How Kitchn’s Associate Food Editor, Kelli Foster, Starts Her Healthy Day

updated May 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Welcome to Kitchn’s series My Healthy Morning, where we show you how one person greets the day in a way that makes them feel their best. Each post will chronicle how that person defines healthy for themselves, and the habits and recipes that make their morning a little bit better.

If you’ve been reading Kitchn for a while, then chances are you’re familiar with Kelli Foster’s stellar recipes and cooking knowledge. In the past four years, she tested out the Instant Pot years before it became wildly popular, broke down the difference between yams and sweet potatoes, and recently developed this easy recipe for fried potatoes and sausage, which I highly recommend you make immediately (very good with a fried egg).

What you might not know about Kelli, however, is that when she’s not crushing it in the kitchen, she’s probably training for a race of some kind, like an Ironman. You know, the race where you swim 2.4 miles, then bike 112 miles, and run a marathon? Just that little thing. No biggie.

And I think that’s what makes Kelli so interesting — because even though she’s a food editor, and adores ice cream, the woman knows how to train for one of the hardest races on the planet. That takes serious balance and dedication to do both. Today we’re getting a glimpse into her morning routine, which involves a complicated cup of coffee and recipe testing for her new cookbook (oh yeah, did I mention she’s also writing a cookbook? Superhero status).

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

What Does Healthy Mean to You?

For me being healthy is all about balance and moderation. This is true for all areas of life, not just with food. Ultimately, it means doing what I can to make my body and mind feel nourished, strong, energized, and loved.

I feel best when I have a good balance of work, family, social life, and exercise, and I’m not putting my energy too heavily into a single area. Finding balance in life has been a real struggle for me, and while it’s still a work in progress, I’ve found what feels good.

When it comes to food I’ve long believed in everything in moderation. Food is definitely not something I ever deny myself, and there aren’t foods I’d consider “off limits.” I value eating tons of vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and generally wholesome foods that make me feel nourished, but you also won’t find me turning down a totally indulgent meal, a slice of cake, or my own person kryptonite, ice cream.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

My Healthy Morning Routine

I am a morning person and have always loved waking up early — it makes me feel like I’m really getting the most out of my day. My alarm typically goes off anywhere between 6 and 6:30 a.m., although I often wake up naturally before it. Then it’s time to get up and go. I’ve been making a serious effort to not immediately reach for my phone, which inevitably leads to me mindlessly scrolling through Instagram first in the morning.

I start every morning with a tall glass of filtered water right after I hop out of bed. I struggle with drinking enough water, so I try to set the tone early.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

My favorite way to start the day is with a workout, which I do most weekdays. I almost always wake up ready to eat, so I grab a quick bite before heading out the door. Depending on my workout, it’s usually a banana, some baked sweet potato, homemade energy bites, or a piece of toast with nut butter.

Right now since I’m not training for a triathlon, I don’t have a set workout schedule, so I do what sounds fun and feels good to my body, which is a spin class, high-intensity workout, barre class, or run with friends.

When my schedule is packed and I feel like I immediately need to dive into work right away, I do my best to carve out time for a workout — even if it’s just 20 minutes. I always have to remind myself that those extra-busy days are the most important to squeeze in some exercise. It makes such a difference in how I approach my day, plus I always feel amazing afterwards. Physically it makes me feel more energized and strong, but more so it helps me feel balanced, less stressed, and happy.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I usually get back home around 7:30 a.m. and my first order of business is coffee. Honestly, my coffee routine is a little fussy. My husband can make and eat his breakfast in the time it takes me to make a single cup of coffee. I start with some dark roast coffee from my French press, then whirl it in the blender with ghee, coconut butter, collagen powder, and a splash of MCT oil. It’s rich with the frothiness of a latte, and super delicious.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I shower, get ready for the day, and then it’s back to the kitchen to make breakfast, which also happens to be my favorite meal. I feel like what I eat for breakfast really sets the tone for the rest of the day, so I stick with foods that make me feel nourished, satisfied, and will carry me through the morning. For the past few months breakfast has been coinciding with recipe testing, which I’ve been loving.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

For the past number of months I’ve been writing a cookbook on Buddha bowls, and since I work mostly from home, I take some time first thing in the morning to test (and re-test) all the recipes in the breakfast bowl chapter. Some are sweet, some savory, and all of the recipes are super wholesome and satisfy my urge to eat a little of everything in the morning.

With my breakfast bowl and mug of coffee in hand, I settle down in front of my computer to plan out my day of writing and recipe testing.

Thank you for sharing your healthy morning with us, Kelli!