Healthy and Tasty Recipes by the Most Decorated Female Swimmer


Natalie Coughlin is a 12-time Olympic medalist and 20-time World Championship medalist. She is also a very well-known amateur cook. “Amateur” as in she doesn’t cook for a living, but she knows a lot about healthy eating. She even raises her own chickens.

The most decorated female swimmer in World Championships history and one medal shy of becoming the most decorated American female Olympic athlete in history has a few recipes.

“I’d love to write a cookbook,” she says. “Definitely, one of my lifegoals is to write a cook book. I love eating healthy but also eating delicious foods.” Coughlin comes up with her own recipes to show that tasty food that also happened to be good for your body doesn’t have to be plain.

Natalie Coughlin’s Almond Cherry Recovery Smoothie

“When I’ve had a really intense training day, I grab for my Almond Cherry Recovery Smoothie, it’s delicious, filling and helps prevent muscle soreness post-workout!”

Makes 1 serving


1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 frozen banana

1 cup frozen dark cherries

1 tablespoon almond butter


Put all ingredients in a blender and blend. Enjoy!

Natalie Coughlin’s Coconut Almond Chia Pudding

“This pudding is a delicious yet nutritious way to satisfy your sweet tooth.”

Makes 2 servings


1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 tablespoons unsweetened toasted coconut flakes

1 tablespoon crushed almonds


In a medium bowl, blend almond milk with chia seeds and whisk immediately. Set aside for 5 – 10 minutes while the chia seeds expand, then whisk again.

Stir in maple syrup and coconut flakes then divide into two small ramekins or jars. Top with crushed almonds and serve.

The pudding will keep in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 days.

Natalie Coughlin’s Kale Almond Pesto 

“This pesto is a great way to add flavor and nutrition to your pasta, protein or sandwich!”

Makes 2 – 4 servings


1/2 cup almonds

1 bunch of kale 

3 – 5 garlic cloves (depending on your love of it!)

1 – 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (depending on your spice level)

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/4 cup cheese (I like a half/half combo of Parmesan and Pecorino)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 350°F. Place almonds on ungreased baking sheet and bake slightly browned and fragrant, approximately 5 minutes. Set aside.

Blanch kale in boiling water until slightly tender and bright green (approximately 2 – 3 minutes). Remove from water, drain and pat dry.

In a food processor blend kale, almonds, garlic, crushed red pepper, lemon zest and cheese until relatively uniform. With the motor running, pour in the olive oil until it reaches your desired consistency (you may not use all the oil). Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. 

This pesto can be used on pasta, fish or chicken, or as a spread for a sandwich. 

More readings: 

How the Most Decorated Female Swimmer is Getting Ready for the Olympics

What to Eat on Vacation That Won't Wreck Your Diet

19 Winter Superfoods that Won't Break the Bank