Sunday 18 March 2018

What I eat in a day: 'Operation Transformation' dietitian's food diary

From whipping the contestants on the hit show into shape, to eating her own breakfast on the go, mum-of-one Aoife Hearne, who is expecting her second child, gives our reporter the lowdown

Three square meals: Aoife Hearne says she eats scrambled eggs for breakfast most days, and always leaves room for a bit of chocolate
Three square meals: Aoife Hearne says she eats scrambled eggs for breakfast most days, and always leaves room for a bit of chocolate
Aoife always leaves room for some chocolate
Aoife has some scrambled eggs on toast at the weekend.

Sasha Brady

Waterford woman Aoife Hearne is the dietitian on Operation Transformation, so it's fair to say she knows a thing or two about eating well.

While Aoife understands the importance of eating well better than most, she admits her hectic schedule forces her to make some quick decisions.

When it comes to breakfast, the 36-year-old, who is currently expecting her second child, admits she's "very boring".

"It's usually Weetabix and milk and a cup of tea, either with breakfast or on-the-go. On weekends it's scrambled eggs with wholegrain toast."

While there's plenty of debate about how many meals people should eat per day, Aoife sticks to the traditional guideline of three meals per day and fuels with two or three snacks.

"I'm one of those people who need to eat every two to three hours or I get 'hangry'," she admits.

Lunch decisions are based on where she finds herself on a particular day and is usually "brown bread toasted sandwich with ham/turkey, cheese and tomato and maybe a small bowl of soup".

However, while breakfast and lunch are simple affairs, Aoife makes sure to prepare her meals on a Sunday to save time for the week ahead as she admits she's "not great at throwing a meal together".

"I love to cook. Although it is more challenging this time of year when I'm on-the-go a lot. I do a little bit of mix and match. I use Sunday as my prep day - I plan the meals for the week and do the grocery shopping.

"Most Sundays I will prepare Monday night's meal - it makes the start of the week a little easier! I also peel and chop vegetables and leave them in a zip-lock container in the fridge for the meals the rest of the week too."

So what's a regular ingredient on the dinner menu?

"Potatoes are a real comfort food for me, so we tend to have potatoes a lot."

With a background in athletics, Aoife understands the importance of working out. However, she admits her last pregnancy turned her exercise routine upside down.

"I had SPD (pelvic girdle pain) and I am keen to avoid that coming back as bad as it was the last time - by the end I was walking around like a 90-year-old woman.

"In my old life I would have gone for two or three five-kilometre walks, Pilates once a week and maybe a five-kilometre run. I'm really looking forward to getting back to that again sometime soon. I live in hope.

"I'm not a big fan of gyms - I much prefer to get out for a walk or a run."

When it comes to dining out, Aoife doesn't stick to a usual order but finds it hard to resist goat's cheese when she sees it on the menu in her local Waterford restaurants.

The nutrition expert also reveals that she doesn't believe in cheat days and finds it hard to resist chocolate.

"If I am 100pc honest, I probably have chocolate every day of my life. I do keep it to small portions though, so a treat-size bar for example. I'm a certified chocaholic.

"I don't really believe in treat days - I eat what I feel like eating but stop eating when I'm full. So, generally I will always leave something behind me on my plate.

"Of course the past two years I probably haven't been exactly following that since I've been either pregnant or breastfeeding, so I am hungry a lot."

Aoife also admits that she doesn't take diet supplements apart from a pregnancy multivitamin with vitamin D and iron supplement.

And the age-old question: how much water does the dietitian drink each day?

"Maybe one or two litres of water per day. I find sparkling water spices things up a little so that helps."

Irish Independent

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