probably,” she laughs. “It’s called ‘Shameless.’ ”

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