Travis Kelce's Diet: What Does He Eat?

The man, the myth, the boyfriend: Travis Kelce has had himself a year. After winning his second Super Bowl in February 2023, Kelce hosted Saturday Night Live in June, which only helped propel him further into celebrity status. What we thought at the time was likely the peak of his celeb ascent was only the beginning. 

The two-time Super Bowl champion is putting a whole new spin on trophy husband as he continues to take the leap from tight end to the limelight. We're all here today because Kelce is courting Taylor Swift, one of the few celebrities who have definitely had a better year than he has. This challenge could be Kelce's toughest one yet. Beating the Jets might be easy, but keeping up with an icon like Taylor Swift and her private jets is no joke. 

How has the former 2-star high school recruit with forehead acne transformed into the mustachioed sensation we see before us today, walking off into the sunset postgame side by side with music's biggest superstar? A great set of hands, a podcast, and, most importantly for us, a fascinating diet. Here's what NFL superstar Travis Kelce actually eats.

No vegetables for Kelce, in his younger days at least

Turns out you can grow up big and strong without eating your veggies. Travis and his brother Jason Kelce had their father, Ed Kelce, on the podcast that the two host together called "New Heights." On the pod, Ed Kelce claimed his technique for feeding healthy kids was "protein with every meal, a carb with every meal, fruit and vegetable," the last of which was met with raucous laughter from the two brothers.

The boys vehemently disagreed with their father, with Travis going as far as saying he never ate a single vegetable. Travis was more than likely exaggerating for a bit of fun at his dad's expense, who swears the NFL star ate green beans and corn, but Ed did himself no favors when he tried to argue moments later that Bagel Bites were a vegetable, thanks to their "vegetable sauce."

Travis Kelce has grown a lot since then, both literally and mentally. While his brother still contends he's quite the picky eater, he has expressed a willingness to eat food that's good for him, even when it doesn't taste like it. During an interview with Stack Sports, Kelce was asked about the least favorite thing he eats just because he knows it's good for him. Kelce seemed to have to give it some thought, likely thinking of all those vegetables he hates, but ultimately answering "Probably spinach." 

French toast is a must on game days

Game day rituals are sacred at all levels of an organization. From the fans who refuse to wash their jerseys to the players who refuse to tie their shoes, there are all sorts of practices on game day that, as Budweiser reminds us, are only weird if they don't work.

Kelce's superstitions don't quite go as far. Though Kelce has previously revealed he's seen some strange things in the locker room pre-game, he keeps his own routine much simpler. On game days, he does three things: wears a wristband on his left arm, eats French toast, and scores touchdowns. The pro bowler told Inside Hook that while other players may nosh on the local favorite for their pre-game meal, he has his own tradition. "I love BBQ, but every pregame meal has been French toast and strawberries since I've been on the Chiefs," he revealed. That's a remarkable accomplishment considering the 10 seasons Kelce played with the Kansas City Chiefs, as of the 2023 season. Kelce credits the sugar rush and carbs of great French toast with giving him the energy he needs any given Sunday. Given the protein he also likely gets from the eggs used to make French toast, it really is the perfect pre-game food, if you ask us. 

On his off days, he eats whatever he wants

Travis Kelce's endless commitment to fitness is well documented, earning him the nickname "Trainer Trav," but even he knows it's important to take some time for yourself every now and then. When Kelce is on, he's all about French toast and action, but on his days off, he's more prone to kicking back, shopping for silk pajamas, and relaxing. Speaking with People magazine, Kelce laid out his off-day routine, which actually sounds like most of our Sundays. He might hit the sauna first, but then it's onto the couch and flipping channels. That's the kind of diet and exercise plan we can all get behind.

Even when he's not on the field, sports are still a big part of his life, so watching sports and chowing down are a big part of Kelce's off days. He told People, "I mean, wings and football just go together hand in hand." So if the Chiefs aren't playing that night, you might catch Trainer Trav eyeing up a selection of his favorite dipping sauces while the Bearcats kick off or taking a deep inhale before downing some hot wings during Monday Night Football.

After tough losses, Kelce's family comes together and consoles him, usually with the help of a few pizzas. While gooey cheese helps him cheer up, Kelce doesn't need to take an L to enjoy a slice. "I'm a big pizza party guy," he told People. "I love a good pizza party."

Kelce's personal chef makes him healthy steakhouse cuisine

Travis Kelce's nutrition is handled almost exclusively by his childhood friend turned personal chef, Kumar Ferguson. Ferguson, owner of KuEatsFresh and also known as Chef Ku, cooks for Kelce all year long, coming to his house daily and prepping three meals for the Kansas City Chief's star tight end. The two first met while playing basketball together in elementary school and later linked up professionally. In 2016, Kelce called his old friend and asked for help taking his diet up a notch. Ferguson, a truck driver at the time, packed up and moved to Kansas City, where the two have been cooking classic midwestern favorites with a modern twist and winning Super Bowls ever since.

When asked by a Yahoo Sports reporter leading up to Super Bowl LVII how he was outperforming the typical expectations for a tight end of his age, Kelce was quick to praise his personal chef, saying, "Whatever he's feeding me is keeping me young."

It turns out that's a whole lot of steaks, chops, and chicken, which Ferguson calls healthy steakhouse cuisine. The chef told Startland News that filets are the tight end's absolute favorites. The taste harkens back to the good old days when the boys would show up at Ed Kelce's place in the wee hours of the morning to be greeted by quality cuts on the grill.

Gummies are a Kelce go-to

Marshawn Lynch has his Skittles and Travis Kelce's got his gummies. Kelce, always looking for his next sugar hit, used to follow up his pre-game French toast with an end-of-the-third handful of gummy bears to power through the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter of NFL games, referred to by legendary RedZone host Scott Hansen as "the witching hour," is the most important 15 minutes of regulation. You might need more than Haribo in your back pocket when the game is on the line, so Kelce turned to Hilo gummies, a brand making supplements in an easily digestible gummy form to give himself a better boost, both during the games and during his workouts. 

The packed gelatin products have ingredients like lion's mane mushroom, maca root, beetroot, Rhodiola, and tart cherry, a surprisingly potent sports drink alternative. Kelce put his money where his mouth was, partnering up with Hilo Nutrition and becoming an equity partner in the product. He was able to channel his taste for the sugary gummy bears into a chance to work with a team on developing the optimal pre-workout vitamin. He has since completely seen the light, appearing in Hilo commercials happy, sweaty, and dancing, followed by the words, "If your workout doesn't feel like this, then you took the wrong gummies."

No meats shaped like a tube for the footballer

Travis Kelce's brother Jason may sometimes shove sausages right down his gullet without so much as a chew, but Kelce does not feel the same way about tubular meat. On a New Heights podcast episode, Kelce explained that while he enjoys a good sausage patty or sausage on a pizza, he can't handle anything in a casing. Like the seasoned interviewee he is, he was able to dodge the question for a while, saying how much he likes sausage breakfast patties, sausage and pepperoni pizza, sausage in pasta, and the addition of sausage into a nice bolognese, but his brother Jason wouldn't let it go.

Kelce finally lost it when Jason asked him about hot dogs, hurling an expletive and asking his older brother, "How does it get in a tube?" We can only imagine that he might have read up on some things you don't want to know about hot dogs. His problem with meats shoved into a tube seems to surround only the presentation, not the actual flavor of the meats. Kelce described something simply feeling off surrounding the way it feels when you bite inside a juicy casing but smartly brushed aside any concerns he was avoiding tubed meats simply because of their appearance.

Kelce makes an exception for Polish Boys

While Travis Kelce is quick to say he dislikes anything with a casing, there's an exception to every rule. Polish Boys, a famous street food that hails from Cleveland, Ohio, still holds a special place in his heart. The Kelce brothers grew up in Cleveland Heights, and their intimate knowledge of Kielbasa was on full display in a friendly grilling contest sponsored by Budweiser.

Perhaps it's the fact that french fries, barbecue sauce, and coleslaw all traditionally go on a Polish Boy, masking the strange sensation that Kelce typically finds offputting about sausage casings. One thing is for sure, based on the final plating it clearly wasn't Kelce's first time whipping up Polish Boys. Even though his own mother bet against him, Kelce's Polish Boys won the cooking contest thanks to an extra half-point score by his girlfriend at the time, on-air reporter for the Kansas City Chiefs Kayla Nicole. We can only wonder if Taylor Swift would have been more critical in her assessment of whether or not Kelce can handle the heat, although we're sure that if Budweiser had anything to say about it, a modern-day rematch would already be in the works.

Kansas City BBQ is a staple

You can't really be a Kansas City Chief without being expected to have strong opinions about Kansas City barbecue. One of the first things the city's new draft picks are educated on is the barbecue scene, beat reporters reference local restaurants while writing that some players are "about a combo double-decker and a half... away from looking like a slim tight end," and everyone from the head coach to the franchise quarterback is asked about their favorite spots to stop for 'cue.

Travis Kelce has leaned into his celebrity status in a town where meat was the original celebrity, doling out endorsements for the Kansas City BBQ scene as liberally as the city's great barbecue spots slather on the tomato-based sauce. While speaking with Inside Hook, Kelce said that his being drafted by Kansas City was "a match made in heaven" because of his love for smoked meats and the city's abundant options.

Further in the interview, he explained that he's had to cut back his barbecue consumption since his early years in the league, but he still makes sure to leave his white t-shirts at home and get messy with some quality barbecue a few times a month.

Kelce has interesting fast food favorites

Travis Kelce is the first tight end ever to record four consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons, and he's also the first person that we've ever heard say that Burger King makes the best fast food burger. On his New Heights Podcast, the tight end and his brother talked through their favorite fast food burgers and both revealed that they love a good Whopper, with Kelce preferring his with no mayonnaise and no onion. Rounding out the top three was the Wendy's Baconator in second and In-N-Out's burger in third.

To be fair to Kelce, the debate only centered around fast food restaurants that have a drive-thru, disqualifying icons like Shake Shack so he's not saying that Burger King makes the best burger in the country. Still, the man is endorsing a sandwich that we once ranked below the Jumbo Jack as the fifth worst fast food burger in the country. It's a bold choice, but we shouldn't be surprised to see some bold statements from the guy who asked out Taylor Swift via podcast.

In the same podcast episode, Kelce chided his brother Jason for his love of McDonald's burgers but did concede that the Golden Arches are a great place to stop for breakfast. Kelce's go-to McDonald's order appeared in a 2020 Super Bowl spot as a McGriddle flanked by a hashbrown, two sausage McMuffins with egg, and a cup of black coffee.

A whole chicken is fuel for Kelce

Swifties can't get enough of Taylor eating chicken fingers and seemingly ranch while watching Travis Kelce play ball, but just wait until they see what's on the table at the Kelce house. 

Kelce is listed at 6 feet, 5 inches tall, and 256 pounds in the 2023-2024 season, which still makes him the little brother compared to brother Jason's 6 feet, 3 inch, 295-pound frame. The two corn-fed Midwestern superstars did a whole lot of eating to achieve their professional goals. We heard from dad Ed Kelce that Georgio's Fresh Oven Pizza, Hamburger Helper, and Bagel Bites were a staple of the house, but the boys are built on much more than that. The long and winding road that has led Kelce to this current peak in stardom is riddled with chicken carcasses.

When asked by the AP News about the brothers' dietary habits, Kelce's mom, Donna Kelce, said the boys would eat whole chickens alongside a refrigerator full of meats. She said she did her best to keep the fridge stocked, but nothing usually lasted more than a day. With two boys devouring whole chickens at a time, we're not sure how the poultry departments in Cleveland Heights kept up. Donna Kelce even told the Wall Street Journal, "When they went off to college, it was like I got a raise because they ate so much food." 

Kelceroni pizza is a favorite for a cause

Travis Kelce teamed up with Minsky's Pizza, a Kansas City local chain that loves a good collaboration, to find his perfect pie. Minsky and Kelce documented the search in a four-part series called "Kelce's Kitchen" that had Kelce and pals trying all sorts of weird pizza creations.

Kelce first tried a cheeseburger pizza with ketchup in homage to Patrick Mahomes, which wasn't his favorite. Next, Kelce and his friend and personal chef Kumar Ferguson whipped up an Italian meat, artichoke, and pineapple pizza that Ferguson nicknamed "the Arti-don't." In the third episode, Kelce and then-girlfriend Kayla Nicole tried out a chicken bacon creamy ranch option that went heavy on the sauce.

Finally, Kelce found the winner. The football star's signature pizza layered pepperoni, soppressata, and mozzarella on red sauce before a heaping portion of cupping pepperoni on top transformed the option into Travis Kelce's ultimate game-day pizza: the Kelceroni!

In addition to helping you get through a marathon session of football viewing, each purchase of a Kelceroni pizza includes a donation to Kelce's 87 & Running charitable organization. The pizza was a smashing success, as Minsky's reported over 20,000 Kelceronis sold during the 2021 NFL season. The only thing we don't know is what percentage of those pies were delivered to Kelce's house, but given his propensity for pizza parties and what we already know about his off-day diet, we can only imagine the towering box count.