This is Slurrp's weekly feature, 'What I Eat In A Day', where celebrities tell us all about the food that keeps them going through the day, every day.
Meals throughout the day
I'm not a breakfast person when I'm at home, so I usually skip it. However, when I'm out and staying in a hotel, there is a spread of food available, and I try a little bit of everything. I start with fruits and have some juice. I also eat eggs and enjoy salami. Whatever is available for breakfast, I eat. Generally, when I'm at home, I prefer simple meals like roti (Indian bread), one vegetable dish with a tempering of asafoetida, lentils, and some yoghurt if available.
In the afternoon, I usually go to a coffee shop and have a continental meal. I order garlic bread, pizza, or other fried items. It can be American or continental cuisine.
For dinner, I usually indulge in a good meat dish like mutton or chicken. Sometimes I order food from outside, and dinner is something I really enjoy. It can be Chinese, continental, Thai, or anything I feel like eating. There are no restrictions, and it has to be king-size, so I usually eat around 8 or 9 PM.
While eating, I don't drink anything. Occasionally, I may have a specific drink like lime soda or water, but that is very rare. However, I cannot survive without coffee.
I tend to have a lot of black coffee, around 8 to 10 cups.
Favourite things to eat
I have a long list of favourites. My mom's recipe for okra fry (bhindi ki sabji) is something I can never get enough of. It tastes amazing with urad dal (black lentils) on the side. Other than that, I don't have any specific favourites. It depends on my mood, but I prefer getting my favourite dishes from restaurants.
I relish cauliflower and pineapple. If I don't have breakfast in the morning, I eat pineapple. During a show, the director named me "The Pineapple Man" because I used to cut the pineapple into small pieces, sprinkle black salt, and eat it in between takes. I can eat a whole pineapple cut into slices. In the mango season, I love eating mangoes. They are available for only a few months, so if you don't eat them, it's a waste. If it's the mango season, I go to the gym and run an extra 15 minutes to compensate. Guava is also a favourite, but it's not easily available in Mumbai. Luckily, when I was shooting in Allahabad, I got to eat fresh guavas.
I don't feel guilty about eating anything. Once I decide to eat, I enjoy it. For example, if rabdi (a sweet dish) is served in a thali (plate), I don't care even if I'm on a diet. I say, "Forget the diet, just give me the rabdi." I can easily consume half a kilogram or even a whole kilogram of it.
I follow intermittent fasting to maintain myself. If I have dinner at around 8 or 9 pm, then I directly have lunch the next day around 2 pm.
Challenges of following a balanced diet during shoots
Actually, it's easier for me to follow a balanced diet during shoots because I can focus on work and avoid distractions. Sometimes, it is suggested that my breakfast should be heavy, so when I'm shooting, I have a substantial breakfast from the available spread. I eat a lot and then have a light lunch to avoid feeling sleepy. I focus on having lentils for lunch. Dinner consists of soup and salad. In fact, my diet becomes better during shooting.
I have a sweet tooth, so anything sweet is welcome. The only dessert that doesn't excite me is rasgulla. Apart from that, I can have any sweet from anywhere in the world. I enjoy having a slice of sahai (a sweet dish) or ordering gajar ka halwa (carrot halwa) from Meerut. I also love ghevar soaked in milk.
But when the shooting starts and there's a target for a month, I restrain myself. But once I achieve the goal, I start indulging again. I don't compromise when it comes to enjoying food.
The first thing I order when not shooting
I think nihari is something I would like to order first. Tunday ke kebab with paratha as well. I would order that and enjoy it. These are the things I like to order. Sometimes, I go for a burger, fries, and a vanilla milkshake around 3 or 3:30 pm.
I am a hardcore foodie. People eat to live, but I live to eat.
Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub was last seen in Hansal Mehta's Scoop on Netflix and will also feature in Devashish Makhija's upcoming feature film Joram starring Manoj Bajpayee.
-- AS TOLD TO NIVEDITA