Richmond's Pantry

Pro Triathlete Julie Patterson

Photography By Shell B Royster | August 23, 2015
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Photo courtesy of Julie Patterson

As a PhD student in pharmaco-economics at Virginia Commonwealth University and a professional triathlete who does two workouts a day, Julie Patterson has very little free time and is also on a tight budget. Here are the go-to ingredients that fuel her high-powered athletic engine with quick, healthy and affordable meals.

Polenta is filling and pretty inexpensive. Also, I have Celiac’s disease so finding carbohydrate options can be hard. I get Woodson’s Mill cornmeal, about two pounds for about $6. One cup of that makes three cups of cooked polenta. That’s two meals for me, although for the average person it would probably be many more.


Since I’m not buying a lot of ingredients, one way to get flavor is spend a little money on high quality spices. I use mostly Linda’s Garden Chipotle Blend and Italian Blend. I add the Italian Blend to polenta and the Chipotle to stir-fried chicken or tofu.

I’m not a vegetarian but proteins can be expensive. Tofu and tempeh are more reasonably priced. I buy Twin Oaks tempeh already frozen to keep on hand. That means fewer shopping trips for me and it’s ready to go when I want to make a stir fry with whatever veggies are fresh and in season.  

Ice Cream is my guilty pleasure. The best thing about Homestead Creamery vanilla ice cream is that it’s so rich I can’t eat exorbitant amounts at one time. It’s always a mistake when I buy cheaper ice cream. I eat it so fast that it doesn’t last. But with this, I eat one cup and I’m satisfied.


Last summer I went to Swift Creek Berry Farm to pick blueberries. I bring them home and spread them out on a tray to freeze them, then they’re nice and separated. If you just throw them in a bag they can freeze together. I use them for smoothies and blueberry pancakes. Mostly the pancakes.  

Kefir is a good source of dairy protein. I use it in smoothies with frozen fruit, bananas, a little protein powder and maybe some V-8 to thin it out. Lifeway’s peach flavor is my favorite. This morning I put some of that on cantaloupe and there was some left over so I just drank it plain.  

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