Nutritionist, entrepreneur and full-time model Danielle Copperman on quick-fix breakfasts, morning rituals and the secret to improving your skin

Words Julia Krupska

Danielle Copperman has one demanding schedule – full-time model, Founding Director of quinoa-based cereal, Qnola, and qualified nutritionist, documenting her food journey online at ModelMangetout.com – making her diligent effort to fuse nutritional value into a busy lifestyle an admirable feat. She encourages her loyal following to self-educate and evolve one meal at a time from the moment they wake up – a movement guaranteed to reap great lifestyle benefits. Below, Danielle takes us through her sacred morning ritual, how to eat healthily in the face of lost time and why a nutritional breakfast is integral to starting the day on a high.

We’ve long been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but is it really that essential in terms of energy levels?

Breakfast isn’t the only way to get energy in the mornings, and sometimes food won’t make you feel energetic at all. This depends on so much more – how much sleep you get and the quality of it, your mental state, the seasons, the moon phases and more. However, eating a good meal in the morning will kick start your internal processes; your metabolism and digestion as well as chemical responses which contribute to your mood, making you feel happier and more mentally focused and also, if composed of the most nourishing ingredients, provide vitamins and minerals for your cells to use in order to function optimally.

What can we eat in the morning to help our skin?

Having a meal (with a drink) in the morning will help keep skin hydrated, but not just any breakfast will lead to good skin. I try to consume healthy fats like nuts, chia seeds, linseeds and avocado, as well as antioxidant rich foods and powders like acai, maca, and fresh berries.

What is your top tip for starting the day right?

Wake up 30 minutes before you need to and take some time entirely for yourself. I use this time to stretch, do yoga or meditate and just take time to think to myself and about myself and the day ahead. It helps me to deal with what I have going on in my life and also helps me to stay present, be grateful and stay grounded instead of getting stressed.

Do you find your mindset improves with the aid of a healthy breakfast? How so?

Yes, I feel more positive, more alert, more functional, more focused and able to concentrate.

A Qnola-based breakfast aims to keep you fuller for longer – how does this work?

Quinoa is high in protein which is digested slowly, making you feel fuller for longer as the body works to break it down. It’s also high in vitamins and minerals which your cells can use for internal processes, rather than storing useless ingredients quickly and telling your body you need more.

How do you balance such a busy lifestyle with taking the time to eat healthily?

For me I mostly have smoothies in the mornings as they are quick, easy and concentrated forms of goodness. I also find them very filling. When I’m abroad I take Qnola with me which is easy to prepare and eat instantly, quickly and on-the-go. Sometimes if I am really short for time I make a quinoa bircher or chia pudding the night before and leave it in the fridge to grab the next morning.

What is your go-to breakfast when running out of time in the mornings?

A powerful and functional liquid, to cleanse the system, kick start metabolism and regulate natural appetite. I love fresh lemon, ginger, turmeric and aloe vera, kombucha, fresh mixed herbs in hot water, adaptogen powders such as reishi shilajit maca and cacao, or tonics and tinctures made from plants, herbs and spices, combined with liquid probiotics. For something more substantial I take fruit, berries, nuts and seeds, a natural or homemade energy bar, bites or homemade quinoa bars made with qnola – they’re similar to flapjacks and made with nuts, seeds natural sweeteners and adaptogens.

Is it best to drink hot water and lemon in the morning? Or should we stick with herbal tea? Why?

Hot drinks have to be brought down to body temperature, so the body is forced to function in order to consume a hot drink in the morning which helps wake up the system. Lemon is detoxifying and alkalising and herbal teas have ayurvedic holistic benefits for the body and mind.

Take us through your morning ritual…

I spend ten minutes in bed or on my bedroom floor doing meditation, thinking or writing. I have a hot or cold superfood tonic or herbal beverage and then do ten-30 minutes yoga or go to a class if I have time. I then shower and scrub and get ready for the day ahead. Sometimes I FaceTime my boyfriend who lives in Sweden as it is so nice to be able to wake up together while we live apart. I then start on emails or meetings – whatever is in the diary!

What do you feel has been the most beneficial change in your life since embarking on your own nutritional journey?

Changing my own diet and constantly learning, as well as meeting people within the industry. I am really grateful for the community of people, especially girls, I have met along the way that constantly inspire and educate me. In terms of beneficial health change, I have more energy, my skin is less grey, I have learnt to manage cravings and have a good relationship with food.

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