Alex Keville is the senior director and stylist at Alan Keville for Hair salon at Powerscourt Centre Dublin
Where do you shop?
I usually do a small weekly shop in my local Tesco in Dún Laoghaire on a Sunday. During the week, I work in town from my salon Alan Keville for Hair in the Powerscourt Centre, so I often pop into Marks and Spencer on Grafton St on the way home for bits and pieces as it is handier sometimes.
Can you list the contents of your weekly shop?
I’m not organised enough to decide what I want to eat/cook all week so I usually just decide on the night. But I do have to make my 4 year old daughter’s lunch each day and I can always make last minute meals and healthy snacks with these staples:
- Chia seed Bread
- Soya milk
- Mixed veg
- Porridge oats
- High 8 Muesli
Describe your typical breakfast:
I try to stay healthy so it’s usually muesli or porridge which keeps me going until lunchtime.
Describe your typical lunch;
Usually a salad or wrap from Chopped, which I grab after the lunchtime rush.
My specialty is “Messy eggs” (wilted spinach and eggs all scrambled).
I am partial to a packet of salt and vinegar O’Donnell crisps. Naughty but nice!
Is there anything you won’t eat?
I don’t eat cheese or tomatoes. In a way I am glad, as no cheese keeps the calories at bay!
What would you cook to impress someone?
I have to say I make a mean omelette (more eggs!). I am pleased to say I nailed the Christmas dinner this year which I cooked for the first time, so maybe I might do a roast from now on!
What is your guilty food pleasure?
I’m from Northern England so I’m partial to a nice pie!
What is your ultimate comfort food?
I love chips, but I do try and avoid ordering them. Sadly, I end up nicking them off other people like my husband Alan’s plate! If I am feeling indulgent I would order my own portion.
What is your favourite takeaway?
Favourite takeaway is a Thai green curry from Mao. It’s dangerously close to my house!
Have you tried any diet fads in the past six months?
I don’t do fad diets. I was very disciplined last year before myself and Alan got married, so this year I have been a bit more relaxed and have allowed myself more snacks.
What would be your Death Row dinner or Last Supper?
Death row meal would have to be a hot meat and potato pie with brown sauce. Yum!
It’s great to see that Alex buys lots of fresh food each week rather than relying on processed snacks, packaged sandwiches and other convenience foods to get her family through a busy week. It’s super to spot plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables in her shopping basket, including bananas, grapes, pears and mixed vegetables. I would also encourage Alex to include avocado in her shop as they’re a valuable source of heart-healthy fats, essential minerals, B vitamins to support energy levels, vitamins C, A, K and E, plus plenty of fibre to support normal digestive health. They’re an all-round superstar food, but as they can be high in calories, it’s best for most people to enjoy no more than half an avocado a day.
It’s great to see spinach crop up in her shopping basket and typical evening meal, as leafy greens like spinach and kale are especially beneficial for health because they’re rich in essential minerals, phytonutrients and vitamins to boost energy and support immune system health. I try to eat greens with each meal, and it’s simple to throw a handful of spinach into a morning smoothie, order a filling salad at lunchtime and include steamed greens with your evening meal. Whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and pulses make excellent store cupboard foods as they’re rich in key nutrients and can help to form the basis of healthy, balanced meals, particularly if you have to make packed lunches.
Alex enjoys a wholesome breakfast of porridge or muesli, both of which are rich in fibre to support a healthy digestion system, keep you feeling full and maintain steady blood sugar levels. Oats are a slow-release complex carb, which means that they don’t cause a quick spike in your blood sugar levels. Instead, they release their energy more gradually for a longer and more sustained energy boost. Adding nuts and seeds to porridge would provide plenty of plant-based fatty acids for supporting heart, brain, joint and skin health, and especially with the addition of hemp, flax and chia seeds as they’re a richer source of omega-3. These healthy sources of fat, which also includes coconut oil and oily fish, can help to prevent dry skin, boost concentration levels and memory, and protect joints too. There’s no need to be scared of dietary fat once portion sizes are sensible. However, if you’re trying to gain weight, then try increasing daily portions of healthy fat.
Berries make a super addition to breakfast too, as they’re naturally low in sugar yet rich in antioxidants. Our body cells are vulnerable to everyday wear and tear from normal activities, pollution, cigarette smoke and many other factors, but the antioxidants found in various whole foods help to counteract the damaging effects of free radicals. Berries are particularly rich in protective antioxidants, which is why I suggest eating at least a handful each day.
Lunch for Alex tends to be a salad or wrap, both of which can make a simple, healthy and satiating lunch when you focus on including a source of protein, such as fish, poultry, eggs or hummus, plus lots of vegetables. It’s always a good idea to choose a wholegrain or brown wrap for the extra boost of fibre. Alex usually makes scrambled eggs with spinach as a quick and simple evening meal, which offers plenty of fibre, protein and key vitamins and minerals including A, C, K, iron,calcium and magnesium. Eggs are an excellent source of complete protein and it’s a really good idea to eat protein with every meal and snack, with breakfast also being a particularly important time of the day to fill up on an amino acid rich food.
Protein helps to keep you feeling full for longer, can stabilise blood sugar levels to prevent energy high and lows, and our bodies need the complete set of essential amino acids each day for optimal function. They’re responsible for producing hormones, enzymes and antibodies as well as helping to repair muscle fibres post-exercise, plus so much more. Alex avoids faddy diets and while she enjoys the occasional few chips or packet of crisps, her overall diet is well-balanced with key micro and macro-nutrients, low in processed foods, and rich in fibre. Well done Alex.