What USA's Olympians Eat, Both on and Off the Clock

Written By John Richards on Monday, August 6, 2012 | 6:15 PM

We've seen this year's group of Olympians flip, sprint, and leap to fame - awe inspiring to be sure - but mostly, we're curious to find out what fuels these superhuman athletes. While high-protein diets are (not too surprisingly) a resounding trend amongst the group, we were heartened to find that this year's crop of contenders involves some serious foodies. Read on to find out their top picks!
Natalie Coughlin: Known for her prowess both in the water and in the kitchen, Natalie is an ardent gardener, growing a variety of herbs and vegetables and even raising a coop of laying hens in her backyard. Some of her favorite foods include homemade bánh mì sandwiches, fava bean hummus, and open-faced radish and butter sandwiches. She told us that her first post-Olympic race indulgence will be bangers and mash.

Venus Williams
: Venus told FitSugar she's "one of those people that eats to live, not lives to eat," but if she had to choose, her favorite food would be beans and rice, and blackened chicken.

Jordyn Wieber
: A lover of Italian food, Jordyn's favorite place to dine out is Olive Garden. "They have the best food there," she wrote on her website. The gymnast also enjoys snacking on pita bread with hummus and sipping apple cider.

Garrett Weber-Gale
: While perhaps more famous for his swimming achievements, we're (not surprisingly) more interested in his impressive culinary training, a pet project of sorts. In his off time he's staged at such storied restaurants as Daniel, La Maison Troisgros, and Noma. The Olympian even founded Athletic Foodie, where he aims to teach the public about healthy eating.

Marlen Esparza
: The petite flyweight boxer eats a relatively stringent diet of "tons of chicken and egg whites along with protein shakes, fruits, and veggies" during training. That said, when she wants to let loose, she'll occasionally indulge in hot fudge sundaes.

Serena Williams
: While the tennis player generally tries to stick to balanced meals consisting of protein and carbs (such as turkey sausage and baked potatoes), she smartly believes in indulgence in moderation and does not deprive herself. Her favorite celebratory foods are french fries and cheese pizza.

Michael Phelps
: To sustain his hours of daily training, Michael famously eats up to 10,000 calories a day. A typical breakfast involves three sandwiches of fried eggs, cheese, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, and mayonnaise; one omelet, a bowl of grits, and three slices of french toast with powdered sugar; and finally, three chocolate-chip pancakes. We're immensely jealous - this calorie deficit is a problem we wish we had! The swimmer is also sponsored by sandwich giant Subway, where he orders the meatball with jalapeños.

McKayla Maroney
: The champion vaulter enjoys snacking on strawberries, mangoes, and sushi.

Ryan Lochte
: Junk-food fanatic Ryan Lochte has declared his favorite bites to be pizza, wings, chips, and breakfasts from McDonald's (one of the Olympics' official sponsors). Prior to the games, his diet has become more austere and includes healthy staples such as scrambled eggs, fruit and oatmeal for breakfast, and salads or healthy wraps for lunch and dinner.

Misty May-Treanor
: The volleyball star's ideal training meal would include vegetables, rice as a carb, and then meat. She's also a big proponent of adding color to her diet with vegetables and fruits.

Gabby Douglas
: Gabby is a big fan of Mexican and Italian cuisine and regularly snacks on YoCrunch yogurt. "It's like an apple pie in a cup!" she exclaimed. "You have your apples on the bottom, your yogurt in the middle, and pie crust crumbs on top."

Hope Solo
: The soccer goalie's favorite low-calorie snack is cheese and crackers with bell peppers, and her guilty pleasure is Thai food. "I know all the great spots in the cities I frequent," she has said of the cuisine.

Lolo Jones
: The outspoken hurdler enjoys a rich and varied diet, with favorites including baby carrots and dip, crawfish, dark chocolate, steak, and fruit. Off season, her indulgence is super-spicy chicken wings: she once ate 70 in one sitting! 

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