Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce is one of the most dominant tight ends in NFL history.
The 6-foot-5, 260-pound superstar requires roughly 4,000 calories to fuel his body each day.
He quells that massive appetite with tons of protein, sweets, and occasional junk food.
Travis Kelce is hungry for more than just touchdowns.
The 6-foot-5, 260-pound superstar tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs demands an absurd amount of grub to fuel his standout efforts on the football field. During a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Kelce confirmed that he consumes "roughly 4,000" calories each day.
By comparison, men in his age range typically require about 2,200 to 3,000 calories a day, according to the USDA's Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
But how, exactly, does the future Hall of Famer quell his seemingly insatiable appetite? We found answers from his childhood friend turned personal chef, Mama Kelce and Papa Kelce, and the man himself.
Kelce's protein-rich diet can be described as 'healthy steakhouse cuisine'
Back in 2016, the tight end asked his longtime friend, Kumar Ferguson, to help him get a handle on his diet and nutrition so he can improve how he fuels up for football. The ex-truck driver answered the call; he quit his job and headed to Kansas City.
Ferguson takes the job quite seriously, and told Startland News that "everything about Travis' diet and what we do is intentional."
"Everything is for fuel, for comfort, hydration, nutrition. There is purpose behind every dish," Ferguson added. "You go into the grocery store with that mindset. You go into the kitchen with that mindset. You put that intention into the food and then you hope that it translates to optimized health."
Ferguson described his approach to Kelce's diet as "healthy steakhouse cuisine" featuring "steaks, chops, chicken, and stuff like that." The tight end loves a good filet most of all, Chef Ku told Startland News.
Sure enough, Kelce ordered a "dry-aged filet rubbed with coffee, Caesar salad (hold the anchovies), a side of 'triple-cooked' fries, and a glass of water" when he and WSJ writer J.R. Moehringer dined at a steakhouse in downtown Kansas City. And after he joined global superstar Taylor Swift on tour in Buenos Aires, Kelce lauded the "good food" the pair found south of the equator during an episode of the podcast, "New Heights," he co-hosts with his brother, Philadelphia Eagles starting center Jason Kelce.
"We had some empanadas and steak," Kelce said. "They're big on all the different cuts of meat. Got some good steak down there, man."
Kelce's diet these days isn't too far off from what he ate when he lived back home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. On an episode of "New Heights," their dad, Ed, insisted that the brothers ate "meat, protein with every meal."
Their mom, Donna, told Food and Wine that she fed her sons "a lot of chicken, meat, pasta, a lot of carbs" that they washed down with gallons of milk. She also told Moehringer that her sons "would sit down and eat whole chickens" as adolescents.
Though he's cleaned up his diet in recent years, Kelce still enjoys some junk food
According to their dad, who joined his sons on an episode of "New Heights," the Kelce brothers ate plenty of Hamburger Helper and Bagel Bites throughout their childhood. The family also regularly ordered in from Georgio's Oven Fresh Pizza, a local pizza chain in Northeast Ohio, Ed said.
Years later and more than 1,000 miles to the east, the younger Kelce brother is still apt to "get some type of pizza sent over to the house" when he hosts friends and family for home games in Kansas City, he told Inside Hook. Sometimes, he even opts to "ask a food truck to stop by," he told the outlet.
Kelce isn't above eating fast food from time to time, either. He and Jason ranked their favorite burgers from popular drive-through joints on "New Heights," and the Chiefs star picked the Burger King Whopper, Wendy's Baconator, and In-N-Out Double-Double as his top three, respectively. They can hold the mayo and onion, as far as he's concerned.
He likes a fast food breakfast, too. A McDonald's commercial that aired during the 2020 Super Bowl revealed that Kelce's go-to order from the Golden Arches is a McGriddle, two sausage McMuffins with egg, a hashbrown, and a cup of black coffee.
He has quite a prominent sweet tooth
Kelce's diet may look as though it leans savory, but the big man loves to indulge in a sugary treat whenever he can.
He's been very open about the fact that "every pregame meal has been French toast and strawberries since I've been on the Chiefs," as he told Inside Hook in 2022. Moehringer also wrote in his WSJ profile that Kelce is apt to eat his French toast "dripping with whipped cream and syrup."
The eight-time Pro Bowler's love for sweets transcends the breakfast table, however. His mom told Food and Wine that her younger son loves any dessert that features white chocolate. She also recalled whipping up "marshmallow rolls" for her boys when they were kids.
"You put a marshmallow in the middle of crescent roll dough with cinnamon sugar and when you bake them the marshmallow turns into a sweet coating on the inside," Mama Kelce told Food and Wine. "So good, but only an occasional treat."
The Chiefs star has even turned to sweets during NFL games. According to Mashed, Kelce would sometimes eat a fistful of gummy bears to help give him energy during the final minutes of play.
He's since found a healthier, though similarly sweet, alternative to Haribos. Kelce founded and co-owns a line of nutritious performance gummies called Hilo that he now leans on for his end-of-game boost.
Believe it or not, there are some foods Kelce doesn't like
Sure, Kelce has quite a healthy appetite. But that doesn't mean that he'll eat just anything; he has preferences just like anyone else.
During his dad's appearance on "New Heights," Kelce pushed back on the idea that he regularly ate vegetables growing up. He certainly gave off the impression that he wasn't keen on consuming anything green, and he's cited spinach as a food he eats solely because it's good for him.
Kelce won't eat foods housed in a "casing" of some kind, such as hotdogs and sausage links. He admitted on an episode of "New Heights" that tubular meats freak him out, with Polish Boys — a sausage sandwich native to Cleveland — serving as his one exception.
And while he isn't explicitly anti-ketchup, Kelce definitely is not as much of an enthusiast as his good friend and quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. Whereas the two-time NFL MVP will slather almost anything in ketchup, his favorite target finds it "absolutely disgusting" that he'll use the condiment on eggs and various other foods, as Kelce told Inside Hook.
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