When we think of healthy, well-to-do bodies, Olympians are probably at the top of your list. If you’re looking for the true peak, the best of the best, look no further than Lindsey Vonn. The professional skier is not afraid to show us that strong is sexy and she recently revealed her daily diet plan. It helps her perform at her best – and look good doing it.
If it were up to Lindsey, she would be eating a juicy steak and a side of sweet potatoes for dinner every night. But a heavy meal like that might slow the Olympic gold medalist down, and Lindsay’s personal chef Dan Churchill won’t stand for that.
Churchill, along with people like Olympic dietitian Megan Chacosky, supervises the Olympians’ meals – and it’s a job that’s just as serious as it sounds. So much so, Lindsey has to give feedback on every meal she has.
“Communication is vital,” according to Churchill. “I tell her it’s imperative for her to tell me if any of the food I give her has made her at all uncomfortable or interrupted her sleep.” These tiny things can make the difference between first and second place.
This was especially important in the build-up to the Winter Olympics, which is taking place right now in PyeongChang in South Korea. “If I give her something her body has never seen before, it won’t digest it, it won’t absorb the nutrients properly – and she can’t afford that,” Churchill says.
It isn’t all strict rule-following, though. Churchill also takes care to cater his food to Lindsey’s cravings.”She loves pasta, so I’ll make a healthy version that’s perfect for fueling her, but also hits on that nostalgia,” he says. While everything Churchill cooks for Lindsey is healthy, that doesn’t mean it’s boring.
The same goes for desserts. Churchill is all about balance, not deprivation. And since Lindsay has a sweet tooth, he makes sure to indulge her after her hard work. All in a healthy way, however. One of her favorite desserts is poached pear topped with vanilla bean and turmeric-spiced yogurt. “It’s such a simple dish, but so good for you,” he says.
“My responsibility is to make sure she gets the right nutrients, but also has the opportunity to chill out,” he says. “If you are overall happy, everything is optimized. You could have 6 percent body fat, and be a gold-medal Olympian, but not be happy because all you’ve been doing is training and eating broccoli every day.”
For the first meal of the day, consistency is key, says Churchill. Lindsey’s favorite go-to breakfast is scrambled eggs with red bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, spinach, garlic, Cholula hot sauce, and cilantro. If Lindsey is skiing or having an extra hard workout on a particular day, she’ll have something more fueling, like oatmeal. Lindsey will add cinnamon and blueberries for sweetness.
For lunch, Lindsey says she “usually includes some sort of protein like chicken or fish.” She continues: “I like salads too, but I’ll mix in rice and avocado and chicken.” Churchill notes also that he likes to include a variety of textures in her lunches. This is usually well balanced with whole grains, veggies, nuts and other proteins.
Like for most Olympians, snacks are crucial in helping Lindsey stay fueled throughout the day. Her go-tos are avocado toast or just some avocado and salt. Lindsey says she’ll “also go for a banana and almond butter, or some tuna with mayo”. That is, if she can’t find any trail mix.
When it comes to dinner, Lindsey says it depends on whether it’s race day or not. “The best race meal is salmon, rice and vegetables like asparagus. I don’t feel too weighed down by it, it tastes great, and I also feel like I have enough energy to compete.”
There we have it – the meal plan of an Olympian. You don’t have to be competing, but it would be nice to have enough energy to get through all those meetings without falling asleep. That’s hard enough as it is.