How to Eat Like an Olympian

You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to follow an Olympic diet.

By: Chelle Morgan | Photos: Matt Laine
Food Styling: Toni Caroline | Chef: Konstantin Surzikov


The famous 12,000-calorie meal plan consumed by Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps caused a fracas in the health industry after the New York Post claimed Phelps’ first meal of the day consisted of three fried-egg sandwiches, two cups of coffee, a five-egg omelette, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast and three chocolate chip pancakes.

Talk about a breakfast of champions.

But the reality for high-performing athletes is that their diets are not focused on full-on carb-loading or ingesting copious amounts of calories. Their meals are a supplement to their training, with food acting as fuel for the lifestyle they want to lead and the sport they’re dedicated to.

“The diet is one of the most important parts of training, but it isn’t too different from what the non-athlete would have. We're free to eat whatever we want, as long as it's geared towards performance,” explains Olympic speedskater Gilmore Junio.

Not everyone is Michael Phelps at 6’3 and 195lbs of muscle, looking to barrel through the water at top speed. Olympic athletes are tailoring their diets to their specific sport. We talked to three Olympic athletes to see what they really eat from morning to night, as well as their secret indulgence. (Because super-humans are still human, after all.)

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Olympic Speedskater

“I used to travel around with a bag of Honey Nut Cheerios, so I had a little taste of home everywhere I went.”

Breakfast: Two eggs, two pieces of toast
Lunch: Hamburger with a homemade patty and whole grain bun
Dinner: Steak and potatoes
Guilty pleasure: Sugary cereal and milk

Olympic Diver

“It’s important to sometimes let go and not always be super strict. We need to have fun, too. If I want to eat a chocolate bar, then I’ll eat a chocolate bar.”

Breakfast: Granola with Greek yogurt and berries
Lunch: Ham and cheese sandwich with veggies
Dinner: Grilled chicken with a salad and cooked veggies
Guilty pleasure: Chocolate


Olympic Snowboarder

“I'll eat everything within reason. Clean eating really affects my energy, so when I need to perform that’s important. But I live my life. I’m not as regimented about it.”

Breakfast: Oatmeal with spinach, a poached egg and nuts
Lunch: Brown rice veggie bowl with avocado and chickpeas
Dinner: Grilled salmon with salad
Guilty pleasure: Jalapeño cheese puffs

See more from Gilmore Junio, Pamela Ware and Alex Duckworth. Think you have what it takes to be an Olympian? Find out if you have the stamina.