‘When I was modelling I skipped breakfast but now, with the kids, I need the energy’
Daily Diet: Aoife Cogan (35) runs Form School Pilates with husband Gordon D’Arcy, and is also a stay-at-home mum
Aoife Cogan: ‘My dinners would be fairly predictable. I’m a good baker but not an adventurous cook.’
5.45am My two-year-old son Lennon always wakes early. When I was modelling I never ate breakfast but now I’m home with the kids, I need the energy to keep the show on the road. I’ll have coffee with milk, a slice of white toast with butter and a boiled egg or two slices of grilled bacon.
9am Our dog Albert will be begging to get out so I’ll put the kids in a double buggy and we walk for an hour and a half, dropping my four-year-old daughter Soleil at Montessori, and visiting the playground. Albert is a massive Leonberger but walks nicely beside me and Lennon is happy to look around. I’ll have my earphones in as this is my time to deal with business calls. Since Lennon dropped his nap it’s tricky to get a quiet window. Thursday and Friday we pop into the studio but otherwise I work from home. I’ll have an Origin protein bar – I like that there are no dodgy ingredients – and another coffee.
1pm We pick up Soleil and I’ll get the kids’ lunch sorted and then something simple for myself – often tinned sardines or mackerel on toast. Or I might have a pack of microwave rice with the fish. Beans and toast is another usual. I’ll have sparkling water with a splash of sugar-free MiWadi. I can’t stand non-fizzy water. Gordon was really upset about the plastic bottles so bought me a SodaStream which works great.
4pm I’ll have a cup of regular tea or rooibos with milk. I’ll be fitting in bits of work around the kids. I love to bake with them so we might whip up some biscuits.
6pm We all eat together now the children are a bit older. My dinners would be fairly predictable. I’m a good baker but not an adventurous cook, so it will be something like lasagna or grilled chicken. Three days a week we have interesting dinners as I order from Eatstro – a delivery service that delivers exact ingredients and directions. Last week we had chorizo and butter bean stew, Thai veg curry and sea bass stir-fry. It’s a fail-safe way to produce an interesting and balanced meal. It’s good value when you consider the mental energy you need to come up with what to cook and the time spent shopping.
10pm In the evening I’ll do a Pilates class twice a week at the studio, three if I’m super good. We then relax watching Netflix; recent favourites were After Life, Big Little Lies, Mindhunter. Some nights Gordon will dash to the shops for Minstrels and popcorn, but others I’ll have yoghurt and raspberries. I enjoy a few drinks when out, but not at home.
There is 17 months between the kids and even one glass puts me on the backfoot the next morning when they wake at dawn. It’s wonderful to be able to stay at home to look after them, and fit in my work around their schedule, but it’s non-stop hectic and I need to be in top form.
The verdict from dietitian and lecturer Dr Conor Kerley
Seven a day
Although bacon is popular in Ireland, it is classified as a “processed meat” which has been linked with increased risk of many health problems. Perhaps just once a week is best. The official recommendations are for seven portions of fruit and veg per day but Aoife’s diet falls short. I recommend she adds fruit at breakfast and includes lots of multi-coloured veg at lunch.
Protein bars are popular but unnecessary as most people, including Aoife, eat more than enough of this nutrient. Tinned sardines and mackerel are great as they contain lots of protein but also omega 3 fatty acids (tinned tuna does not).
The delivery kits, though pricey, are handy when you are pressed for time as otherwise you may just grab something quick which is more likely not to be a well-balanced, pre-portioned meal. Great the family eat together; research shows this promotes bonding and more sensible eating habits.