Tuesday 21 May 2019

What I Eat In A Day: Rose of Tralee Elysha Brennan

Elysha Brennan said it was a rollercoaster experience following her cancer diagnosis. Photo: Frank McGrath
Elysha Brennan said it was a rollercoaster experience following her cancer diagnosis. Photo: Frank McGrath
Rosanna Davison
Rose of Tralee presenter Dáithí Ó Sé and the current Rose of Tralee Elysha Brennan officially unveil Tipperary Crystal as the new sponsor of the festival. Photo: Domnick Walsh
Meath Rose Elysha Brennan during the launch of the RTE Rose of Tralee, at RTE
Former Miss World Rosanna Davison signing copies of her new book ‘Eat Yourself Beautiful’ at Eason Bookstore in Dundrum Shopping Centre. Photo: John Dardis
On duty: Dáithí on stage with 2015 winning Rose Elysha Brennan. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The current Rose of Tralee shares the contents of her fridge while nutritional therapist Rosanna Davison gives her verdict on just how healthy Elysha Brennan’s daily diet is...

Fridge weekly shop: Whole wheat pasta, Whole wheat bread, Breast of chicken, Bananas, Apples, Peanut butter, Nutella, Rice cakes, Spinach, Tinned tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, onions, green beans, tea bags, milk, porridge and honey

Where do you shop?

M&S for treats and my local Tesco too.

Describe your typical breakfast?

Now it’s organic crunchy peanut butter and a mashed banana on wholewheat toast. And porridge during the winter with banana and honey.

... typical lunch?

I’m so bad if I’m on the road, it’ll always be grab and go. I try to always bring fruit in the car, like mango, pineapple, banana etc. I’ll grab a wrap too with maybe some tuna, lettuce & tomato.

... typical dinner?

I am a carb addict, so pasta (wholewheat or gluten-free)is my go to for a quick and easy dinner. I love to make a tomato and chilli based sauce and add lots of fresh veggies like broccoli, green beans and carrots and maybe grill some chicken too.

... typical daily snacks?

I wouldn’t have a huge sweet tooth, so my snacks would definitely be fruit and maybe mixed nuts. M&S do great nuts (they also do gorgeous chocolate-chip cookies.

Is there anything you won’t eat?

Calamari. The texture makes me feel violently ill. I’m not a huge oyster or mussels fan. Mushrooms also don’t do it for me — again the texture is so unsettling!

What would you cook to impress someone?

The first time I cooked for my boyfriend I made a Thai red curry. It’s my signature dish. I try to make the paste myself and add lots of marinated chicken and

Chinese veggies, with wholegrain rice.

Guilty food pleasure?

Anything with cheese and carbs. Pizza is my go-to comfort food or a big bowel or pasta sprinkled with cheese! I also love tuna pasta bake (with cheese would you believe).

Food hangover cure?

A deli crispy brown roll with chicken, cheese and coleslaw. Complete with a can of Diet Coke, Treble Crunch crisps and a Snickers bar. Currently drooling.

Takeaway order?

A thin-crust pizza with pepperoni, pineapple, red onion and jalapeños. Extra garlic dip too please...


Rosanna Davison

It's fantastic to see that Elysha is such a foodie and enjoys eating a really wide range of foods and different cuisines. She’s obviously a very competent cook with Thai red curry and marinated chicken amongst her signature dishes. Cooking can be a wonderful stress reliever, and a great way to experiment with different flavours, herbs, spices and recipes.

Elysha’s fridge contains plenty of fresh, whole foods, including loads of vegetables, nut butter and high-fibre pasta, bread and porridge oats. These foods are amongst the key components of a balanced meal, and it’s clear that Elysha knows which foods help to really boost and sustain her energy levels and keep her feeling full for longer.

Elysha opts for a nutritious and well-balanced breakfast of banana and organic peanut butter on wholewheat toast. This contains a super combination of complex carbs, protein and plenty of fibre. Bananas are a good food to eat in the morning and especially pre-exercise, as they provide a quick boost of energy. They’re also a valuable source of vitamin B6. This is one of the co-factors in producing your ‘happy’ neurotransmitter, serotonin, so bananas can help to boost your mood for the day.

Elysha snacks on vitamin-rich fruit, which is a brilliant habit to get into and fruit helps to contribute to good hydration levels throughout the day. She tends to choose a balanced lunch of tuna, lettuce and tomato, providing her with lean protein and raw, colourful vegetables.

Choosing a wholewheat wrap would boost her fibre levels.

Elysha’s dinner is usually based on a carbohydrate-rich food, such as pasta, with plenty of lean protein and vegetables. This is another well-balanced meal based on whole foods, and especially as she opts for wholewheat versions. She even makes her own tomato-based sauces, which means she avoids shop-bought versions, which can often be high in added salt and sugar.

Her snacking habits are excellent too, with mixed nuts a top choice. Nuts are one of the most filling snacks, rich in fibre and protein, and I always encourage people to keep a small bag of raw almonds or walnuts in their bag or car for snacking on. It’s best to avoid salted nuts or any roasted in vegetable oil, and stick to about a handful a day for sensible portion control.

Elysha prefers pizza, cheese and chicken rolls and other savoury indulgence foods over very sugary foods. Chocolate, biscuits and sweets can be especially addictive and play havoc with your blood sugar levels, mood, weight, appetite control and even your sleep.

Elysha’s diet is well-balanced, rich in fibre, healthy fat, whole foods, fruit and vegetables, so she deserves to thoroughly enjoy her occasional indulgence foods. Achieving a balance that suits you and your routine is key to living a healthy, enjoyable lifestyle.


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