The Royal Diet: What Princess Diana Ate to Stay Healthy and Fit

The Royal Diet: What Princess Diana Ate to Stay Healthy and Fit
Image credit: Legion-Media

Diana Spencer's relationship with food wasn't always healthy: the Princess once admitted that she had suffered from bulimia (and she was one of the few public figures to speak about the issue openly at the time).

Fortunately, after her divorce from Prince Charles, Diana's diet improved, in large part thanks to royal chef Darren McGrady, who cooked for Diana and her children for 11 years and worked for the royal family even before that.

The chef shared that, after Diana had battled her eating disorder, her diet became healthy and balanced — and also that working with her was one of the most enjoyable times of his life.

What foods did Princess Diana not eat?

The Princess devoted a great deal of time to exercising and eating healthily. She was loyal to McGrady and his work, often saying that all he had to do was make sure the food wasn't too fatty, and that she would take care of the carbs herself — by sweating them off at the gym.

Diana set herself only a few restrictions that she tried to stick to. First, the Princess avoided eating red meat, such as beef and pork, and would only occasionally treat herself to chicken and lamb (and that's only when people like Clint Eastwood came to visit).

Secondly, her diet was completely free of seafood. It's unclear whether this restriction was due to Diana's personal preferences or if it was just a habit she developed after living at the palace for so long.

It's known that seafood was one of the Queen's "forbidden" foods — so all members of the royal family were banned from eating it.

For public occasions, McGrady often cooked different versions of the same foods, so Lady Di could enjoy a low-calorie meal that looked similar to what other guests were eating.

The Royal Diet: What Princess Diana Ate to Stay Healthy and Fit - image 1

There was one funny incident associated with this practice. During the Princess' dinner with Oprah Winfrey, waiters served tomato mousse (one of McGrady's specialties). Oprah asked Diana how she managed to stay in shape while eating such high-calorie food, and the Princess replied that she simply ate small portions and worked out regularly at the gym. While this was certainly true, Diana did not reveal the most important thing: the special tomato mousse she was eating that night had almost no fat in it.

Oprah Winfrey, on the other hand, was served a full-calorie version of that dish.

By the way, Princess Diana could not cook at all — McGrady actually called her the worst cook he had ever met. The chef made food for the Princess and the family for five days a week and left pre-cooked meals in containers for the weekend. For Diana's convenience, he even wrote instructions on how many minutes each dish should be heated in the microwave.

What did Diana eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

In a 1989 interview for The Saturday Evening Post, the Princess revealed that her breakfast usually consisted of cereal, toast, and grapefruit. Another one of Diana's favorite breakfast dishes was egg suzette — a baked potato on a bed of spinach, topped with an egg and a tiny dollop of hollandaise sauce.

For lunch, Diana often ate peppers stuffed with rice, mozzarella, parmesan, and mushrooms, and she would top her dishes with tomato and pepper sauce.

Plenty of vegetables, both fresh and cooked in various ways, were often on her table. Though the Princess preferred vegetarian dishes, she would occasionally have some fish too.

The Royal Diet: What Princess Diana Ate to Stay Healthy and Fit - image 2

One of Diana's favorite recipes from world cuisines was the Ukrainian beetroot soup, or Borscht. In the Princess' version of the dish, the ingredients include beetroot, onion, chicken broth, sour cream, milk, pepper, and salt. You may notice that chicken wasn't Diana's usual choice of food — but she could have some light chicken broth from time to time.

Princess Diana also had a terrible sweet tooth, according to chef McGrady. Her favorite dessert was bread pudding, which she would only eat when her children were at home with her — and even then, Diana would only take a tiny bite. The Princess never asked McGrady to make this treat just for herself.