Everything You'll Find In Jill Biden's Daily Diet

The First Lady of the U.S., Dr. Jill Biden, has a doctorate in educational leadership and still works as a community college professor of English (per NPR). Dr. Biden also manages to run five miles per day, five days per week (according to CNN). Furthermore, as the White House administration reports, she advocates for the needs of military members and their families and caregivers. She also works on behalf of cancer patients and their families as well as championing quality and accessible education. This is all in addition to being a wife, mother, and grandmother.

You might then wonder what the Jill Biden daily diet consists of so that she can have enough nutrition to carry her through a busy day. Well, it turns out she follows a lot of the recommendations you often hear: A balanced diet with fruits and vegetables, protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. She also allows herself to indulge in her favorite treats — in moderation.

Jill Biden starts her day with a cup of joe

Like 154 million of her fellow U.S. adults (per The Journal of Nutrition), Dr. Biden drinks coffee. In fact, she and her husband President Joe Biden have coffee together each morning before starting their days (according to CNN).

You have likely heard conflicting reports about the health benefits of coffee. However, according to the Cleveland Clinic, it has many health benefits as long as you have it in moderation. Registered dietician Andrea Dunn told Cleveland Clinic that coffee contains B vitamins and potassium. B vitamins play a role in the process your body uses to get energy from food, according to MedlinePlus. Potassium is needed for nerve function and muscle contraction (per MedlinePlus).

Coffee also contains caffeine, a stimulant that can provide a boost of energy along with helping to perk up your mood and overall brain power (per Cleveland Clinic). Furthermore, one meta-analysis in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that in comparison to a placebo, caffeine actually improved performance of endurance exercise like running — so it's possible that coffee helps Dr. Biden's running goals (via CNN).

Dr. Biden eats breakfast daily

People magazine reported that the First Lady makes breakfast for herself and her husband. Of the two of them, she is the cook — indeed, the President was clear that it's Jill who makes their eggs. On days that she has to leave early to teach, Dr. Biden told Marie Claire that she still has a quick breakfast before she heads out the door.

Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? A review in the journal The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society states that from the research thus far, there is no clear effect of regularly eating — or skipping — breakfast on your body mass composition or metabolism. What's important is whether or not you consume enough calories over the course of the day for your activity level. That said, the researchers note that you put out more energy in the morning if you eat compared to if you don't. So if you have to work in the mornings, breakfast can give you the fuel you need to push through to lunchtime. This might be why Dr. Biden makes sure she has her yogurt and toast even if she has to — or because she has to — teach early classes.

Dr. Biden sometimes eats yogurt in the mornings

Dr. Biden told Marie Claire that she eats yogurt as part of a fast breakfast on the mornings when she has to leave early to teach. Yogurt is packed tightly with nutrition including calcium, probiotics, and protein (per an article in the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications). As reported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), your body needs calcium for bone health. And probiotics are healthy bacteria of various types that are involved in bodily processes such as food digestion (according to NIH).

Protein is not only needed for your muscles but also for other functions, such as the process by which oxygen is carried to all parts of your body (per WebMD). Certified chef and nutrition educator Dr. Michelle Hauser of Harvard Medical School says that protein also helps you to feel full for a longer period of time. So, not only can yogurt give Dr. Biden some of the protein needed to keep her body ticking along at optimal capacity, it probably helps her feel full and satisfied while teaching her morning classes.

Vegetables make a healthy snack

Dr. Biden told People that she and the President started taking advantage of the White House Kitchen Garden since they moved in, consuming fresh veggies like cauliflower, radishes, kale, broccoli, and turnips. As shown on Michelle Obama's Instagram account, Dr. Biden even gifted a basket of the fresh produce to the Obama family.

Biden explained to Parade that she tries to add as many vegetables as she can to her cooking to lighten up her dishes. She also shared that fresh vegetables are a staple for her. During a busy travel schedule, she will often try to have vegetables on hand to snack on. Vegetables may not seem very filling — and they do have fewer calories than carbs, protein, and fat (via University of Notre Dame). However, Better Health Channel notes that they contain important micronutrients — things like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants — that our bodies need for overall health (per Healthline). 

Jill Biden enjoys salad at dinner

In addition to vegetables that she can carry with her when traveling, Dr. Biden also enjoys leafy greens. As reported by Parade, the Bidens' Sunday family dinners often include a green salad. And Eater magazine reported that when she had dinner with a friend at the Italian restaurant Don Angie in Manhattan, she started her meal with a chrysanthemum salad. Chrysanthemum greens are a common herb in some Asian cuisines, and chrysanthemum flowers look similar to daisies (per Rutgers University). They are also full of nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and folate, among others. Despite Jill's appreciation for salad, though, the Bidens reportedly avoid serving it at state dinners so that guests do not have to worry about the awkward experience of having greens stuck in their teeth (per The Washington Post).

The White House Kitchen Garden produces many leafy greens as well as other vegetables, reported People magazine. Leafy greens have a greater concentration of certain nutrients compared to other vegetables. In fact, researchers in the Department of Nutrition at Arizona State University East have proposed a food pyramid that actually divides the vegetable food group into two groups — vegetables and green leafy vegetables — in order to give your body a wider range of nutrients. Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, for instance, contain folate, which is important for good heart health, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). And a study published in the journal Neurology found that eating leafy greens was related to slower cognitive decline among older adults.

You can always find fruit in the Bidens' kitchen

The Washington Post reported that fruit is a staple in the Biden White House. The President and First Lady ask that their kitchen be stocked with apples and red grapes in particular. Apples are not only easy to have on the go, but they also provide vitamin C and fiber (per Harvard School of Public Health). It is best to eat apples with their skins, as the skins provide much of the fiber. Red grapes also contain vitamin C as well as calcium, and they are low in calories (via the California Department of Education).

Though fruit has abundant nutritious perks, it's also important not to go overboard with it — fruit has downsides like any food, and should be eaten in moderation. For one, the main sugar in fruit is fructose (per Harvard Health Publishing) and your cells do not use fructose for energy — instead, it gets stored as fat (according to BMC Biology). Second, increasing fiber in your diet too quickly can cause gas, bloating, and cramps (according to MedlinePlus). Therefore, if you plan to eat more fruit, do it slowly and in limited quantities. The USDA recommends that the average person consumes 2 cups of fruit each day.

Almonds are a favorite snack of Dr. Biden

Dr. Biden told Parade that she also likes to snack on almonds as they are easily portable, which is especially helpful during a busy travel schedule. Plus, almonds are packed with nutrition. For example, just ½ cup of whole almonds has more than 15 grams of protein, 193 milligrams of magnesium, and more than 340 milligrams of phosphorus (according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture). National Institutes of Health reports that magnesium plays an important role in regulating blood sugar and blood pressure, and in making protein. Phosphorus is another mineral that helps your kidneys to function and to have a normal heartbeat (per Medline Plus).

In addition to being great snacks on the go, there are numerous ways to consume almonds. You can mix them into smoothies, add them to homemade energy bars, drink almond milk, or use almond flour in your baking. However, note that almond skins have a lot of their nutrition (per Antioxidants), so however you eat them, you may want to keep the skins.

Dr. Biden's diet gives her lots of fiber

Since the First Lady enjoys foods like vegetables, leafy greens, apples, and almonds regularly, she gets a healthy amount of fiber in her daily diet. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate you need for a healthy digestive system, and it might also reduce risk of colon cancer (per University of Massachusetts). Fiber is found in the skins and seeds of fresh fruit and vegetables. And half a cup of almonds provides almost 9 grams of fiber (via the USDA). 

There are two types of fiber: Soluble and insoluble (per Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health). Soluble fiber — found in foods like lentils and apples — dissolves in water and forms a gel. This helps to slow the digestive process, which helps prevent blood-sugar spikes and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. This fiber also feeds the good bacteria in your gut, helping to keep your microbiome healthy. Insoluble fiber — found in leafy greens and almonds — does not dissolve in water. Therefore, it moves directly through your digestive tract, bulking up your poop so it passes more easily, helping you avoid constipation (per Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health).

Jill Biden loves making chicken parmesan

Jill Biden loves to cook, and for her, meals are more than just about the food — they are about family, reported The Washington Post. Dr. Biden loves spending time in the kitchen cooking with a glass of wine by the stove and her family hanging around. One of her favorite recipes to make is chicken parmesan, and she shared her family recipe with Parade magazine. In fact, the First Lady has made the dish so often that she doesn't need to consult the recipe anymore. In addition to this chicken dish, Biden — who is of Italian heritage (per CNN) — grew up eating her grandmother's homemade meatballs (via Parade). So, with some of her favorite Italian comfort foods, Biden is able to take in ample quantities of protein, a macronutrient that is abundant in animal sources like chicken and beef (via Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health).

If you are vegetarian or vegan, though, no need to worry: You do not have to eat meat to get your needed amount of protein (according to MedlinePlus). Other good sources include dairy, eggs, beans, legumes, and nut butters. Protein is a major nutrient your body needs, not only for building muscle but also to repair cells and make new ones. According to Harvard Health Publishing, scientists are still studying the ideal amount of protein that should be consumed, but if you are pretty active, about 10% of your total calories should come from protein.

Pasta is a family favorite for the Bidens

As an Italian American, Dr. Biden loves cooking Italian food — and that includes pasta. According to The Washington Post, both the First Lady and President enjoy pasta with red sauce, especially angel hair pasta. Their family dinners on Sundays often include rigatoni alongside the chicken parmesan, Dr. Biden told Parade. And per an Associated Press report, she helped culinary students at a U.S. Defense Department school in Italy make fresh ravioli and noodles. 

Of course, you probably know that pasta in general is high in carbohydrates (per Healthline). The word "carbs" has earned a negative connotation in recent years, and folks going "low carb" has become common (via WebMD). However, carbohydrates are your body's main source of energy, and in fact, the USDA recommends that 45-65% of your calories come from carbohydrates (per Kansas State University). Making sure you have the right balance of carbohydrates, fat, and protein is important because there can be nutritional deficits with high-protein diets that include very few carbs (per the BBC GoodFood). For Dr. Biden, having enough carbs in her diet may help fuel her daily running routine. Consulting with a registered dietician may be the best way to learn how to construct the right diet for your needs and activity level (per Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics).

When it comes to treats, Dr. Biden believes in moderation

Dr. Biden's healthy diet does not mean that she doesn't allow herself to indulge in her favorite treats, reported The Washington Post. She especially loves French fries and martinis. Another favorite of the First Lady is chunky oatmeal cookies with cranberries and chocolate — she shared the recipe with the Boston Globe. Another staple in the Biden fridge is ice cream, which is President Joe Biden's vice (per The Washington Post). 

Having a "cheat day" — the one day of the week that some people choose to deviate from their normal diet and indulge — has become a trend. The BBC shared conflicting views on whether or not cheat days are beneficial. For some people, a cheat day can be a reward to look forward to after six days of healthy eating. For others, it might be a slippery slope leading to an excessive binge. Yet another opinion is that a cheat day could improve your metabolism because your body doesn't get used to the same foods and number of calories. So whether or not cheat days work depends on the individual. Dietitian Renee McGregor told the BBC that no food is "good" or "bad," but rather it depends on how much of it you eat, and how often you eat it. McGregor also says that enjoyment is also an important part of eating, not nourishment alone. So, like Dr. Biden, you too can probably enjoy your favorite unhealthy foods in moderation.