Date With My Plate: Aoife And Grace From Grape & Gander Talk Favourite Foods, Fitness And Fashion
We've got even more foodspo to satiate your chia-loving, protein-hungry appetites, courtesy of the Grape & Gander gang.
When friends, fashion and fitness combine, the result is inevitably going to be special. And that’s exactly what happened when Aoife Connolly and Grace O’Rourke joined forces to create Grape & Gander. The cornerstone of the clean-living brand is their super slick, luxury sportswear collection. While Aoife brings the style smarts (she used to work with Stella McCartney), Grace, an athlete and Hell and Back champ, is fanatical on functional details – she knows what works.
We asked the GG girls to let us in on their daily diet and fire some tips our way. “I prepare food in advance, organisation is key, otherwise I fall into bad habits,” says Aoife, who lost an impressive three stone through healthy eating. “My motto is make it fresh and try your best but remember food should be fun.”
Over the years, Grace has learned to listen to her body. “I have come to learn what it needs. To prevent tiredness I have an iron-rich food such as spinach at least once a day. The same goes for water so I always have a bottle in my car or in the gym.”
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I’m not a great morning person – I savour every last minute in bed, especially when I have an early start! During the week I want a healthy breakfast option that I can just grab and go. Chia pudding with unsweetened almond milk, nutmeg and cinnamon with a sprinkling of cacao nibs is delicious. I also add a spoonful of bee pollen for extra wholesomeness. Oh, and I have to have my coffee – the stronger then better!
I eat very little wheat as my body doesn’t react well to it so lunch will always be a salad or soup with some protein. Eggs are my favourite food and here I served them with hummus, beetroot and leeks – a great alternative to salad leaves in the winter months when you want something warmer. I’m training for a 10K and have been upping my beetroot intake. The vibrant veg contains a large amount of inorganic nitrates which means more oxygen to blood, which in turn helps me run for longer…. yay!
I usually have my lunch pretty early so before my evening run I’m craving carbs. Pre-training I either have a quick shake with oats, almond milk, banana and flaxseed or some energy balls I make from oats, nut butter, banana and dates.
My diet is mostly vegetarian but I do eat fish. Fish oils are great for your joints not to mention the beauty benefits to skin and hair. Here I’m tucking into smoked mackerel, baked aubergine, beetroot and pear salad with walnuts. I love experimenting with food and trying new flavour combinations, it’s important to have fun with your food.
I definitely have a sweet tooth and I love these fun nut butter sambos using sliced pears or apples instead of a sliced pan!
Natural yoghurt, banana and honey – something quick to make my tummy happy before I head off teaching. I’m a fitness instructor so I often have early mornings.
I cannot get enough of eggs and avocado It’s the best combo post pilates and so easy to throw together.
For lunch it’s tuna, pasta, spinach leaves, pine nuts and pesto. I usually chase that with a good strong coffee.
Two hours before training I have a mini meal of chicken, sweet potatoes and broccoli. The protein and carbohydrate mix gives me the fuel I need to drag myself around the track!
It’s important to up your protein intake after training to help your body recover. Salmon, couscous and asparagus hits the spot but is still nice and light before bed.
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