Derby Fuel

This is your home base, where all your Derby Fuel content lives!

Welcome! Here’s a table of contents for what you’ll find on this page. Click the links to scroll straight to the content you’re looking for.

ENGINE MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST – your five daily habits
START YOUR ENGINE – your Jump Start Guide
PREMIUM UNLEADED FUEL – what to put in your tank.
CHOOSE YOUR ROADMAP – Make Derby Fuel Your Own



For those of us just meeting, my real name is Laura (derby name: Lilith NoFair), I live in Guelph, Ontario, and I’m a nutrition coach, kettlebell specialist, and general roller derby person.

I’m not your typical healthy-living coach – I didn’t play sports growing up, I didn’t spend my formative years in the gym. I went to Theatre School, for goodness sake… Somewhere along the way, I started playing roller derby.  And everything changed.  I realized that if I wanted to succeed in this crazy sport, I would have to start acting like an athlete… 

>> Click to read my full welcome to the program here!



Your five daily habits for success on the Derby Fuel road!

This is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the entire plan. These are the habits that will keep you eating well for a lifetime. Make sure that you’re familiar with each of the road markers, and are applying them with each meal and snack.

There are a few simple guidelines that this meal plan is structured around. If you decide to go off-road (and venture into your own recipes or modify the ones included), keep these benchmarks in mind.  

Make sure to print this checklist from your downloads in the My Account area, and post it somewhere prominent!

1 – Eat every 2-4 hours
Eating every 2-4 hours (not necessarily a full meal, but something), will help to keep your energy and blood sugar stable, and will keep you from becoming so ravenous that you make off-plan choices. Refer to the “Time to Fuel Up” section below for more information!

2 – Eat vegetables with every meal or snack
Simple, right? Just make sure you’ve got some veggies included every time you eat. We’ll give you lots of snacks, meals and shakes that ALL have veggies on the menu.

3 – Eat complete, lean protein with every meal or snack
Whether you are a carnivorous competitor or a no-meat athlete, you need to be getting protein in with every feeding opportunity. All of your meals, snacks and shakes in this plan have a complete protein included in them.

4 – A good percentage of your diet should come from balanced healthy fats
On average about 25-35% of your diet should be made up of a balance of types of fats (See the Premium Unleaded Fuels section on this page). Eat an even balance of saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, and balance your Omega 3s and Omega 6s. This means lots of animal products, butter or coconut oil for your saturated fats; nuts, seeds, olives and olive oil for your MUFAs; and fish/krill/algae/flax oil and nuts for your PUFAs.

5 – 90% is as good as 100%
To maintain your sanity, don’t aim for 100% compliance all the time. The results you achieve with 90% compliance are more or less exactly the same as 100%. So, allow yourself foods that aren’t on the plan, but only 10% of the time.

Optional Bonus Habit
If fat loss is your goal, keep your starchy carbs post-exercise.
If you are aiming to gain weight, you can ignore this marker, but if you’re aiming to lose fat and gain lean muscle mass, make sure that you keep your starchy carbohydrates to the meal immediately following your training sessions. Your body will be most carb-tolerant and insulin sensitive at that time, and will better process the carbs into energy. This plan will give you options both with and without starchy carbs – just be aware of what you’re eating and when.




The Derby Fuel Jump Start Guide

Do not hit the road without this guide! What’s inside? Tips and suggestions for how to make your kitchen work for you, grocery shopping and food prep tips, and helpful hints. Don’t leave home without it!!

> > Grab the Derby Fuel Jump Start Guide here.



What to Put in Your Tank.

I know you’re not here to get heavy into nutritional science, but it’s helpful to understand why eating better will help to make you feel and perform better.



This includes animal products like lean meat, fish, as well as vegetable-derived proteins like soy and pea proteins. When you eat protein, it is broken down into amino acids in your body. These amino acids do ALL SORTS of awesome things for your body. They’re involved in many body functions in almost every system of your body. Proteins also make up the majority of the structural tissues in your body – muscles, bones, skin, connective tissues.

On top of being important for body regeneration and system functioning, eating protein also releases glucagon, a hormone that tells your liver to release stored carbohydrates from your body’s glycogen stores and from fat. It also inhibits insulin release (insulin is a hormone that encourages fat storage). When we talk about needing to eat protein to help burn fat, this is what we’re talking about. There are about 20 different amino acids needed by the body, and 9 of them (the essential amino acids) need to be acquired from food. If your body doesn’t get the right amount of protein, it will actually start breaking down muscle tissue to feed itself – not what you want for better derby performance!

An appropriate amount of protein for an active person aiming to gain muscle is roughly one gram per day, per pound of bodyweight. It’s slightly less for those who want to maintain or who want to lose fat. You can find good protein sources in:

  • Fish and shellfish
  • Beef, bison, pork, wild game
  • Chicken, turkey
  • Eggs
  • Nuts, Seeds, Grains – eg. quinoa and oatmeal, however these don’t contain all the essential amino acids and are not considered complete proteins
  • Beans – soy beans, white beans, black beans, kidney beans
  • Spirulina,
  • Chlorella Vegetables – eg. avocado, broccoli, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes (again, not complete sources, but good nonetheless)
  • Dairy – Greek yogurt, milk, cheeses


Carbs get a bad rap – but your body needs carbohydrates to survive. They give you your energy stores and are your best source of continuous energy. Basically, carbs are sugar and starch which your body converts into glucose molecules to be used for immediate energy needs to to be stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. The more active you are, the quicker you go through your reserves of glycogen, but you need to be careful to eat the right type of carbs at the right time to keep your energy balance.

When your body has too much glucose that cannot be used for energy needs or stored as glycogen, the body converts it and stores it as fat. Eating carbs in moderate amounts throughout your day ensures that you’ll have an even source of energy through the day and that your reserves will be kept intact.

Another neat thing, the more muscle you have, the more glycogen you can store (also the more carbs you’ll need to support your active lifestyle). It’s easy to avoid having carbs stored as fat, just make sure that the majority of your carbohydrates are coming from simple carb sources (the closer to how they grow in nature, the better), and that your starchy and sugary carbs are being consumed around your training sessions.

Make sure you’re eating a lots of leafy greens for both dietary fiber and healthy carbs – they’ll help you to feel full, give you all sorts of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, help to promote a healthy digestive system and keep you regular, and are generally one of the cornerstones to a complete healthy diet.

Some healthy sources of carbohydrates:

  • Gluten-free grains: Amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, rice (all varieties, but especially wild, long-grain, and brown), sorghum, teff, oats, corn (in moderation)
  • Gluten-containing grains: Wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, triticale
  • Leafy and cruciferous vegetables: (Eat lots of these!) Kale, celeriac, spinach, endive, fennel, radicchio, chard, watercress, romaine, arugula, carrots, brussel sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, onions, artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, collards, eggplant, garlic, leeks, radishes
  • Starchy vegetables: (These fill you up more quickly, so you won’t need as much of them) Sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, pumpkin, squash, yams
  • Low sugar fruits: Apples, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, grapefruit, prunes, plums, peaches, pears, oranges, grapes, apricots
  • Medium sugar fruits: Bananas (higher in sugar when very ripe), kiwi, mango, figs, raisins, cantaloupe, papaya, pineapple
  • High sugar fruits: Dates, watermelon


Fats are more calorically dense than proteins or carbs, so it’s really important to be getting them from whole, healthy sources. When you’re eating the right fats, they will actually help your body get rid of stored fat, and five you fatty acids needed to better utilize the nutrients you’re taking in.

Balance is the key to fat intake. There are three types of fat: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) raise good HDL cholesterol, lower bad LDL cholesterol, and protect against the buildup of plaque in your arteries. You can find this type of fat in nuts, seeds, avocados, peanuts, olives.

Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are divided into two categories – Omega 3s and Omega 6s. Omega 6 is found in vegetable oils, whereas Omega 3 is found in fish, krill and algae oils. Our balance between the two types of PUFAs should be roughly 1:1, but with much of our meat coming from feedlot animals, and many processed foods containing vegetable oil products, a typical diet can often look more like 20:1. To better your health and performance, cut the processed food, up your fish intake and take your fish oil!

You’ll want to keep your intake to about a third of your diet for each type of fat. The Western diet tends to skew very heavily towards saturated fat, so be mindful and get a good deal of your fat intake from the other two types.

Some great fat sources:

  • Nuts and seeds: Walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, pecans, cashews, flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, pine nuts, filberts
  • Dairy (if tolerant): Butter, Greek yogurt, ghee
  • Protein-rich healthy fat sources: Eggs, grass-fed meats, organic and farm-raised poultry, liver, wild- caught fish
  • Plants: Avocado, olives, coconut, peanuts, soybeans
  • Oils: olive oil, walnut oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, peanut oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil
  • Fish: salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, herring, lake trout, and cod liver oil, sardines, bluefish

Fats to avoid:  Trans fats and hydrogenated oils. Just keep them out of your life.

If you’re eating clean, whole foods, you’ll also be getting your vitamins and minerals from your meals. If you’re just starting out with healthier eating, and still have a lot of processed food included in your day-to-day, you might want to consider adding a multi-vitamin to your daily regimen.

And finally, be mindful about your nutrient sources. The closer a food is to its natural state, the more nutrient dense it likely is.

Processing can strip a food of its natural benefits. For example, when you refine sugar you strip the vitamins that are found in molasses from the sugar cane. While a teaspoon of molasses and a teaspoon of table sugar have the same amount of calories (about 15), you’re losing potassium, magnesium and other minerals if you choose the table sugar.

And here’s the sticky bit – if you choose the table sugar, your brain will stimulate you to eat more because it is searching for those lost nutrients. The less nutrient-dense a food is, the more your body tells you to eat. So eat as close to nature as you can, and let your brain re-learn its hunger and satiety signals.



+ Your Weekly Tracker

For any dietary change to happen, you need to know two things – what you want to change, and what you’re doing to make that change. The simplest way to figure out both is to track your current intake, and track as you make changes.

Before you eat, do one of these two things:
Enter your meal into a tracker like myfitnesspal – OR – Take a picture of it.

Taking the time to track (visually or journalling) makes you accountable for your choices, and sometimes gives you that half-second break to be mindful about what you’re going to consume.

After you eat, give your meal a rating out of 3 on the provided tracking sheets:

  • 3 for totally compliant and 100% nailing it
  • 2 for 80% compliant with a couple of challenges or added ingredients that go off-road a bit
  • 1 for totally or mostly off-plan, but moving on! (this also includes your 10% meals, but you can give them a *)
  • 0 for a skipped meal

Tracking like this, while it seems arbitrary, will quickly give you a sketch of patterns that might exist in your dietary intake – days where it’s tougher, or moods that bring back troublesome habits. Don’t judge the number you write down, just track it and move on. Each week, aim for your total number to be higher than the last!

Make sure you also track when your training sessions are happening, and how those affect your dietary patterns.

Grab your weekly tracking sheets from My Downloads in the My Account area!

Counting calories isn’t fun, and when you get right down to it, the calorie counts on labels are only estimates. So, while I’m asking you to track your food, I’m not asking you to sweat the numbers too hard. We’ll get into ways to determine an appropriate portion size and how best to listen to our body’s hunger signals, instead of obsessing about numbers that are only tangentially accurate. It’s far more important to think about the types of food that you’re putting into your body and what useable nutrients are contained in it, rather than just counting the calories.



How Much to Eat…

Your ideal volume of various nutrients per day will be determined by your daily activities. As long as you’re eating high-quality, whole foods, you can easily adjust the amount you’re eating to suit your needs.

While it might be easier for there to be an “exact right number of calories to eat” and an “exact right way to eat them”, the truth is that life doesn’t work that way. There will be days where you need more, days where you need less, days when you’re sick, days when you’re rehabbing an injury, days when you’re at a tournament. To eat well, you need to know the basics of portioning and nutritional science to help you adapt to those changing conditions like a champ.

A simple portioning tool is right at the end of your arm – your hand!

You can gauge your protein serving by the size of your palm. 1-2 palms per serving is a good rule of thumb.

Carbs can be measured in your cupped hand. Again, 1-2 hands per serving. The more active you are, and the more muscle you carry, the more carbs you’ll need day to day. And we’re talking low-glycemic complex and simple carbs – fruits, veggies, whole grains and whole dairy products – no processed carbs!

Healthy fats get measured with your thumb, 1-2 thumbs per serving.

Fruits, Leafy Greens and Veggies
These get measured with your fist. A leafy green serving should be 2 fists worth, starchy veggies like potatoes and yams should be a half fist.



When to eat what…

Not just what, but when you eat is important too!  Ideally, aim to eat every 2-4 hours.  Frequent eating helps to stimulate your metabolism, balance your blood sugar and helps you maintain lean mass while burning off fat mass.

But that seems like so much eating!

Simplify – let’s assume you’re awake 15 hours out of the day.  Divide that by every 3 hours – which gives you 5 eating opportunities.  Instead of thinking about these as “meals and snacks”, use your schedule as your guide.  Each eating opportunity can be the same size, or some can be smaller and faster, while others can be more elaborate.  Whatever works for your life and your needs. The Weekly Meal Plans in Derby Fuel suggest a couple of snack-sized meals-on-the-run each day to facilitate frequent feeding.

5 meals per day is only a guideline.  If weight loss is your goal, you might eat less frequently (3-4 times/day), if weight gain is your goal, you may need to eat more (up to 8 times/day).

Again, when you’re eating whole, nutrient-dense foods, your body will do a good job of telling you when it’s time for more.

Here’s a tip – when you eat can directly impact your training performance.  Making a point of eating 1-2 hours before your training session, and within an hour after it ends, will do a whole host of good things:

  • Replenish the muscle glycogen that you lose during activity
  • Reduce muscle protein breakdown
  • Increase muscle protein synthesis
  • Reduce post-training soreness and fatigue
  • Enhance recovery
  • Reduce cortisol levels

These pre- and post-training meals should definitely contain both carbs and protein to give you the maximum benefit.

If fat loss is a part of your goal, you should keep your starchy carbs for your post-training meals.  Why?  If you want to lose fat you need most of your carbs to come from fruits and vegetables, with a small amount of additional carbs coming from higher-sugar sources during training and higher-starch sources post-training. You are basically giving your body the goods right when it’s primed to absorb and use them for fuel, instead of storing for later.

If muscle gain is part of your goals, you definitely need carbs pre and post training, but you’ll also need more of them, more of the time. We’ll get further into that in the Choose Your Roadmap section – it’s up next.

When it comes to changing your body composition, this single nutrient timing strategy can make a world of difference.  It’s simple, straightforward and can really kick-start fat loss if you’re willing to commit to it.



Make Derby Fuel Your Own

There is no “one-size-fits-all” in nutrition.  We all have different nutritional needs, tolerances, preferences and goals.  That being said, in a program like this, you have to start with a baseline.

Here’s the thing – you need to be honest with yourself about your level of readiness to take on a meal plan like Derby Fuel.  If you don’t feel great about your nutritional habits, and are really starting from square one, let the meal plans be a suggestion rather than law.  Start with absolutely nailing your 5 Engine Maintenance Daily Habits.  If you can do that, I guarantee your nutrition will improve tenfold.  If you don’t have a ton of cooking skills, stick to the habits, but introduce one or two new recipes to each day per week, instead of trying to tackle all of them.

Let’s put it into terms we all understand, and classify your food knowledge:

  • Fresh Meat – Just learning about nutrition?  Focus on the 5 habits, let the recipes fuel your imagination.
  • Home Team Skater – Got a handle on nutrition, but want to clean it up?  Follow the meal plans and let your body tell you when it’s hungry and when it’s full.
  • Travel Team All-Star – Have a good handle on clean eating, but want to dial it in even more?  Follow the meal plans, but also track your macros so that you can add nutrients as needed to better suit your specific goals.

For the Derby Fuel meal plans, we start with a baseline of 1500-1750 calories per day (for women, 3000-3500 for men), and those numbers can go up (generally not down) depending on your energy needs and goals.  

To find a more precise caloric intake number that fits your situation, as well as guidelines for macronutrients, you can download the Intake Guideline ChartsBut remember, if you classified yourself as a “Fresh Meat” eater above, then don’t worry too much about this stuff. Stick to the basics and just listen to your body.

In Derby Fuel, we’ll give you the meals, but we’ll also give you ideas about how to add specific macronutrients to the plan to better fit your goals.

In the weekly plans, we’ve given you five daily meals – with both pre and post training options (for when you want to load in those starchy carbs).  If your goal is to gain lean mass, you can insert post-training meals whenever you’d like.  If your goal is fat loss (and muscle gain), keep the post-training meals for after your workout.  

Vegetarian Options:

If you are a no-meat athlete, please feel free to substitute your favourite vegetarian proteins into the recipes.  Just make sure that you’re substituting instead of omitting!  This plan is not geared for vegans – sorry guys!  There are a ton of clean eating plans out there that suit vegan needs, but this is not one of them.

Protein Choices:

The weekly meal plans in Derby Fuel use a variety of different proteins from day-to-day.  While this gives you lots of options, sometimes you’ll find a fantastic deal on one particular protein, or won’t want to buy that many different options all at once.

No problem!  Feel free to swap proteins for ones you like better or have on hand.  As long as you include some sort of lean protein in each meal and snack, we’re happy!  Same goes for your veggie options – if there’s a side you don’t like, mix it up. We’ve included a long list of swaps for you to make sure you can find options that work for you.

Food Intolerances:

There may be recipes in Derby Fuel that call for items that you don’t tolerate well (dairy, eggs, nuts) – again, feel free to exchange.

For example, scrambled eggs can be replaced with scrambled tofu and mustard or turmeric.

In baking, eggs can be replaced with ½ banana or ¼ C applesauce (in things like pancakes and muffins), ¼ C silken tofu (in things like brownies) or ¼ C yogurt (in things like brownies) – each substituted ingredient will behave a bit differently in different recipes, so you’ll need to experiment.

Tree nuts can easily be replaced with seeds like chia, hemp and flax.  If you want a crunchier texture, tree nuts can be replaced with sunflower seeds, ground flax meal or pumpkin seeds.  Sun butter is a great nut butter replacement.

Information overload yet?  

While it might be a lot to take in, it’s important to keep in mind that the way you use this plan is personal to you and your goals.  You may follow it to the letter, you may use it as a rough guide, you may just focus on really nailing one single habit change – ALL of those options are okay, since they’re all on the path to nutrition that better supports your athletic goals.  

Just like no one’s derby journey is the same – no one’s diet should be exactly the same.  Take the tools that we give you, and forge your own way!


Here are some common ones you’ll see in the recipes and meal plans:

  • AT = Any Time meal (eat this whenever you like)
  • BSCB = Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • EVOO = Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • MUFA = Monounsaturated Fatty Acid
  • PUFA = Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid
  • PW = Post-Workout meal (if you’re trying to lose body fat, only eat these after training)



The following are all found in your Downloads list in your My Account area:

  • Engine Maintenance Checklist – the 5 Daily Habits
  • Intake Guideline Charts
  • Cooking Conversions & Substitutions
  • Vegetarian Protein Guide
  • Nutrient Swaps
  • The Derby Fuel Recipe Book
  • General Grocery List – items to keep on hand (extras for weekly meal plans are in the Weekly Plan downloads)
  • Quick Fill-Ups – your go-to snacks and smoothies recipes

Your Weekly Plans are found on the week-by-week posts. Click here to scroll back to those!

Additional pages you’ll want to check out: