If it were up to Lindsey Vonn, 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 personally supervises the Olympian’s meals—and it’s a job that’s just as serious as it sounds. “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,” Churchill tells Women’s Health. “That communication is vital.”
This is especially important leading up to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea this year: “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.”
Sounds intense—but 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.
And while everything Churchill cooks for Lindsey is healthy (lots of lean protein, whole grains, and veggies), that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s boring. “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.”
To get a peek into the Olympian’s daily eating routine, we chatted with Churchill and Lindsey in Lake Louise, Canada, at the launch of her new Under Armour clothing line.
For the first meal of the day, consistency is key, says Churchill. Lindsey’s favorite go-to breakfast: 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 that day, Churchill makes sure she has some extra a.m. fuel, like oatmeal. “I love adding in some cinnamon and blueberries for sweetness rather than brown sugar or honey,” says Lindsey.
Want to see how other Olympians eat? See what Olympian bobsledder Jamie Greubel Poser eats in a day:
“Lunch usually includes some sort of protein like chicken or fish,” says Lindsey. “I like salads, too, but I’ll mix in rice and avocado and chicken.” Churchill notes he likes to include a variety of textures in her lunches, with a balance of whole grains, vegetables (especially root veggies), nuts, and other proteins.
Whether it’s a mid-morning or afternoon snack, it’s crucial for Lindsey to stay fueled throughout the day (especially when a double workout is involved.) “I really like avocado toast, or just avocado and some salt,” says Lindsey. “I’ll also go for banana and almond butter, or some tuna with mayo.” She noted she also loves any kind of trail mix (especially when it involves chocolate chips), but Churchill likes to steer her more towards clean mixes of nuts, with almonds as the star.
“The best race meal I’ll have is salmon, rice, and vegetables like asparagus,” says Lindsey. “I don’t feel too weighed down by it, it tastes great, and I also feel like I have enough energy to compete.”
Churchill is all about balance, not deprivation. Since Lindsey has a sweet tooth, he makes sure to indulge her after her hard work, but in a healthy way. One of his favorite desserts to prep for the skier: a poached pear topped with vanilla bean and turmeric-spiced yogurt.
“It’s such a simple dish, but so good for you!” he says. “From a chef perspective, happiness is the biggest element of what healthy is!” says Churchill.