8 Healthy Eating Tips From the Best Athletes in the World

The Sochi Winter Game have us thinking about how top athletes get into peak performing condition. Of course, they owe a lot of their success to hours in the gym and on the snow or ice, but what about the other important aspect of optimal performance? We’re talking about nutrition. Yes, these athletes spend almost as much time thinking about what goes in their body as they do about how to make their bodies do all the twists, turns, and flips you see on TV. That’s why we’ve gathered up a few of our favorite healthy eating tips from the stars of Sochi.

1. Don’t skip breakfast.

“I almost always have oatmeal in the morning — organic slow-cooked oats, which keeps me full for an entire morning. I usually throw in some fruit and some sort of protein like peanut butter or sunflower butter.” — Heather McPhie, freestyle skier, Cosmo

2. Protein is King.

“I love going to steakhouses. That’s my thing. I usually eat a pretty big steak the night before I compete.” — Shaun White,  snowboarder, AskMen

3. Be prepared.

“I bring a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for the hill.” —Julia Mancuso, skiier, Health

4. Recovery nutrition is vital.

“As a post-workout snack, I’ve started drinking chocolate milk as a recovery drink. From what I hear from my nutritionist, it’s the right balance of fats, carbs, and proteins.” —Kelly Clark, snowboarder, Cosmo

5. Looks can be deceiving.

“Curling is often still considered a beer-drinking sport, so the importance of diet is still up and coming. At the last Olympics, there was a lot of talk about eating pizza and McDonald’s all the time, so that’s definitely changing. We have to make sure we’re getting the best nutrition to keep our brain fueled so we can focus for the two and half hours we’re on the ice. We’re also training a lot more off the ice with weight lifting and making sure the body is getting the vitamins.” —Jessica Schultz, curler, Cosmo

6. Food is fuel.

“I am training at such a high level that I actually could eat anything and get by. But as my coach always says, your body is like a car, and food is like your fuel. I am a race car so I can’t just put unleaded fuel in my car. I need that good premium fuel.” —Lolo Jones, bobsledder, Women’s Health

7. Stay away from processed foods.

“The main thing for all athletes is, don’t get sick! I try to stay away from processed foods because I know they’re not good for my body. Eating them is one way that you can get sick.” — J.R. Celski, speed skater, The Uniter

8. Keep portions in check.

“For me it’s all about portion control. I love food and I never want to have to give up too much for my sport.” —Ashley Wagner, figure skater, Today

Who is your favorite athlete in The Sochi Winter Games?

Photo credit: www.adamglanzmanphotography.com | ex_magician

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Cassie Johnston is an award-winning food writer and recipe developer living and working in Southern Indiana. Her work has been feature in national publications such as Gourmet Magazine and The Huffington Post. Cassie’s a big fan of strenuous hikes, cheese, watching sports, Brussels sprouts, and craft beer, and she’ll talk your ear off about her love of local food and seasonal eating. She’s obsessed with social media and loves connecting with new friends!