‘I don’t like to drink water unless it’s got alcohol in it’

My Daily Diet: Hanif Kureishi, the British playwright, screenwriter, filmmaker and novelist on coffee, vodka and Italian food

Hanif Kureishi: “The most tempting thing for a writer is snacks.”Photograph:David Levenson/Getty Images

Hanif Kureishi: “The most tempting thing for a writer is snacks.”Photograph:David Levenson/Getty Images

 

6am I’d like to loll in bed until noon like a teenager but I wake up too early, and make strong black Bolivian coffee, and shuffle into my study where I read and write for a few hours.

9am I’ll bring my girlfriend, Isabella, her coffee in bed and I’ll have a bowl of granola with cashew milk. I drink coffee all morning. I can’t sit at my desk and write without something hot to sip so I’ll switch over to peppermint and liquorice herbal tea later. Being a writer involves lots of admin so I’ll be checking emails, organising interviews, talking to agents. I’ll read the papers and get some more writing done.

Midday I head out for a stroll in the park and pop to the supermarket.

1pm Isabella and myself will have a small, but tasty, lunch. A smoked salmon salad and some of this incredible tinned green curry soup that I recently discovered in my local Thai shop.

2pm I’ll take a 40 minute nap and then I might have a meeting with a producer. I’m a creative writing professor so the students will come over and I’ll give them a barking. I’m currently writing a TV show with my 25 year-old son Sachin so we will sit down and write together.

4pm The most tempting thing for a writer is snacks. You get quite nibbly. You are in terrible danger of getting bored ,or needing an idea, and wandering into the kitchen looking for distraction. I’m aware of this risk and will have baby tomatoes and grapes on hand.

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7pm It’s vodka time. I don’t like to drink water unless it’s got alcohol in it.

8.30pm My girlfriend is Italian, and also works from home, so she will cook up a delicious spaghetti bolognese. We will have peas on the side and drink some wine. Isabella smuggles back large suitcases of tomato passata and all things Italian when she goes for a visit – she thinks we don’t have food in the UK.

11.30pm If we are not going out to the theatre or a movie we relax by watching a TV show or a documentary. I’d love to be able to snooze for a solid 10 hours but I’ll be wide awake early regardless of how many glasses of wine we have enjoyed.

In conversation with Mary McCarthy.

The Verdict

Dr Conor Kerley Dietetics consultant, researcher and lecturer at University college Dublin and Technological University Dublin.

Breakfast No problem with unsweetened coffee. Some bought granolas are high in added sugar and fat. Plant milks are popular right now but best to opt for a fortified one with calcium, vitamin B12 and Iodine. Herbal teas are a great source of hydration – they are simply dried plants in a bag – so having one on the go all day is great.

Lunch Good that Hanif gets a walk in. Smoked salmon will supply omega 3 and protein. Salad leaves offer plenty of vitamins and minerals and I hope Hanif makes his own dressing as bought ones can be high in salt and sugar. Canned soup is convenient but a fresh one can be easy to make and is healthier.

Snacks Keeping baby tomatoes and grapes handy are a smart idea. Eating solid meals and taking walks will help with snack cravings. Hanif should be careful of home measures of alcohol.

Dinner Homemade bolognese is a potentially healthy meal with cooked tomatoes providing disease fighting Lycopene. Use lean meat and wholemeal pasta for maximum benefit and occasionally substitute the meat with lentils to provide fibre and keep the protein. The peas are a good addition giving vitamin B1 and folate.

Tips Hanif should make his own granola and also soup and then freeze batches. He should keep an eye on his alcohol intake and avoid drinking every day.

My Daily Diet series
- Bryan Dobson
- Helen Steele
- Jonathan Forbes
- Mike Ross
Hanif Kureishi
Nuala McGovern

Ellen Cranitch
Ian Marber

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