Jessica Myles is a married mum of two and founder of Keeping Girls In Sports, an organisation set up to keep girls and women motivated and driven in the world of Irish sports. You can find out more about Jessica and her campaign on Facebook at Keeping Girls in Sports and on Instagram at @jm_keepgirlsinsports
Where do you shop?
I usually shop in Aldi, or Supervalu.
Can you list the contents of your weekly shop?
Porridge oats 500g
Four chicken breast fillets
Custard cream biscuits
Frozen smoothie packs
Multigrain brown loaf
Describe your typical breakfast
My typical breakfast (if there’s time before the school run) is Glenisk Vanilla Protein yogurt with granola and blueberries.
Describe your typical lunch
I’m loving avocado and eggs on multigrain toast. Coffee and a chocolate treat.
I like to experiment a lot with dinners, try out new recipes, especially with two small boys. I like to make plant-based meals as I find I have lots more energy after.
I’ve been working hard to cut down on my snacking so we have lots of fruit around now. I’m so bad around biscuits – I would eat a whole pack to myself.
Is there anything you won’t eat?
I not keen on certain fish such as smoked mackerel or oysters.
What would you cook to impress someone?
I am trained as a pastry chef so if I wanted to impress someone I would definitely head for the desserts – it would be creme brûlée.
What is your guilty food pleasure?
Cadbury’s creme eggs – they are addictive.
What is your ultimate comfort food?
My ultimate comfort food is loaded up nachos (the healthier version) piled up with layers of salad, avocados, tomatoes, peppers and taco mince.
What is your favourite takeaway?
My favourite takeaway is Chinese, particularly if myself and my husband have had a busy day.
Have you tried any diet fads in the past six months?
I haven’t done any fad diets, the only thing I try to stick to is eating as healthily as I can and keeping fuelled to keep challenging myself.
What would be your Last Supper?
A spice bag, a chocolate soufflé and a berry and mango smoothie. Heavenly.
Biscuits aside, Jessica’s shopping list features some really good-quality foods for supporting health and fitness, and it’s clear that she has a keen interest in wellbeing. Good nutrition is key to getting the very most out of your fitness regime. Eat the best sources of energy to fuel a workout and complete protein to help the process of muscle regeneration and repair post-workout to benefit the most from your efforts. There’s little point in spending time and money on a gym membership, classes and even sportswear, when you’re not eating a diet rich in fresh whole foods to support your body.
Almond milk features at the top of Jessica’s shopping list, and is becoming increasingly popular in Ireland. It’s a good idea to look out for a natural and unsweetened brand, but one fortified with calcium. Porridge oats are another key food for Jessica and her family, and obviously make an idea breakfast food but can also be used to thicken up smoothies, as a base for homemade granola, muesli, protein bars and energy balls. They’re incredibly versatile, relatively inexpensive and satiating due to their fibre content. Oats are known as a complex carbohydrate, meaning that they break down more slowly than simple carbs and release their energy levels gradually to help maintain more steady blood sugar level. This can help to reduce the likelihood of a mid-morning energy crash and can even support a more balanced mood.
Sweet potatoes are another superb complex carb to provide energy for an active lifestyle, and feature in Jessica’s shop along with vegetables including broccoli and courgettes. It’s great to see that she chooses fibre-rich multigrain brown bread over regular white versions, and chicken breast are her main source complete protein. This means that it contains the full set of essential amino acids needed by your body each day for normal functions. Other good sources of complete protein include eggs, fish, nuts, beans, lentils and tofu.
Frozen smoothie packs are a really useful way to gather the ingredients needed for quick and healthy smoothies, perfect for whizzing up on a busy morning. Drinking a smoothie packed with fruit and veggies first thing can help to boost energy levels and provide your body with a huge range of important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
For breakfast, Jessica usually goes for yoghurt with granola and blueberries. This can be super start to the day, providing a balance of nutrients and plenty of antioxidants from the blueberries. Choosing an unsweetened Greek style yoghurt would help to further boost Jessica’s protein intake, and it’s a good idea to choose unsweetened granola brands too. Or even make your own at home using oats, coconut flakes and toasted nuts and seeds with a little honey or maple syrup for sweetness.
Jessica’s lunch is generally avocado and eggs on multigrain toast followed by coffee and chocolate. For the most part, this makes a healthy, simple and well-balanced meal as avocado is a wonderful source of healthy fats and a wide range of nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, iron, copper and vitamins K, E, C, A and many B vitamins too. Along with protein-rich eggs, avocados make a satisfying meal on fibre-rich toast. While I certainly encourage the odd treat to help you stay focused on a healthy lifestyle, it’s best not to indulge in chocolate everyday as it tends to be rich in refined sugar. Jessica may want to enjoy a square or two of high cacao content dark chocolate with her coffee after lunch instead.
For dinner, Jessica tends to focus on making healthy plant-based meals. Curries, soups, stews and trays of roast vegetables all make versatile, inexpensive evening meals for the family and leftovers can be enjoyed for lunch the following day. Chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds all help to boost the nutrition content of vegetable dishes.
Jessica eats a well-balanced diet based mostly on fresh whole foods and designed to best support her busy life as an active, working mum. She admits that her downfall tends to be snacking on biscuits and chocolate, so it would help for her to focus on stocking up on healthy snacks and clearing the cupboards of processed and sugary foods. Well done Jessica.