Fuel to go for the gold
Phelps' fuel aside, the average athlete consumes a more conservative mix of high-quality carbs, lean proteins and veggies. Swimmer Dara Torres, for example, typically downs berry smoothies with milk and fruit for breakfast and dinners of mixed green salads, lasagna with turkey and spinach, garlic bread and green beans. And the breakfast of champions for Canadian triathlete Lauren Groves? Whole-grain bread with almond butter, scrambled eggs, fruit and a cup of coffee.
An Olympic spread
It's a good thing, then, that these athletes have plenty of options in the Olympic Village's food hall. The facility, which seats up to 6,000 people, features an international spread, including delicacies from Japan, Thailand, the Mediterranean, Africa and India.
Not surprisingly, thirty percent of the food served is Chinese, including prawns, noodles, egg rolls and stir-fry. And while the salad bar's a popular spot, the biggest draw throughout the food hall is the all-you-can-eat McDonald's. There, Olympians can chow down on burgers, fries and chicken nuggets throughout the day. And for dessert? A soft-serve ice cream bar, plus plenty of pies, cakes and fortune cookies!
Customized Olympic cuisine
But for many Olympians, those bottomless buffets just don't cut it for their carefully calculated nutrition plans. Some countries, like South Korea, hired chefs to provide personalized, performance-based menus for each of their athletes. The US also sent 22 recent culinary grads to Beijing to serve up customized meals to such teams as the men's volleyball squad, who carbo load on pasta and veggie dishes prior to a game. Protein-packed steaks and grilled chicken or fish also provide enough energy to fuel the athletes through all of the Olympic action.
Working up an Olympic-sized appetite? Check out the SheKnows.com Food and Recipes Channel
for plenty of gold-medal meals.