Tess Johnson's Nutrition Breakdown

As a professional athlete and winter Olympian, I often get asked about my diet. The short answer is: a whole lot of protein, veggies, and carbs! Technically, mogul skiers are qualified as “sprinters”. A competitive mogul run is about 28 seconds, and while I do eat very healthy, I don’t have a super strict eating regimen like an endurance athlete (for example, a nordic skier) might have. Before I go into depth about what I eat, however, I’d like to give a disclaimer that everyone’s bodies are different, and what works for me might not work for another person!

Something I’ve noticed about my own eating habits is that when I’m training or competing, I’m so much hungrier. My body automatically tells me I need more fuel because of all the rigor I’m putting it through. The human body is incredibly smart, and the older I get the more I learn how to listen to my own. That being said, I eat a lot more food while I’m training, and the priorities are always protein, carbs, and veggies. I’m not too concerned about the specific amounts of each category, and I’ve never counted calories before -  I simply eat until I’m full! My body naturally tells me when I need more. 

When cooking for myself, I’ll usually make a combination of rice or pasta, a bunch of whatever veggies I have, a protein source, and a sauce topped with shredded cheese. (Side note: I actually learned how to cook from my teammates when I was 16 years old on the World Cup Tour.) Luckily, I like everything and don’t have any intolerances, so this smorgasbord-style meal is my favorite because it’s easy, affordable, checks all the necessary boxes, and so yummy. I eat meat and fish because they’re a great source of protein, and red meat has iron which helps with my energy, but I’ll often just use beans or chickpeas for protein to cut back on my meat consumption. My favorite veggies are leafy dark greens like kale or spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, brussel sprouts, and sweet potatoes. I eat at least two eggs cooked any way everyday, whether that be for breakfast or lunch, and a tasty fruit smoothie with spinach, greek yogurt, and Whey protein powder is my go-to after a workout. I also love oats for breakfast; lately I’ve been putting chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, chopped up dates, blueberries, and bananas in my oats every morning before water ramps. While every meal of the day is equally important, breakfast carries me through the bulk of my training on any given day, so it’s crucial I consume enough carbs to sustain my energy levels. 

During training camps abroad, our team has a chef who cooks dinner for us every night and does all the shopping. It’s a massive privilege, because not only does he make delicious food that leaves us full, energized, and satisfied every evening, he lifts the burden of cooking and shopping off our shoulders so we can focus entirely on training, competing, and recovering as best we can. During the summertime, I train in Park City, UT at the Utah Olympic Park for water ramping as well as the US Ski and Snowboard Center of Excellence (COE) to workout in the gym. At the COE, we have another team chef who cooks lunch every weekday, and he too is nothing short of excellent. There are multiple nutritionists supplied by the U.S. Ski Team who have taught me that fueling is important before, during, and after all training/competition events. Replenishment is absolutely critical, and its benefits pay off the most during our three month-long FIS World Cup tour in which we travel internationally every single week. In fact, we have traveled to Kazakhstan, Siberia, and China, (this winter we will be headed to Georgia) and while each country has their own beauties, the food can be iffy at best. So, we’ve learned to travel with freeze-dried meals, beef jerky, instant oatmeal and ramen, protein and electrolyte powder, and pounds upon pounds of energy bars and chews. Traveling as a professional skier can be cumbersome, to say the least!

Finally, I get asked about sweets/desserts often, and yes, I love my ice cream more than anything. I have a big ole sweet tooth that I entertain within reason (a few times per week). Thank you for reading, and go eat some great food! :)