I was interviewed by Rosanna Davison for her nutrition column in The Heard “My Day on a Plate” which was published 3/1/17. You can read the article in full below or on Rosanna’s website here.
Justine King (29) is a fashion stylist and writer based in Dublin.
Where do you shop?
I try to shop in Aldi as I find their fruit and vegetables the best of the supermarkets and far more cost effective than others. But there is a SuperValu beside my house so if I’m lazy that’s where I’ll shop.
Can you list the contents of your weekly shop?
Eggs, almond milk, turkey mince, six peppers, onions, garlic, aubergine, mushrooms, courgette, bananas, chicken fillets, one can coconut milk, chillies, fresh ginger, two avocados, one packet of rashers, half a wholemeal sliced pan.
Describe your typical breakfast
I start with hot water and lemon every morning then I always have three eggs, scrambled with unsweetened almond milk, salt and pepper during the week. On weekends when I’m generally hungover I’ll add toast, avocado with feta and usually rashers.
Describe your typical lunch
If I’m out and about during the day I’ll pick up a salad, usually from Chopped, Sprout or Staple Foods. Typically I’ll go for a chicken or falafel- based salad with greens and some other goodness thrown in. I hate my own homemade salads so if I’m eating lunch at home it’s usually leftovers from dinner the night before.
I’m definitely a one pot wonder in the kitchen, in that I’ll make a big turkey mince chilli, a chicken curry or a lean beef Bolognese that will last a few meals and don’t require lots of preparation in making sides to accompany them. I don’t really eat rice or pasta with the meals, I generally find a bowl of hot pot fills me enough on it’s own. On the weekends I love eating out, usually steak or sushi but I’m not really fussy ‒ I love most cuisines.
I have become much better with snacking. I used to be terrible for it! I try to stick to bananas and nuts but I’m definitely partial to chocolate and when I get that craving nothing else will satisfy it!
Is there anything you won’t eat?
Smoked salmon, olives and tinned tuna! I really want to enjoy all three of those things the way the rest of the world seem to but I just can’t stomach them.
What would you cook to impress someone?
I think my red chicken curry is pretty impressive and I’d serve it on brown rice. If I was pulling out all the stops I’d do a few sides ‒ banana and coconut with natural yoghurt, mango chutney and garlic naan, although admittedly the latter would be shop bought. If I was really impressing someone I’d make them homemade sushi but that takes so much effort it would want to be a super special occasion.
What is your guilty food pleasure?
Chocolate, cheese, ice-cream and pizza.
What is your ultimate comfort food?
My mother’s mashed potato. It reminds me of being a child. I probably only taste it on Christmas day nowadays and have no doubt there’s a full block of Kerrygold butter in it but it’s delicious. When I was sick as a child I’d eat a bowl of it on it’s own.
What is your favourite takeaway?
Indian from the Bombay Pantry. I get the New Delhi Housewives Choice curry with chillies, pilau rice and garlic naan. Completely indulgent and I try to eat it sparingly but it’s worth every bite ‒ delicious!
Have you tried any diet fads?
In the past six years I’ve done everything from Weight Watchers to juicing but I think I’ve finally found a balance that really suits me in that I eat generally low carb and train during the week then allow myself the occasional treat. It doesn’t feel like a diet and I don’t crave the foods I used to as much. And wine. I’ve always made room for wine.
What would be your Last Supper?
I would say a delicious fillet steak, chunky chips and pepper sauce followed by some sort of chocolate fudge sundae.
Justine’s weekly shop is very much based on fresh whole foods, with plenty of vegetables and lean protein. Bananas are the only type of fruit that features, so I would encourage Justine to add in a selection of fresh or frozen berries as they’re incredibly rich in antioxidants. Bought fresh, they make a great snack or topping for porridge, and frozen they’re a great addition to smoothies.
Greens including baby spinach and kale make another ideal food to add to a quick, easy and nutritious smoothie, so leafy vegetables are another inclusion I would suggest for Justine’s shopping list.
I love to see that Justine buys ginger, garlic and chillies regularly, as they’re considered to boast some useful health benefits. Garlic is known to be antibacterial and anti-fungal, while ginger helps to stimulate blood flow and supports digestive health, and chillies contain a substance called capsaicin, which is thought to be anti-inflammatory. They also help to add plenty of flavour to dishes without the need to add in excess oil, butter or salt.
It’s a great idea to begin the day with warm water and lemon, as Justine does, because it helps to hydrate your system and support digestive health. Adding some fresh chopped ginger would further boost its health benefits. For breakfast, Justine generally eats scrambled eggs made with almond milk. This is a high-protein breakfast, which should help to keep her feeling full all morning. It’s important to eat protein with every meal and snack, as it supplies your body with a constant stream of amino acids, necessary for building and repairing the body. However, eggs and other animal protein foods don’t contain fibre, which is necessary to support digestive health. Justine may want to add some spinach, tomato or mushrooms to her breakfast to boost its fibre while keeping carbs relatively low.
Justine’s lunch is usually a healthy salad, with protein in the form of chicken or chickpeas. This is an excellent choice, as a hearty salad is generally filling enough to keep you satisfied until dinnertime, yet light enough so it doesn’t weigh you down during the afternoon. It’s a good idea to include greens with every meal, and limiting oily dressings helps to keep the calories down.
For dinner, Justine usually opts for a hearty chilli, curry or bolognese. These types of dishes work well for leftovers, and you can really control how much oil and salt goes into them when you make them at home. My advice is to add a big salad or some steamed greens on the side.
Justine’s snacks include healthy bananas, nuts and the occasional piece of chocolate. Dark chocolate is generally a better choice, as it’s lower in sugar and higher in beneficial antioxidants. But apart from the odd sugary indulgence foods, Justine’s diet is low in refined sugar and rich in healthy, wholesome, fresh foods. Being conscious of eating plenty of high-fibre foods and green veggies each day would help to boost it even further. Well done Justine