By Michelle Edelbaum, February 16, 2010 - 12:33pm
I love watching the winter Olympics. It’s so exciting to watch the world’s top athletes defy gravity, speed and the normal boundaries of human strength. As I watch the games and munch on my popcorn, I often wonder what Olympic athletes eat before and after their workouts. Power bars, peanut butter and jelly, eggs and toast? What do they put in their bodies to fuel their wins? (And although I’m already incorporating some proven natural fuel foods into my workouts, I think maybe I could get more healthy ideas on pre- and post-workout foods from these pros.)
I recently had the opportunity to ask a few Olympic athletes about their secret-weapon foods.
I talked to fellow Vermonter and snowboarder Hannah Teter, who won the gold medal in the women’s halfpipe at the 2006 Olympics, about her diet. Here’s what she told me:
“I’m basically on an organic-only diet. I don’t go to restaurants that don’t serve organic—ever. I cook at home most of the time and I enjoy eating super-healthy, pesticide-free food all the time... Everyone’s calling me ‘Hannah Organa’ and I think that’s really funny, because they know I’m full-on.”
Don’t you just love the way she talks? If only I could talk like an Olympic snowboarder and get away with it...But back to the food. Teter said that it can be hard to find organic food when she’s traveling, limiting her options, and in Japan, she ate a lot of seaweed salad. Click here to find out which 12 foods you should buy organic.
I e-mailed with speed skater Apolo Ohno, a five-time Olympic medalist, who said he eats coconut chicken curry for his recovery meal. He says it’s the perfect recovery food, with good carbohydrates from rice and potatoes and protein from the chicken. Try this recipe to eat like Apolo: Quick Thai Chicken & Vegetable Curry.
I also had a great time chatting with speed skater Catherine Raney, a three-time Olympian who holds the U.S. women’s records for the 3,000- and 5,000-meter events. She loves to cook, and gave me a great tip. She likes to eat waffles for a pre-training breakfast. So on a weekend, she’ll make up a big batch of waffles and freeze them so that every morning she can pop a waffle in the toaster oven and go! Such a great idea. She makes hers super-healthy: try this recipe for Multi-Grain Waffles.
As much as Raney likes to cook, she keeps her pre-race food really simple: peanut butter and jelly. She doesn’t really like to eat beforehand, but peanut butter and jelly is comfort food for her, giving her calories and substance without affecting her nerves.
Finally I talked with bobsledder Erin Pac, who placed sixth in the 2009 World Championship bobsled event and is considered a force to be reckoned with this Olympics. Since she works hard to keep weight on during the busy training time, her go-to food is avocado. She puts it on eggs, salads, sandwiches and with salmon. Yum! Here are 10 amazing avocado recipes to try.