- Robert Irvine is a busy chef, but he takes time to eat every two and a half hours to get his fill.
- He said that he does not get in shape by dieting and recommends eating plenty of protein and carbohydrates.
- Her meals include oatmeal, lots of chicken, fish and vegetables, protein shakes or bars.
Celebrity chef Robert Irvine is famously beaten, and he didn’t get there by eating “rabbit chow.”
The Food Network star and former Royal Navy vet told Business Insider she eats an average of 4,000 calories a day, and 6,500 when she’s especially active. To get there, he follows a strict schedule of eating every two and a half hours.
And he certainly doesn’t want to hear about the latest calorie-reducing fad.
“The first three letters of the diet are ‘die’ – that means you won’t enjoy it. But eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to eat junk,” Irvine said. “There are many ways to spice things up, but you have to plan.”
The busy chef said her strict meal schedule helps keep her metabolism strong and she powers her 7-day-a-week workout regimen even as she travels 345 days a year for various shows, brands and other projects.
Her secret to eating nutritious meals on the go? Irvine said she plans a week’s worth of meals every Sunday, relying on staples like chicken, fish, potatoes, greens and oatmeal. Here’s a typical meal day that emphasizes unprocessed foods and fresh flavors for delicious, healthy meals that are convenient enough for her travel schedule.
His breakfast focuses on carbohydrates and protein
Irvine said her typical breakfast includes carbohydrates for energy in the form of oatmeal and dried fruit.
His next meal, an egg white omelette, is high in protein to promote muscle growth and recovery.
Dietitians previously told Business Insider that carbohydrates, especially from high-fiber sources like oats and fruit, and protein are good for keeping you full.
Getting enough protein and carbohydrates is also crucial for fueling active people like Irvine, who hits the gym every day to lift weights, no matter what time zone it is.
In the afternoon and evening, Irvine switches to vegetables with chicken and fish
Irvine said she cuts back on carbs as the day goes on, often enjoying an early lunch with staples like rice and potatoes. Her main sources of protein are chicken breast (she eats two servings a day) and fish like tuna and salmon. Irvine said she used to eat a bite every day, but got a little bored and now keeps it to once a month.
In the afternoon, he loads up on vegetables—broccoli, carrots, spinach, and a personal favorite, kale seasoned with black pepper and citrus. She said cooking with acids like lemon juice or vinegar is a major flavor enhancer.
He supplements with protein shakes or bars, but no more than two a day
To meet his nutritional needs, Irvine said he has a protein shake or bar between meals — usually from his own brand.
However, she tries to rely mostly on whole foods, limiting herself to no more than two shakes or bars a day, with at least one containing greens.
Irvine said that eating frequently throughout the day can seem tiring, but she found she had more energy than when she ate three large meals a day. Regular meals also speed up your metabolism, he said. Research shows that digestion burns energy, known as the thermogenic effect of food (although this has a relatively small effect on overall metabolism).
“I tell people to eat more and they laugh at me. “If you started eating every 2 hours, the first week would be a nightmare, but then you’d get used to it.”