Jonathan Forbes: ‘If I have given up alcohol, I’m more likely to hit the fizzy cola bottles’

My Daily Diet: ‘Catastrophe’ actor’s diet is given an expert once-over

Jonathan Forbes as Fergal in Catastrophe

Jonathan Forbes as Fergal in Catastrophe

 

8.30am: If I’m filming I could have an early start but otherwise I’m up between 8 and 9. I’ll have coffee and then I swim in the local pool. I do it to keep fit but mainly for my headspace. It’s like meditation for me. I’ll swim 2km, which takes 40 minutes. It’s tricky to be a self-starter in this business, and the swimming gives me a framework. When I get home I’ll go straight into line-learning. I’m preparing to play Hamlet in New Jersey soon, so it’s intense.

11am: I always have eggs, avocado and sourdough toast (I keep a stash in the freezer). I roll breakfast and lunch into one. When out on location there’s more temptation. I’m in Ireland regularly at the moment filming a crime thriller called The Dublin Murders and I’ll find myself tucking into the burgers and chips. I’ll usually have another coffee at some stage. I don’t drink a lot of water – just when I am thirsty.

5pm: I’ll have a snack when I get in the door – some cheese and crackers or nuts.

8pm: I worked as a chef for years between jobs, and now I love to cook from scratch. Even if it’s just me, I’ll have an idea what I am going to cook earlier on in the day and I’ll pick up my ingredients. It helps me unwind preparing dinner, especially after a stressful day. I’m currently cooking a lot of pulses, but I do find it hard to cut meat out completely so I’ve just cut down a bit. I’ll have lentils with some pancetta. With some vegetables and salads. And I like to cook a lot of fish.

On Sunday I do a roast but I limit my carbs during the week. I recently had to do a nude scene. That was a strong motivator to cut out the roast potatoes.

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I don’t drink much during the week but at the weekends will let go a bit. I love to drink red wine, good beer.

Midnight: I’ll go to bed around midnight. I’m on a healthy leash all day and night is when I go off message. I’m partial to a few Haribos while watching TV. Especially if I have given up alcohol for a few weeks. I’m just more likely to hit the fizzy cola bottles then.

The Verdict

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

Breakfast: Coffee without sugar and cream is actually a healthy beverage. Jonathan skips breakfast, and a recent report in the British Medical Journal casts doubt on whether it is the most important meal of the day.

Lunch: Although eggs are a good source of protein and other nutrients, they are high in saturated fat and official recommendations are for a maximum of seven a week. Avocado provides unsaturated fats and vitamins too. Burger and chips are high in calories, saturated fat and salt, while being low in fibre and other nutrients. The odd time is fine.

Snacks: Cheese and crackers can be high in salt. Haribos and fizzy cola bottles provide zero nutrients. Best to eat very occasionally.

Dinner: Cutting down on meat is in line with nutrition guidelines. Pulses such as chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans are a great alternative, as they are high in protein and iron but contain fibre (which meat doesn’t) as well as much more folate, magnesium and potassium than meat.

Tips: Jonathan could snack on fruit and chopped veg and add some salad to his eggs, though he needs to vary this lunch to prevent dietary boredom and provide different nutrients.

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

Ellen Cranitch
Ian Marber

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