Want to know what bestselling author Cathy Kelly keeps in her fridge and the treats she loves to snack on?
Here is Cathy’s ‘My Day on a Plate’….
List contents of fridge/weekly food shop…Unfortunately, I spend far too long nipping in and out of the shop because we run out of bits and bobs for boys’ lunches, and them suddenly, we have no milk, or shampoo, so will go for fridge.
Hummus, tzatziki, green pesto from Happy Pear, red pesto, feta cheese and all sorts of ordinary cheese, always including parmesan or Grand Padano (My new recipe is oven chips made with Maris Pipers, non-peeled, olive oil, and then when they come out of the oven, grate parmesan on them. Brilliant and so quick.) Fresh, non-concentrate orange juice, every green veggie known to man – kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, plus ginger, limes and beetroot for our morning juices. John makes them in a non-centrifugal juicer and I have it without beetroot, which I have always loathed.
Sometimes apple and elderflower drink, which I love but try to drink rarely because of the sugar.
Yogurts, peanut butter, almond butter, grapes, tomatoes, rocket, lettuce, sometimes basil in my long-running love of basil but inability to ever grow it.
Depending on what’s for dinner, chicken and/or fish. I was vegetarian for many years and I have found that a very clean style of eating suits my metabolism, so I mainly get my proteins from eggs, hummus, feta, fish and nuts.
Milk of all varieties, garlic mayonnaise, gluten-free soy sauce for stir fries as John is a coeliac. Dairygold and Flora Pro Activ.
And then all the things in the door of the fridge, like mustard, relishes, my homemade salad dressing – balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper – I just lash it all into an old jam jar and shake. I am one of those cooks who adds bits in, tastes, then adds another bit.
Where do you shop? In every grocery shop there is, including Aldi and Lidl, – I have to be very careful as I am impulsive and even the angle-grinders look fascinating, though – and also in M & S foodhall because when I am finishing a book, there are days when I know I will be so tight for time that being able to bung something into the oven straight from the freezer is a Godsend.
I keep things like oven chips, fresh pasta, frozen veggies and the new gluten-free sweet potato fries I have discovered. I could eat a whole pack.
Describe your daily diet under these headings…
Typical breakfast? Sometimes porridge, sometimes a muesli – a nutty one and two filter coffees: one first thing at about 6.15am, and then one at 7am.
Typical lunch? Oatcakes with nut butters or hard boiled eggs and a little salad. I know this sounds annoying and as if I am making it up but this works for me. Honestly, this is how I eat. Rich food kills me. I eat like a Buddhist nun. Except they don’t have Twixes, perhaps?
Typical dinner? Mainly rice, fish/feta salad and vegetables. I have tried everything with quinoa but cannot do anything with it. Black quinoa, quinoa picked by fairies…it all tastes of socks when I make it.
Typical daily snacks? Rice cakes with chocolate, and I have taught myself to eat dark chocolate, and now am in love with dark chocolate with orange. And you honestly can’t eat the whole pack the way you can with ordinary chocolate. I sometimes get a mad craving for chocolate biscuits, so always have something like that around. Also, I do love a nice fat pear and vanilla scone from the Avoca in Powerscourt House up the road from me, and my emergency-in-the-garage, I-am-hungry snack is a Twix. So far, I have never given in and bought the big one…
Is there anything you won’t eat? Beetroot and liquorice. Double yuck. I can’t eat cream either as it has an acidic affect on me. I never use it to cook, either.
What would you cook to impress someone? No. I never did. I like cooking for my family but the idea of a dinner party makes me want to lie down. For dinners, I make reservations. I love cooking for my family but checking if the boeuf en croute is done…? Life is too short for that carry on.
Guilty food pleasure? Twix. Coffee with sugar in it.
Takeaway order? We rarely do take-aways as we live on a road that nobody can find except for Dominos. Yay! So I order that sometimes but not for me. That said, I do adore Indian food.
Favourite restaurant? Oooh, tricky one. As a family, we go to two restaurants: both with great food and atmosphere and teenager-friendly. Café 31 in Cabinteely, which has the most divine fish and gluten-free desserts, and is run by friends of ours. We have had so many great meals there. And Platform in Bray, which is so funky and cool and has a bathroom like a wardrobe.
It’s really good to see that while Cathy enjoys and appreciates her food, she knows exactly what suits her body and what doesn’t. I really believe that one of the secrets to feeling and looking your best from the inside out, is to listen to your body and understand what type of food, frequency and size of meals all help to boost your energy levels and help to ward off illness. We’re all biochemically unique individuals, and one type of eating plan doesn’t suit everybody. Like me, Cathy has realised that her body does better without meat, so she chooses vegetarian protein sources instead.
Cathy’s fridge contains a wonderful range of fresh fruit and vegetables, including grapes, tomatoes, citrus fruits, cucumber, rocket, lettuce and plentiful greens. Enjoying a wide selection of colourful fruit and veggies each day is one of the most powerful ways to protect your body cells from everyday wear and tear, plus they help to boost energy levels and support your immune system health. Recent statistics suggest that the majority of Irish adults may not be eating their recommended 5-a-day, but eating fruit and vegetables needn’t be a chore. It’s easy to snack on berries and grapes, and making smoothies or juices to start the day is a great way of filling your body with nutrients first thing in the morning.
Many people are still afraid of eating fat, but healthy sources of fat are incredibly important for healthy and normal brain function, lubricated joints, smooth skin and many other functions. Cathy eats nuts, almond and peanut butter and hummus regularly, which all help. Other good sources of omega-3 fat include walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds.
For breakfast, Cathy eats a high-fibre porridge or muesli with nuts, plus a couple of coffees. Her food choice should really help to keep her feeling full until lunchtime and maintain stable blood sugar levels, so that her energy doesn’t crash and leave her tempted to reach for a sugary snack. My advice for coffee lovers is always to ensure you’re well hydrated, and a mug of warm water with lemon helps.
Cathy’s lunch is light and healthy, just as she likes it. Oat cakes are a good high-fibre choices, and paired with nut butter or eggs will raise the meal’s protein content. Adding salad or other greens to each meal as Cathy does, is a good way to consistently benefit from the many nutrients found in green veg.
For dinner, Cathy again enjoys light and healthy food, and ensures she eats carbs, protein and vegetables in the one meal. Brown or wild rice is a better choice than white rice, and sweet potato is another healthy complex carbohydrate option.
While Cathy does have a sweet tooth and occasionally gives into her cravings for Twix bars and biscuits, she tries to snack on dark chocolate rice cakes instead. These are a lower-calorie option, and while they still should be viewed as a treat, research suggests that the antioxidants in dark chocolate have protective health benefits.
Overall, Cathy’s diet is well-balanced, high in whole foods and low in processed foods. She eats to suit her body and treats from time to time won’t really impact her health. I would suggest that she includes more sources of omega-3 fat in her diet from oily fish or nuts and seeds rich in omega-3, just to help balance out her intake of essential fats.
Well done Cathy!