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Celebrity Health - Yvonne Connolly

Model on a mission

Yvonne Connolly from Dublin has had a distinguished modelling career, regularly hosts cooking segments, has hosted Virgin Media's Six O'Clock Show and has appeared on This Morning. She lives in Malahide with her three children Missy, Ali and Jack, whom she shares with ex-husband Ronan Keating.

What sort of exercise do you do to keep in shape?

Over the years I have tried working out at the gym – I go at it hard for a while then don’t go for ages, so I have given that up. So now I do hobby-based activities which I find easier to keep up. I love playing tennis and horseriding is a real love of mine. I have a horse and my daughter has a pony and I ride almost every day. It can really work on toning your body and improving your cardio fitness levels. 

What sort of foods do you eat to stay healthy?

I try to go for plant-based breakfasts. We have pretty much the same breakfast every day – I add an unsweetened Alpro drink to porridge and then just have to add toppings, which could be nuts or fruit. One of our favourite porridges is oats with apple, cinnamon, mint, honey and almond unsweetened drink. The recipe is called Heaven Can Wait Porridge and it lives up to its name.

It can be hard to get your five fruit and vegetables a day, so that’s why I make a big blender of smoothie in the morning with a plant-based Alpro drink and whatever is in the fridge like fruit and peanut butter. I put it on the table and we all have some. It’s an easy way to get fruit and veg into my kids and I feel good when they go out the door after a healthy breakfast.

I grew up in a family of carnivores where most meals were based around what meat we were having and adding vegetables to that. Now I am trying to make plant-based ingredients the hero of every meal for all our health. I am not a vegetarian, but I have cut down on meat and am thinking of our carbon footprint too.

Lunch usually consists of the kids taking something to school or college, which might be leftover dinner or a sandwich. If I am out I tend to bring something with me or grab something on the go. I try to prepare foods for lunches on a Sunday evening as this really helps to keep it healthy.

Dinner is different every day and cooked from scratch by me – it is our main meal and we sit down together every evening. My kids love rice dishes, sauces and stir-fries. I might cook all day Sunday and do a roast dinner.

I cook on the 6 O’Clock Show on Virgin Media and you only have seven minutes to cook a dish, so I often do fish as it is so easy to cook. I think fish is a superfood and I love eggs as a super healthy fast food. For snacks I eat fruit all the time, nuts, smoothies and chocolate at the weekend.

Do you take any natural supplements or drinks?

If you have a well balanced diet it shouldn’t be necessary to take supplements, unless you have a specific need. Other the years I have taken loads of supplements. My son is a rugby player and in the gym a lot, and I say to him to only take something if it is recommended by a professional.

 

I like the experience of going to a health store – staff are good at listening, giving you informed information and the time to think about new products. They really know what they are talking about when giving advice, and I always end up buying more than I went in for!

I am very proud of being an Alpro ambassador for No One Does Unsweetened Like Alpro. Alpro plant-based dairy alternatives are made from either non-GM soya beans, coconuts, almonds, cashew, hazelnuts, rice or oats and the unsweetened range contains no sugars and no sweeteners at all.

Do you ever worry about your health?

I don’t really worry about it now, but maybe I should as I get older. I am very active and eat healthily most of the time. I enjoy a glass of wine and have a sweet tooth, but keep this for the weekends.

Do you have any tips for Rude Health readers?

  • Eat healthily during the week – it can take some preparation and thought. 
  • Buy the ingredients, then on Sunday night prepare for the week.
  • When there is something healthy to snack on you are more likely to avoid reaching for junk food or bad snacks out of hunger.

Yvonne Connolly is Alpro ambassador for No One Does Unsweetened Like Alpro, available in health stores.

                                         

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