What's in your basket?

'Crack of dawn for me is about 9.30am. I let the dogs out, get a cup of tea and take it up to bed to read the papers to see what everyone's up to. Breakfast is a bowl of mixed cereals - Weetabix, All-Bran and Alpen all together.

I give the last two spoonfuls to my cocker spaniels. Then I have a swim and walk them. I love eating and if I didn't swim and play tennis I'd be twice the weight I am. After that my PA, Jo, picks me up and takes me to Cobham for a coffee - I like this Fair trade Indian coffee because I know that the money goes to the locals.

I've always done all the shopping for our house - usually at Sainsbury's in Cobham on a Wednesday. Everywhere I go people come up and talk to me, ask me what the Beckhams are really like and talk about Sharon Osbourne or Simon Cowell and, so far, they've never been nasty. I work from home a couple of days a week, otherwise I'm driven into town at about 1pm, and talk on the phone for pretty much the whole journey. I have a quick lunch at a cafe called Hamilton's (the only time I like the name) round the corner: salt beef and gherkins or a jacket potato with cheese or chilli. In the afternoons I just have a cup of strong tea and a digestive biscuit.

After work I go out to eat, with friends and clients, or more often, clients who are friends. We might go to Scalini in Chelsea where I often have skate, or Toto's which does great bean soups and veal chops.

I don't usually have dessert - I do have weakness for banoffee pie but I try and have melon instead. When I go to parties I find that the food is useless. I don't want 'mini' anything. I prefer to sit at a table and eat sausages and mash - then you can actually talk' without balancing things precariously. Everyone knows I don't drink so they arrange for me to have a glass of water with lime cordial.'

Lime cordial and water

Water has a key role to play in wellbeing, and increased consumption of this most basic of fluids has been linked with a reduced risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer. The lime cordial, however, will generally contain both refined sugar, artificial sweetener and other additives.

Melon or banoffeepie

The obvious downside to a slice of banoffee pie is the copious quantities of refined sugar it provides, which prompts insulin surges in the body. From a health perspective, the slice of melon is a better bet by far.

Cup of strong tea and a digestive biscuit

Max might be able to dispense with the need for this pick-me up if he avoids lunches loaded with baked potato. Meat or fish with vegetables, and perhaps a little potato, should help keep his blood sugar and energy levels much more stable through the afternoon.


Some studies have linked coffee consumption with a reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease, though excesses of caffeine can trigger anxiety, insomnia and heart rhythm irregularities. However, I suspect one cup of weak coffee each day is likely to have only a marginal effect.


Breakfast cereals such as Weetabix, All-Bran and Alpen have had generally good publicity from the dietetic establishment, but I have my doubts about the nutritional attributes of any foods based on desiccated wheat, refined sugar and salt. At the very least, I recommend Max adds some chopped raw nuts and fresh fruit.

Bean soup

Beans are a highly nutritious food that have been linked with a reduced risk of heart disease and enhanced longevity. This soup is a healthy choice.

Salt beef and gherkins

Only half the fat in the beef is of the healthy 'monounsaturated' form and its salty nature may boost Max's blood pressure and up his risk of heart disease. He should incorporate a salad, as the magnesium and potassium will help counteract the sodium.


While a fine food, skate numbers in UK and European waters are very low and this fish is officially recognised as an endangered species. Dover sole would be a good swap.

Veal chops

Most veal comes from animals that have been artificially orphaned, kept in crates or pens, and have been fed on a diet based on milk powder. This makes for a miserable existence for the calves, and is reflected in the quality of the meat.

Jacket potato with cheese or chilli

Weight for weight, jacket potatoes release their sugar into the bloodstream almost as quickly as pure glucose, causing an insulin surge followed by a lull in energy.

· Interviews by Rebecca Seal

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.


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