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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 6 April, 2020

Here's a snapshot of what a dietitian eats in a day

It’s not as complicated as you might think.

IT’S HARD TO AVOID grabbing a chocolate bar to fight the afternoon slump, or to grab a microwave dinner when you’re too tired to cook.

One way of looking for advice on how to eat more healthy food is by taking a peek into the life of someone who knows best – a dietitian.

Orla Walsh from the Dublin Nutrition Clinic catalogued what she ate in one day for, explaining why she picked each meal.

“My taste buds were not removed when I graduated as a dietitian,” she said, “Although I practice what I preach.”

I do eat for enjoyment, like most people. I do eat to optimise my health and reduce the risk.

Orla says she tries to eat within an hour of getting up, and then every four hours after. Exercise can range from her commute – a 15km cycle – or the gym.

She’s now focusing on protein at all meals with some fibre, as she is active and just entered her 30s.

0Na9Wqws (1) Orla Walsh

“I increase or decrease my carbohydrate intake depending on how active I am and I include some healthy fats with most meals for my overall health,” Orla explained.

“This may sound complicated, but once you get into the healthy ritual of making the better choice, it becomes second nature.”

I’m a great believer that most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel.  Once you feed it correctly, and reap the benefits, the reward will keep you along the healthy path.

Orla stresses she’s not a health nut, but that aiming to eat what is right for your body is extremely important.

The day Orla chose was a busy one. She is also one of the support staff with Cycling Ireland, and was travelling to them in Mallorca.

Orla’s first meal of the day was eggs with spinach, nutmeg, ricotta, and a coffee.

IMG_20151008_103145 Source: Orla Walsh

Orla describes eggs as ‘nutritional powerhouses’. They provide protein and a good array of vitamins and minerals.

Spinach, as well as the nitrates it contains that help to lower blood pressure, has a little folic acid and iron, two nutrients of higher importance for women.

She also grabbed a bottle of carrot juice to bring with her.

IMG_20151005_142133 Source: Orla Walsh

“This will give me my daily supply of betacarotene which the body converts to vitamin A,” she said.

“This vitamin helps to support the normal functioning of your immune system as well as having a role in keeping your skin and eyes healthy.”

Next up was an early lunch consisting of a simple smoothie containing berries, cinnamon, low fat Greek yoghurt, and milk.

IMG_20151005_174847 (2) Source: Orla Walsh

“Berries are handy as they are high in fibre and relative to other foods, low in calories,” Orla explained.

“The yoghurt provides 15g of protein per 150g so when mixed with milk. This smoothie was providing me with enough protein to maximally stimulate my muscles to grow, repair and adapt to the exercise that I do.”

Lunch at the airport consisted of smoked salmon and prawns.

IMG_20151008_102637 (1) Source: Orla Walsh

Orla believes this is the kind of lunch Irish people should be eating more frequently. We don’t have a lot of fish in our diet, despite the benefits it brings.

The salmon contains Omega 3 fattacids, which help keep the eyes, brain and heart healthy. Like the nitrates in the spinach, it helps keep blood pressure under control.

“The prawns provide me with some selenium and zinc, which both contribute to normal metabolism, cognitive function and support the immune system,” Orla explained. They also help with fertility, hair, eyes, skin and nails.

Orla brought some Biltong in her carry-on for a snack on the plane.


She explained it’s a handy way to boost your iron intake, as well providing some protein, without too many calories. She brought a packet of walnuts on the way back.

For dinner, it was something new - cuttlefish.


“Brian, the Head Coach, brought us all out to dinner,” Orla said, “I, like everybody else, get tempted by the less healthy choice.”

“That evening I picked something healthy that was driven by the simple fact that I had never eaten cuttlefish before”.

However this meant she had eaten fish twice in one day, and she usually tries to mix things up. Orla said oily fish once or twice a week is perfectly fine.

Orla drank two litres of water and two coffees over the course of the day.

And as a bonus, she was able to pick Sharon fruit (Persimmons), figs, plums and walnuts off trees in the orchard next to where she was staying in Majorca.


Inspired by this Busines Insider piece by Dina Spector.

Read: Do you toss the banana peel in the bin? Here’s why you should be eating it >

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About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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