food

From ready-made dinners to quick snacks: We asked a heart surgeon everything she eats in a day.

Gosh, we're a nosy bunch, aren't we? Always sniffing around, trying to find out how other people live their lives. 

But as IF you wouldn't want to know what foods a cardiac surgeon throws down on the daily - right?

Because in case you didn't know, the stuff you put in your belly can affect your heart health, too. Like, there are certain things that can elevate blood pressure and high cholesterol when consumed regularly, making your little ol' heart work way harder than it should. Sad!

Watch: What I Eat When With Silvia Colloca. Post continues below.


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In saying that, eating well and heart-friendly can be more complicated than it sounds. Yep - EVEN for a heart surgeon.

That's why we cornered Dr Nikki Stamp and asked her to share what she likes to reach for on the daily to ensure she's soaking up all the nutritious goodness to keep her heart healthy. 

Before we get into it, though, it's obviously important to keep in mind that everyone is different, and this is just what works for Dr Stamp.

The best approach to nutrition is always what's sustainable long term. So, if you're looking for advice, it's best to speak with a professional.

Okay, shall we?

Breakfast

While breakfast might look different for everyone, you obviously want to start the day with enough protein and energy to get through your morning. For Dr Stamp, she rotates between a quick and easy brekky during the week, and something more protein-fuelled on the weekends.

"I have a quick snack before the gym early in the morning, usually a banana so that I have some energy to train with. I’ve never been a big breakfast eater because I’m usually not that hungry in the morning, so I will almost always just have something light and easy." 

"Smoothies, yoghurt or poached eggs with sourdough on weekends are a nice light and easy start for me to get some protein and some fruit."

Image: Instagram/ @drnikkistamp

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Lunch

"Lunch is absolutely my Achilles' heel! I detest meal prepping and soggy sandwiches are not my cup of tea, which means that I’m prone to have to resort to something that I can buy. This is an expensive and not always healthful habit."

Don't worry, Dr Stamp. You're in a safe place.

"I’m a big fan of using ready-made meals like My Muscle Chef that have lean protein and vegetables that I can easily eat at work."

"To up the ante on these, I’ll add some salad when it’s warm or steamed veggies in winter. Alternatively, if I do decide to treat myself to something bought, I’m always on the lookout for lean proteins and lots of vegetables."

Image: Instagram/ @drnikkistamp

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"If I'm at home, I’ll make something easy and simple such as some tuna or salmon with some pasta and vegetables or a stacked (and fresh) sandwich with some delicious bread, chicken and a tonne of salad."

Snacks

On the all-important snack front, Dr Stamp said she always has some kind of packaged snacks on hand to tie her over.

"I need something that can live for a few days in a handbag or drawer, ready if I need it, so I try to have packaged snacks, like Table of Plenty Mini Rice Cakes which are delicious and portable!"

Delicious AND portable? Our fave combo.

Dinner

You know when you've had a long, stressful day at work and you have zero time for meal preparations? None of this is different for doctors.

Image: Instagram/ @drnikkistamp

When it comes to dinner, Dr Stamp said she has a few staples she knows she can make quickly and easily that still taste good.

"Cooking is not my forte so I definitely have a few favourites on rotation," she said.

"I love incorporating seafood, so a few times a week I’ll make some dishes with prawns or salmon to get the lean protein and the healthy fats in the salmon. My favourite thing at the moment is prawns in a ginger and garlic dressing with broccolini and rice noodles - it’s delicious!"

*Patiently waits for dinner invite*.

"Recently, I’ve been experimenting with some vegetarian options, and I’ve tried some great recipes from Jamie Oliver’s ‘Veg’ cookbook to up my plant intake."

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Dr Stamp also said she uses dinner as an opportunity to ramp things up on the vegetable front - because, as you guessed, the more colour the better when it comes to heart health (apparently Skittles don't count, though).

"Basically dinner is where I try to cram in as many of my favourite veggies as possible - broccolini, capsicum, asparagus, potatoes, beans, zucchini, whatever I can get into my meals," she said. 

"Dinner is also a meal that I love to share with other people, whether it be out for dinner or cooking at home with a friend. I try to eat healthful foods as much as possible but I am absolutely not perfect nor am I going to deny myself something like chocolate or a nice dinner out with friends if I really want to."

Hear, hear.

Image: Instagram/ @drnikkistamp

"Food is so much more than just something for health or a way to look a certain way - it’s enjoyable, it’s how we show love, it’s how we comfort ourselves and it’s social. While this might be how I eat on one day, another day I might share a cake with a friend and that’s okay."

"I’m just trying to do my best out here with the way I eat and strike the balance between health, simplicity and enjoying myself. Just because this is what I do, don’t feel like this is what you have to do."

What foods do you like to incorporate into your routine to up your heart health? Share with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: @drnikkistamp/ Mamamia

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