Home PageAdventuresWednesday’s Healthy Fuel Recipe: Buck Up Buttercup

bcskiOh the irony.

I type this sitting on my couch, knee elevated and iced. The plan was to post my 2017 Goals & Daily Nutrition yesterday (see below), but sometimes plans change.

This last weekend I was having a great time skiing above Vail from the Polar Star Inn 10th Mountain Division Hut with my husband and friends. Blue skis, deep soft powder.

One minute you’re making tight turns in deep snow in the trees, the next a nauseously loud pop and a knee that can’t stop itself from folding inward toward the other knee.

Long story short, after a 1/2 mile crawl/slide back to the hut, and a 9 mile snowmobile rescue from a stranger (thank you, thank you Mark from Eagle, CO), we got home.

recovery nutritionComplete ACL tear, partial MCL tear and a bit of meniscus damage. I’ll be out of commission awhile, and still all the hard work is in front of me. I’ll be channeling my inner Lindsay Vonn. Surgery in a few weeks after the MCL heals.

Below, these were my 2017 athletic goals and daily nutrition eating habits. Maybe I’ll still grab a few of the MTB ones, maybe not. Maybe now these are 2018 goals.  I still vow to work on laugh lines instead of brow furrows.

My eating habits are much the same (minus the training nutrition for now), really emphasizing hydration, protein, antioxidants & anti-inflammatories, and a few more tricks that can be found in my Injury Recovery Nutrition Plan (find it here).

I plan on journaling my recovery the best I can in hopes it can help, or at least provide some information to future athlete recoverers. And I’ll be back to posting and working with athletes soon. Here goes! Buck up Buttercup!

What was (Original Goals/Daily Nutrition Post):

As a sports nutritionist and registered dietitian for over 15 years now, I’m often asked about my own food habits, both in daily nutrition and training. I’ve never actually laid it all out for readers, but after also being asked about this and my own 2017 athletic goals recently by several clients & readers, I thought I’d share both. So, at the risk of too much information or nutrition-shaming myself (ha!) or worse, boring you, here are my own 2017 athletic goals & a day in the life of my food choices:

Tuesday’s Healthy Fuel Recipe: Nutritionist Kelli Jennings 2017 Food, Fuel & Goal Tell-All  

Breakfast & Morning Snack – I always start with my homemade mocha – this is about 1/2-3/4 cup of my raw cocoa chocolate milk mixed with ~10-12 oz. coffee – and, I like my coffee strong (I count this as my morning snack since I use whole milk & it adds up!). My breakfast is either: 1) 2 fried eggs & a whole grapefruit, 2) a slice of homemade sourdough bread with 1 triangle Laughing Cow Cheese, 1 sliced hardboiled egg and hot sauce (above), 3) Slow Cooker Protein Overnight Oats with homemade yogurt, OR 4) a homemade yogurt parfait such as the one below. 

Lunch – Typically, I have a 1) smoothie, 2) a cup of chia pudding with fruit, 3) a egg salad sandwich, or 4) a baked sweet potato PLUS protein leftovers (chicken or another meat from a previous dinner). I always add a vegetable to lunch, and it’s usually greens in my smoothie or a raw carrot.

Afternoon Snack: This is almost always an apple, orange, or grapefruit.

Dinner: Always, loads of vegetables. Either 2-3 cups raw vegetables in a salad with goat cheese & avocado dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper, 2 cups cooked vegetables (sauteed broccoli, roasted broccoli & peppers, etc.) cooked with avocado oil, coconut oil or butter, or a vegetable soup such as Broccoli Pepper Soup. Then, 4-6 ounces meat such as chicken thighs, pork loin, fish or grass-fed beef (cooked in avocado oil, coconut oil, or butter)- usually with a delicious sauce such as a curry, pesto or other fresh sauce – this is what keeps it interesting for me. In a pinch, it’s an organic rotissorie chicken from my local grocer (<$10!). I keep grains and additional carbs reserved for 1-2 cheat dinners per week when I have fish and chips or another treat. Somehow, as long as I use delicious sauces and switch up the vegetables, it doesn’t get old. I often have a whole-food carbohydrate such as potatoes or rice available for my growing kids and husband, if he wants it.

Dessert: 1 glass of red or white wine, most every night (unless I have a 4AM appointment with my skis or bike the next morning). I like wine more than sweet desserts. I cheat with this one 1-2 times per week with either a real dessert or a high-calorie cocktail such as a Moscow Mule.

Drinks: Water, green tea, black tea, or herbal tea. This is one area in which I need to do better throughout the Winter!

Sure my foods may seems a bit consistently boring, but it keeps meal planning easy:).

Training Nutrition:

For weekday training (up to 1.5 hours in the early am) – During the Winter when I’ve got a 40-minute drive to get to the ski hill, I drink my mocha coffee for pre-training as it supplies about 20-25 gm carbs. I don’t use training nutrition during training <90 minutes (unless really high intensity in which case I’ll add lemon cookies or a gel). Recovery is raw cocoa milk with l-glutamine & bcaas.  During summer weekday mountain bike rides & trail running – same as winter except I ride/run straight from my home within 15 minutes of waking up, so it’s usually some juice or a banana + a caffeine pill before training. If it’s hot, water or a homemade sports drink during.

Longer weekend training: Smoothie with sodium & caffeine for pre-training (75-100 gm carbs), homemade sports drink or carborocket + cookies, homemade bars, gels, etc every hour during training (60-90 gm carbs per hour), and raw cocoa milk with l-glutamine & bcaa’s after.

Short Weekday Training of <60 minutes: I do a 5 Cycle Workout and a Jump Rope Workout each week, and I don’t add extra food for either, just more water.

I only workout 4-5 days per week with 2 full days off – this has seemed to help me maintain motivation and energy during the last few years.

Supplements: Daily – Rainbow Light Women’s Multi, Barleans Fish Oil, 2000 IU Vitamin D, 200-400 mg magnesium, 500 mg vitamin C, 500 mg turmeric.

More Info & Disclaimers – It’s not an exaggeration to say that this is all 95% true. Of course during a vacation or a seldom “off week,” this might change, but consistency with fresh, whole- foods & homemade family dinners are a priority. I am 37 years old and (only) about 5’0″ at my goal weight, so I don’t need (or get to have) nearly as much as my 6’0″ male counterparts – not fair! I don’t count calories but I do eating slowly, listen to my body for fullness, and sort of know the portions I need as I’ve been mindful about eating for a while (it’s my job, after all!).

I’ve found that eating whole-food moderately-carb (with low-carb light-at-night dinners) has maintained my goal adult weight between & after having 4 kids along with my exercise/training…although I was a bit more purposeful about it all when losing weight after a 25-pound gain in college and having kids. This is also true for most of the clients with whom I work. My carbohydrate intake increases quite a bit for training as needed, but is consistent in daily eating. If I’m hungry, I add more good foods. If I’m out to eat (seldom) I have whatever delicious thing I want and plan it in as one of my 2 “cheats” for the week.  I plan, look forward, to, and savor the cheats.

2017 Goals (the fun!):


  • New PR’s for both routine routes uphill skiing at Loveland (Route A and Route B)
  • Compete & Finish Breckenridge 5 Peaks OR Grand Traverse (Skimo)
  • 90,000+ feet elevation gain from 1/1/17-5/1/17 uphill/backcountry skiing
  • >=3 Backcountry skiing expeditions (these have gotten tougher in terms of time & having 4 kids)


  • White Rim in a Day <=8:55 ride time (my under 9:00 was pushing it in 2015!)
  • New PR’s for >=3 weekly Mountain Bike and/or Road climbing routes
  • Ride my bike at >10,500 feet elevation at least 6 times
  • 125,000+ feet elevation gain on bike
  • Run Grand Canyon Rim to Rim (fingers crossed)

Aging Athlete:):

  • Consistently do 5-minutes of yoga (5 minutes per day, days per week – ain’t much but it’s the best I’ve got right now), and planking (5 minutes per day, 5 days per week)
  • Continue to take turmeric, ginger & fish oil daily to avoid joint pain from 2016
  • Foam/ball roll my IT bands, glutes, hams & quads at least 2-3x/week
  • Take more cold showers after training for recovery – I really hate these.
  • Most importantly, since I’m stuck with wrinkles one way or another, many more laugh lines than brow furrows!

That’s it! That’s what this sports nutritionist eats, drinks, does, and looks forward to. It’s busy, sometimes without enough sleep (which should be another goal), but it’s fun & I get to do much of it with kids and my husband. What about you? Do you think about all of this? Are you consistent? Do you plan cheat meals and then stick to whole-food, homemade eating most of the time otherwise? Do you need a better plan (I can help!)? What goals, and even more importantly, what habits to support your goals, have you set for 2017?

I hope you are motivated for a healthy, cycling-concentrated, fun year! And, those times you don’t stick with it, give yourself a break & then get right back to it.

Fuel Your Adventure.  Nourish Your Body.

Want the full story? Well then, you’ll love Fuel Right Race Light. It’s the Apex Nutrition ebook, and it contains everything you need to 1) eat right day to day for your weight goals, health and wellness, and ongoing recovery; 2) fuel your training with perfectly timed and portioned training fuel before, during, and after training; 3) supplement smartly with the nutrients athletes need; and 4) hydrate well. Fuel Right Race Light puts it all together for you in a very easy-to-follow plan that you can implement today! Money back guarantee!


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  1. Rachel says: February 7, 2017

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