Home Health news What Tim Spector and other top dieticians eat in a day… and why they say it’s time to ditch orange juice with your breakfast

What Tim Spector and other top dieticians eat in a day… and why they say it’s time to ditch orange juice with your breakfast

by Editor

With seemingly endless diets and health advice lurking on the internet and social media, it can feel like a minefield when it comes to choosing what you should eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

So the Mail asked top gut health experts, nutritionists and food scientists what they actually consume in an average day…

Professor Tim Spector

Breakfast: Nothing or yoghurt with kefir, nuts, seeds and berries

Lunch: Beans, vegetables, a handful of nuts, something fermented and cheese

Dinner: One-pan fish with vegetables and fresh herbs

Snacks: Nuts or high-quality dark chocolate

Drinks: Water, kombucha, water kefir, coffee and, occasionally, a glass of wine

Professor Spector, a world-renowned gut health expert based at King’s College London, usually skips breakfast if he’s not hungry, so he can extend his overnight fast.

His research suggests that those who eat all of their meals within a ten-hour window, between 9am and 7pm, for example, have more energy, better mood and improved gut health.

Professor Tim Spector is a world-renowned gut health expert based at King’s College London

Professor Tim Spector is a world-renowned gut health expert based at King’s College London

However, if he does fancy breakfast, he will usually tuck into natural yoghurt, kefir (a fermented milk drink, similar to a thin yoghurt) nuts, seeds and berries.

Professor Spector used to drink orange juice with his first meal of the day before discovering it was behind a massive spike in his blood sugar.

When fruit is crushed into a juice, its cell walls break down and release sugar, which reaches the blood faster and causes a spike in blood sugar.

He said: ‘In the short term, this can leave you feeling hungrier. And in the longer term, repeated and excessive blood sugar spikes over the years can increase your risk of poor health outcomes.’

The professor is the author of Food For Life

The professor is the author of Food For Life

Consuming fruit in a juice form also removes a lot of the fibre, which helps regulate blood sugar and hunger levels, he said. ‘However, when you eat fruit whole, the cell walls stay intact for longer, so sugars are released more slowly.’

For lunch, he tends to have leftovers from dinner the night before or make a meal that contains beans, vegetables, nuts, cheese and something fermented.

Professor Spector, who co-founded personalised nutrition company ZOE, makes one-pan meals for dinner and often opts for fish, lots of vegetables and fresh herbs.

‘All of my meals include a variety of plants to help me reach my 30 plants a week, which contain fibre and polyphenols that our gut microbes love,’ he said.

Professor Spector advocates the 30-plant challenge based on a study he co-authored, which found that hitting the target boosts the diversity and health of the microbiome – the trillions of bugs living inside of us.

The 30 plants not only include fruit and vegetables but also herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes, as well as coffee, dark chocolate and popcorn.

Professor Spector said he selected his meals with his ‘gut microbes in mind’.

‘The gut microbiome is one of the most exciting areas of nutrition research at the moment, and a growing body of evidence links a healthy gut to numerous health benefits, including reduced constipation, lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and many other chronic diseases,’ he said.

Professor Spector said he doesn’t often feel the need to snack between his meals but, if he does, he opts for a handful of nuts or high-quality dark chocolate.

When Professor Spector feels like a snack, he opts for a handful of nuts or dark chocolate

When Professor Spector feels like a snack, he opts for a handful of nuts or dark chocolate

For drinks, he sticks to water, homemade kombucha or water kefir (fermented drinks) and black coffee. On occasion, he has a glass of red or orange wine.

‘I always add fermented foods which contain live microbes to support your gut health,’ he said.

‘There’s a growing body of research around the health benefits of eating fermented foods regularly.

‘I recommend to include small, regular amounts of the 4 Ks (Kefir, Kombucha, Kimchi and sauerKraut), plus traditional, unpasteurised cheeses, miso paste and Greek yoghurts.’

He added: ‘I would recommend anyone to eat in a way that benefits their gut microbes, by including fermented foods, eating a variety of plants, focusing on more fibre at every meal and reducing ultra processed foods.

‘If you’re looking after your gut microbiome, you are taking a fantastic step towards a healthier, longer life. We are all unique in how we respond to food and personalising our diet is important, but if you eat for your gut health you won’t go too far wrong.’

Rob Hobson

Breakfast: Porridge and eggs on wholemeal bread

Lunch: Fried rice with peas, peppers, broccoli and eggs

Dinner: Chilli, curry, stew or meat/fish with potatoes and vegetables

Snacks: Homemade protein bars, leftovers and tortilla pizzas

Drinks: Water, coffee, kefir and wine

Rob Hobson, a registered nutritionist based in London, starts his day with porridge before tucking into eggs on homemade wholemeal bread mid-morning.

‘I always try to choose foods high in fibre as this is the king of nutrients for me as it is associated with so many health benefits,’ he said. ‘I also look for foods that offer you as much nutrition as possible per mouthful so oats and eggs really hit the spot here.

Rob Hobson is a best-selling author and registered nutritionist based in London

Rob Hobson is a best-selling author and registered nutritionist based in London

‘I like to include a good source of protein with every meal to help keep me feeling full and to support my recovery needs from training.’

For lunch, Mr Hobson fries frozen rice with peas, peppers and broccoli, adding beaten eggs or chicken before topping it off with soy sauce and coriander.

He said: ‘I always think of my plate of food in macros, so include a carbohydrate, healthy fat and protein.

‘Alongside this, I try to make sure there are plenty of veggies with every meal and I always make use of frozen peas and spinach as you can add them to anything.

Mr Hobson's book, Unprocess Your Life

Mr Hobson’s book, Unprocess Your Life

‘I try to eat as many green veggies as possible as they offer a rich array of nutrients in comparison to other vegetables.’

Mr Hobson, a best-selling author whose latest book Unprocess Your Life was serialised by the Mail, cooks up one-pot meals, such as chilli, curry or stew, for dinner or has meat or fish with potatoes and some vegetables.

‘If you are short of ideas for dinner then you can’t go wrong with potatoes, veggies and source of protein,’ he said.

‘I eat oily fish twice a week to get my omega-3 and during the winter I try to eat a serving of enriched mushrooms in the day to get some more vitamin D, especially alongside my eggs and oily fish.’

Snacks for Mr Hobson are often ‘small meals’ due to his ‘whopping appetite’ from going to the gym.

He tucks into homemade protein bars, leftovers or a tortilla pizza – made by topping a wholemeal flour wrap with passata, grated cheese, sliced vegetables and cracking an egg in the middle.

‘Nourishing snacks are my thing,’ Mr Hobson said. ‘If I am eating another small meal during the day then I want it to contain as much nutritionally as possible.

‘I always try to include some cheese during the day as I don’t really drink milk or eat that much yoghurt, so look for other sources of calcium which also include green veggies and pulses.’

Mr Hobson drinks a couple of coffees in the morning then sticks to water during the day. He also tries to drink a glass of kefir and has a small amount of wine.

Professor Gunter Kuhnle

Breakfast: Porridge with frozen blueberries and granola

Lunch: Salad topped with tinned tuna, spam or eggs and served with pasta

Dinner: Risotto

Snacks: Pickled gherkin, slices of cheese, crisps and chocolates

Drinks: Coffee and water and sometimes tea, beer or wine

Professor Gunter Kuhnle likes to start his day with a bowl of porridge and blueberries

Professor Gunter Kuhnle likes to start his day with a bowl of porridge and blueberries

Professor Gunter Kuhnle, a food scientist at the University of Reading

Professor Gunter Kuhnle, a food scientist at the University of Reading

Professor Kuhnle, an industry-recognised food scientist at the University of Reading and a member of the Committee on Toxicity, which advises the Government on the chemicals in food, starts his day with a bowl of porridge, frozen blueberries and granola.

Oats are a complex carb, which help him feel fuller for longer, while blueberries are one of his five-a-day and packed with antioxidants and fibre.

Adding a scoop of yoghurt would further boost the nutrients in the meal as it would add dairy and protein, Professor Kuhnle noted. However, he skips this step because he is lactose intolerant.

For lunch, he makes a fresh salad, usually combining peppers, sweetcorn, cucumbers, carrots, fennel and avocado.

Professor Kuhnle then tops this off with a source of protein – such as tinned tuna, prawns, egg or cheese – which is essential for the body to grow and repair itself.

He then adds a carbohydrate, such as pasta or couscous, and serves it with roast pumpkin seed oil as a dressing.

‘Salad is quite convenient and an easy way to use up leftovers and add some interesting new foods (and one can of course add nuts or seeds),’ he said.

‘It also doesn’t need heating which makes it easier to eat in the office.’

His dinner varies daily but is often risotto, pasta or a fish dish.

Professor Kuhnle said his snacks ranged from pickled gherkin and slices of cheese to crisps and chocolate. He mainly drinks water and coffee and sometimes has wine or beer.

Kim Pearson 

Breakfast: Frozen berry, almond milk and protein powder smoothie

Lunch: A salad with fermented vegetables and fish

Dinner: Chunky vegetable and bone broth soup

Snacks: Dehydrated oranges, fruit and dairy free chocolate

Drinks: Green tea, water and diet Fanta Lemon

Kim Pearson like to start her day with a frozen berry and protein powder smoothie

Kim Pearson like to start her day with a frozen berry and protein powder smoothie 

Kim Pearson a nutritionist who runs a London-based clinic specialising in weight loss, usually eats her first meal of the day at about 11am simply because that’s when she usually feels hungry. 

‘I’m big on listening to your body but also we thrive on routine so it is good to to have a routine and eat at similar times of the day because it regulates your circadian rhythm,’ she said. 

Her breakfast of choice is a ‘substantial smoothie’ which contains frozen berries, cauliflower, half an avocado, good quality protein powder, almond milk and collagen powder.

She also packs berry powder fully of polyphenols and a maca powder into her morning blend.

‘I recommend to my clients to make sure that their meals have got protein, healthy fats, and a good source of fiber.

Kim Pearson, nutritionist who specialises in weight loss

Kim Pearson, nutritionist who specialises in weight loss

‘In this you’ve got healthy fats and fibre in the avocado, and protein from the protein powder. Then you’ve got the micronutrients as well vitamins and minerals. The cauliflower sounds weird, but actually it provides bulk,’ she said. 

‘I like this breakfast because it’s so quick to just throw into a blender. And it does keep you full and satisfied,’ she added. 

When she has more time to make a bigger breakfast, Ms Pearson will make herself an omelet or enjoys a couple of poached eggs on a bed of rocket, quinoa, avocado, tomatoes and grated carrots with a squeeze of lemon juice. 

Ms Pearson confesses to having a ‘green tea obsession’ and says she can usually be found sipping on a big mug of green tea between meals. Apart from tea she drinks water and the occasional diet Fanta Lemon. 

At lunch time she will have her main meal of the day which is typically a big salad. To her salad she will add spinach, grated carrot, olives, cucumber, pickles vegetables, grated beetroot all dressed in olive oil. Sometimes she adds Mediterranean vegetables such aubergine and a meat or fish.

To finish off her healthy lunch she eats a piece of fruit, usually a pear. 

If she wants something quick and easy for dinner Ms Pearson will rustle up some rice cakes topped with guacamole, a boiled egg or some smoked salmon with leaves on the side.

On evenings where she has more time her go-to meal is a chunky soup. For this she batch cooks bone broth and stores it in the freezer so it’s ready as a base for soup. To this she will add whatever vegetables are in season.

Ms Pearson doesn’t often eat snacks or have desert unless she is eating out, but occasionally she does enjoy dairy-free chocolate or slices of dehydrated oranges. 

Rhiannon Lambert

Breakfast: Porridge with fruit and nuts

Lunch: Wholemeal wrap with veggies

Dinner: Green vegetable pasta bake

Snacks: Handful of nuts

Drinks: Water, herbal tea and coffee

One go-to weeknight dinner Rhiannon Lambert makes on repeat for her family is her cheesy green pasta bake. Made with pasta, courgettes, cherry tomatoes, green pesto, spinach and cheddar cheese

One go-to weeknight dinner Rhiannon Lambert makes on repeat for her family is her cheesy green pasta bake. Made with pasta, courgettes, cherry tomatoes, green pesto, spinach and cheddar cheese

Rhiannon Lambert, Harley Street nutritionist and author of The Science of Nutrition, believes there is ‘no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to nutrition’ and likes to change up her meals as much as possible. 

For breakfast, she will eat anything from eggs, porridge with a variety of different toppings including fruit and nuts, bagels to overnight oats. But on days that she wants to eat something quick and easy, she will have a fortified cereal. 

‘Breakfast is a very important meal for me. As a mother and a nutritionist I am an advocate for diversity to try to mix up breakfast instead of my children getting used to the same breakfasts daily,’ she said. 

One of Ms Lambert’s favourite go-to lunches is a wholemeal wrap full of veggies and meat from a traybake, which she usually batch cooks. 

‘Packed full of fibre, protein and whole grains, this meal offers a convenient and nutritious option for those days when time is limited. 

Rhiannon Lambert, Harley Street nutritionist and author of The Science of Nutrition, believes there is 'no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to nutrition'

Rhiannon Lambert, Harley Street nutritionist and author of The Science of Nutrition, believes there is ‘no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to nutrition’

‘I try as much as I can to follow the “cook once, eat three times or more rule” where I can create three or more delicious and nutritious meals in one go,’ she said. 

For dinner, when time allows, Ms Lambert enjoys cooking a curry packed full of vegetables, spices and herbs, which she says is a good way to get plants in your diet. 

‘On other nights, sometimes all I fancy is a quick and easy scrambled egg dish,’ she added.

But one go-to weeknight dinner she makes on repeat for her family is her cheesy green pasta bake. Made with pasta, courgettes, cherry tomatoes, green pesto, spinach and cheddar cheese.  

‘I don’t necessarily have a plan of my weekly meals, instead I just adapt to what I have in my fridge and cupboards and what time suits me best,’ Ms lambert said.  

Throughout the day Ms Lambert makes a conscious effort to prioritise hydration and drinks water, but she also enjoys herbal teas and occasionally coffee. 

‘I find herbal teas such as peppermint a great alternative to water, and I’m getting the added benefit of aiding my digestion,’ she said.

But when it comes to coffee she approaches it ‘mindfully’.  

‘If I do drink coffee I aim to consume it before 11am to minimise any potential impact on sleep quality. 

‘As a sleep-deprived parent, I reserve coffee for days when I truly need that extra boost, noticing a more significant impact on those specific occasions. 

‘There is no need to demonise coffee as it is full of antioxidants and has been linked to some health benefits,’ she added.

For snacks, Ms Lambert will have a handful of nuts. She descries this as a ‘sensible snack’ because not only does it have a satisfying taste but also offers a ‘combination of healthy fats, protein, and fibre’. 

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