Brenda Kelly's Diet & Lifestyle Tips!

Here are some diet and lifestyle questions and my answers and tips for an upcoming interview in Oxygen Magazine. Pick up a copy for the in depth version and more recipes!
Here are some diet and lifestyle questions and my answers and tips for an upcoming interview in Oxygen Magazine. Pick up a copy for the in depth version and more recipes!

[ Q ] When I first started competing, my food concerns were:

    My big trouble was eating all of my food and drinking all of the water my nutritionist, Susan Esteb prescribed. I wasn't used to eating so many times a day or drinking so much water! I was in the bathroom 10 times a day and during the night for a week or so. My body water was able to level out with 72 oz. of water a day.

    Susan told me how important it was to eat all of my calories. The biggest trouble for me was the vegetables. I would have 3 - 4 cups left at the end of the day that I hadn't eaten yet. Susan had me eat everything at night I hadn't eaten yet just to get it in. This meant a lot of veggies at night for me. Yuck. I learned to eat them during the day quickly.

[ Q ] Now, my food concerns are:

    I love bread and have to be careful or I'll eat it with every meal. I do have bread once a day. I try to get 3-4 clean protein servings a day.

    I do have cheat foods however, not more than once a day. I also eat almost everything. I just don't finish everything. I used to think I was wasting food, but now I know I am taking better care of myself by not finishing my plate.

    I once went on a cruise ship with 24-hour food service. I ate and tried everything and finished nothing. Sometimes I had little as 1 or 2 bites. I only gained 3 pounds. The average gained by my friends? Over 5 and sometimes over 10 pounds in 1 week!

[ Q ] I'm happy with my body more so now because:

    I have changed my physique with diet and by training with weights. Before training with weights with a coach, I had never had the muscular balance or symmetry I have now with my physique. I had to build it.

    I know just how much time it takes to get results from a stricter diet and exercise program.

    When gearing up for photo shoots and appearances, it helps to know how to keep my shape close to the condition I need. As I get older I notice it takes less time to get my physique tight and into shape. I think you can teach your body to lean out.

[ Q ] What have you noticed about fad diets over your career span:

    I am mildly surprised that fad diets still have such mass appeal. All of the education out there on exercise and diet are available - and there is still no miracle pill.

    Fad diets come and go and the action and effort of plain old moving around and eating with balance stays steady and strong. The wise people know it doesn't pay to take short cuts when it comes to achieving physical gains.

[ Q ] What are some of the most important things you've learned about diet:

    Most women need to eat more protein.

    Before working with a nutritionist and getting ready for fitness contests, I had never eaten this much protein daily. I have kept this in my diet and I am sure this is part of the reason I am able to retain my lean tissue and keep my weight down all year. I also eat more than 3 times a day to keep my metabolism working.

    I have learned to carry food and water with me for emergencies. (this seems to be every day)

[ Q ] Any tips for younger readers on eating:

    See above. Eat more protein. At least 3 times a day. Eat 4-5 times a day to boost your metabolism. Have portable food and water so you are not stuck.

    Beware of crash dieting or short cuts. They tend to bounce back every time in a negative way. Try to eat non-processed foods as much as possible when available.

[ Q ] Any tips for readers that are in your age group:

    I lead a super busy life with a lot of time spent on the road. To save time I always cook food for more than one meal at a time. There is always food in the refrigerator to grab and take to eat on the road.

    My boyfriend, IFBB Pro, Bob Cicherillo ( Endorsed Pro Athlete) and I spend a lot of time together either on movie sets making films or away at Bodybuilding and Fitness contests and events. I always travel with enough food for at least 2 meals each a day. This is a lot of food (remember Bob (see picture below)).

    Left to right: Russ DeLuca, Dexter Jackson, Toney Freeman, Brenda Kelly, Darrem Charles, Bob Cicherillo and Stan McCrary.

    I have found it easier to carry protein and find carbs out on the field. You can find steamed rice, veggies, a salad or even whole grain bread if you look just a little.

[ Q ] Please include a sample diet:

    This is an every day sample. I tighten it up a bit for shoots and appearances.

    Meal 1:
    5 egg whites scrambled with peppers and mushrooms
    1 whole grain bagel

    Meal 2:
    Meal replacement shake - 1/2 envelope plus 1 scoop of plain protein powder I like Vanilla

    Meal 3:
    1-5 oz. buffalo patty
    1 cup steamed white rice
    Side salad with balsamic vinegar

    Meal 4:
    4 oz. grilled chicken
    10 french fries w/catsup
    1 cup grilled veggies (asparagus, zucchini)

    Meal 5:
    Protein/veggie stir-fry
    Recipe below

    Meal 6:
    Sometimes this is dessert!
    1-cup fruit (melons, berries)
    2 slices peanut butter toast
    2 cups corn chips (low fat, white corn)
    4 rice cakes
    Fat free candy (10 licorice whips, 1 cup gummy bears)
    1 caramel apple
    1 cup frozen yogurt/ice cream

BONUS: Leftover Protein Stir Fry


  • White Rice
  • Protein Option (Steak, fish, turkey, chicken)
  • 8-10 Eggs
  • Raw Veggies *
    • 3-4 crushed garlic cloves
    • 1/2 c. mushrooms
    • 1/2 c. carrots
    • 1/2-cup celery
    • 1/2 c. asparagus
    • 1/2 cup colored sweet peppers
  • Light Soy Sauce
  • Teriyaki Sauce (Yoshida's)
  • Garlic Salt
  • Splenda/Sugar
  • Black Pepper
  • Optional: 1 oz. freshly grated ginger root

* (If I don't have fresh veggies, I'll use 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables.)

Protein Options:

    I like to use different kinds of leftover protein. The more types of protein, the more interesting this recipe ends up. I'll use steak, fish, turkey and chicken or any combination I have available. Turkey bacon is a good addition in this mixture.

    You need at least 2-3 cups cooked/cubed protein. It can be hot or cold. Set aside.

    Check out the Food Nutrient Database to find out how much protein, carbs and fats are in over 6,000 foods, click here.


Start with left over white rice. Store left over white rice in a zip lock in the refrigerator to use for this recipe.

The rice needs to be cold or it will turn out gooey!

    Step 1:

    • Use large non-stick skillet
    • Spray with non-stick spray
    • Heat: med
    • 16 oz. chicken breast raw, boneless, cubed
    • Cook chicken until done (no pink left). Sprinkle lightly with low sodium garlic salt.
    • Set aside

    Step 2:

    • Rinse pan
    • Spray with non-stick spray.
    • Heat: med
    • Cook 8 - 10 egg whites + 1 yolk in the bottom of pan. It will form one cooked circle. While cooking, sprinkle slightly with black pepper.
    • Remove from pan and slice into squares or strips.
    • Set aside.

    Step 3:

    • Spray with non-stick spray, again. (Wash if necessary, and then spray)
    • Heat: med - high
    • add:
    • Chopped raw veggies
    • 3-4 crushed garlic cloves
    • 1/2 c. mushrooms
    • 1/2 c. carrots
    • 1/2-cup celery
    • 1/2 c. asparagus
    • 1/2 cup colored sweet peppers

      (If I don't have fresh veggies, I'll use 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables.)

    Step 4:

    • Stir-fry for 2 minutes
    • Spray top of veggies lightly with non-stick spray.
    • add:
    • 1-3 cups of cold white rice
    • 2 oz light soy sauce
    • 2 oz. teriyaki sauce (Yoshida's)
    • garlic salt to taste
    • pinch splenda/sugar
    • pinch black pepper
    • optional: 1 oz. freshly grated ginger root

    Step 5:

    • Let rice cook with the vegetables for 5-7 minutes.
    • Stir frequently.

    Step 6:

    • Add cooked protein and eggs.
    • Stir together for 2-3 minutes (carefully, trying not to chop the eggs up too much).
    • Add more soy sauce to taste
    • Sprinkle with chopped green onions

    This will make approximently 4 servings (2 cups each).

* This meal travels well in Tupperware containers. Plastic fork needed. *

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