I’m a dietitian. This is what I eat in a day
7am: get up, have breakfast
After I’ve told a few children to get ready, I start my morning with green tea. Breakfast is around 8am and usually a bowl of porridge with milk, chopped banana, cinnamon, peanut butter and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. I’m wheat-intolerant so oats help balance my blood sugars, which means I don’t get hungry for longer, and they’ve also got good, soluble fibre in them, which is great for our digestive system. I always want to find ways to add extra plants to my diet, which is why I add the seeds, and having that banana means I’m getting a prebiotic which, again, is good for my gut.
Studies show breakfast is key for children; it helps their cognitive function. We’ve always had a rule with my children that they should have a wholegrain cereal (Weetabix, oats, Shredded Wheat), and then they can add some toppings: a little sweet cereal like Rice Krispies, and fruit such as berries or banana.
8.30am: off to school, then work
I go on the school run at 8.30am, then I’m straight into work at 9am, either doing consultations or teaching pilates. Generally, I’ll have a morning snack, something quick like a protein bar with dried fruit and seeds, which keeps me fuller and more satisfied than a couple of biscuits. I don’t like to have more than three cups of caffeinated tea in a day, it affects my pelvic floor and can upset some people’s gut. If I want more, I’ll switch to something herbal.
Recently, this has been homemade soup with oatcakes or wheat-free bread. I air-fry or roast butternut squash, add things such as carrots, tomatoes, homemade chicken stock, spices (cumin, coriander, turmeric), ginger and garlic, then blitz it all up. Otherwise, lunch might be rye bread with avocado, chopped cherry tomatoes and a little cheese, or roasted vegetables with a grain. I try and get a couple of portions of fruit and vegetables in here, so having vegetables roasted in advance or soup that I can heat up is perfect. Some research suggests we should have 30 different types of plants in our week, but this can include things like nuts, seeds and some grains. I would encourage people to go for seven [portions of] vegetables a day. And consistency is key; the gut likes us to have that routine, in terms of vegetables, fibre, fluid and, of course, movement.
I teach pilates most evenings, and I come out of class a slightly nicer person
Afternoon: dark chocolate, back to work, then pick-up
I often have a few squares of dark chocolate after lunch, which gives that little sweet hit and moment of pleasure. Then, I’m normally in and out of clinic, doing paperwork, or possibly a one-to-one pilates session. I tend to get hungry towards the school run, so I will grab a piece of fruit on my way out.
5.30pm: dinner, pilates and pudding
We all eat together around 5.30pm. Spaghetti bolognese with plant mince is one of our go-tos – you can get so many vegetables into it – or a stir-fry with half chicken and half tofu or kidney beans. Again, it’s beneficial to be eating a variety of plants across the week, so I try to get two portions per person on the plate. We’ll often do homemade pizzas, too, where I’ll make the sauce and dough, using brown bread or buckwheat flour for extra fibre.
I teach pilates most evenings, and I come out of class a slightly nicer person. I think pilates can help with digestion; the breathing used is known to be beneficial for releasing tensions that we can be holding on to in all areas of the body. I come in from my studio around 8.30pm and, once the children are in bed, I’ll have fruit with mango Greek yoghurt, because of the calcium and beneficial bacteria, which is good for my gut health. I’ll add almonds as they’re another plant, but also because they’re giving me protein and fibre, and that’s going to keep me going overnight.
I’m not a particularly good sleeper, and if I eat too late or have too heavy a meal that has an impact because the body is still actively digesting. I tend not to eat after 9.30pm, and I always have water next to my bed. I drink four to six pints a day; staying hydrated helps your digestive health, making sure that everything gets pushed around the system and forms a stool. We want to make sure we’ve got the fibre, but also the fluid.
• Priya Tew is a dietitian, pilates teacher and author of The Complete Low FODMAP Diet Plan