Athletes' Game Day Meals

Taking a look at how All-Stars Derek Jeter, A-Rod, and other pro athletes eat on game days

Wikimedia Commons/Keith Allison

We all fall prey to superstitions like not walking under a ladder or opening an umbrella indoors. But they are probably not as exacting as the ones professional athletes abide by — especially when it comes to food on game days. If you ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before playing the best game of your life, you had better eat that same sandwich before every single game. Perhaps that's what Paul Pierce is thinking every time he eats a PB&J exactly 55 minutes before he jumps on court.

It makes sense because food is what fuels our body and gives athletes the energy they need to dominate their opponents. These athletes know what works for them and what doesn’t — and they stick to it. For instance, 13-time All-Star Alex Rodriguez starts his day with a bowl of fresh fruit, while Peyton Manning's multi-course meal filled with lean protein and a variety of starches likely keeps his energy up throughout the game.

Sometimes, however, the line between performance-enhancing eats and pure superstition becomes a little fuzzy. Some of the kookier rituals? Wade Boggs had to have chicken in any form, even fried, before playing, and Lamar Odom credits a sugar rush from all the candy he eats for his on-court endurance.

What's also interesting is the shift from somewhat unhealthy choices in the past (like Michael Jordan's steak and potato dinners) to relatively healthy and nutritious meals like LeBron James' choice of salmon and grilled pineapple prepared by his personal chef. From baked potatoes to Cinnamon Toast Crunch, these 12 athletes have developed their own extraordinary recipes for success.

Want to see more of athletes' game day quirks and habits? Then click here to see the Athletes' Game Day Meals Slideshow.

Additional research by Angela Hu, Brian Gutterman, and Cody Liebman.


Game Day Meal Plans for Athletes: Fuel Up With the Boston Celtics

You’ve practiced, lifted and watched all the film you possibly can. Now it’s game day. If you’re like many high schoolers, you probably wake up, grab a prepackaged breakfast “food” and zip out the door. Later you chow down on a state-approved lunch during a few moments between classes. By the time you get to the field, you’re probably asking yourself, "Why didn’t I grab an extra sandwich?"

Proper fuel will prime you for your best performance. To get you the right meal plan, STACK connected with registered dietitians who advise the pros in just about every single sport.

Here, we give you an assist with recommendations from the 17-time NBA champion Boston Celtics. Read on to find out how the Celts fuel up before tip-off.

Sport: Basketball
Expert: Boston Celtics Nutritionist Joan Buchbinder
Tip-Off:8 p.m.


Game Day Meal Plans for Athletes: Fuel Up With the Boston Celtics

You’ve practiced, lifted and watched all the film you possibly can. Now it’s game day. If you’re like many high schoolers, you probably wake up, grab a prepackaged breakfast “food” and zip out the door. Later you chow down on a state-approved lunch during a few moments between classes. By the time you get to the field, you’re probably asking yourself, "Why didn’t I grab an extra sandwich?"

Proper fuel will prime you for your best performance. To get you the right meal plan, STACK connected with registered dietitians who advise the pros in just about every single sport.

Here, we give you an assist with recommendations from the 17-time NBA champion Boston Celtics. Read on to find out how the Celts fuel up before tip-off.

Sport: Basketball
Expert: Boston Celtics Nutritionist Joan Buchbinder
Tip-Off:8 p.m.


Game Day Meal Plans for Athletes: Fuel Up With the Boston Celtics

You’ve practiced, lifted and watched all the film you possibly can. Now it’s game day. If you’re like many high schoolers, you probably wake up, grab a prepackaged breakfast “food” and zip out the door. Later you chow down on a state-approved lunch during a few moments between classes. By the time you get to the field, you’re probably asking yourself, "Why didn’t I grab an extra sandwich?"

Proper fuel will prime you for your best performance. To get you the right meal plan, STACK connected with registered dietitians who advise the pros in just about every single sport.

Here, we give you an assist with recommendations from the 17-time NBA champion Boston Celtics. Read on to find out how the Celts fuel up before tip-off.

Sport: Basketball
Expert: Boston Celtics Nutritionist Joan Buchbinder
Tip-Off:8 p.m.


Game Day Meal Plans for Athletes: Fuel Up With the Boston Celtics

You’ve practiced, lifted and watched all the film you possibly can. Now it’s game day. If you’re like many high schoolers, you probably wake up, grab a prepackaged breakfast “food” and zip out the door. Later you chow down on a state-approved lunch during a few moments between classes. By the time you get to the field, you’re probably asking yourself, "Why didn’t I grab an extra sandwich?"

Proper fuel will prime you for your best performance. To get you the right meal plan, STACK connected with registered dietitians who advise the pros in just about every single sport.

Here, we give you an assist with recommendations from the 17-time NBA champion Boston Celtics. Read on to find out how the Celts fuel up before tip-off.

Sport: Basketball
Expert: Boston Celtics Nutritionist Joan Buchbinder
Tip-Off:8 p.m.


Game Day Meal Plans for Athletes: Fuel Up With the Boston Celtics

You’ve practiced, lifted and watched all the film you possibly can. Now it’s game day. If you’re like many high schoolers, you probably wake up, grab a prepackaged breakfast “food” and zip out the door. Later you chow down on a state-approved lunch during a few moments between classes. By the time you get to the field, you’re probably asking yourself, "Why didn’t I grab an extra sandwich?"

Proper fuel will prime you for your best performance. To get you the right meal plan, STACK connected with registered dietitians who advise the pros in just about every single sport.

Here, we give you an assist with recommendations from the 17-time NBA champion Boston Celtics. Read on to find out how the Celts fuel up before tip-off.

Sport: Basketball
Expert: Boston Celtics Nutritionist Joan Buchbinder
Tip-Off:8 p.m.


Game Day Meal Plans for Athletes: Fuel Up With the Boston Celtics

You’ve practiced, lifted and watched all the film you possibly can. Now it’s game day. If you’re like many high schoolers, you probably wake up, grab a prepackaged breakfast “food” and zip out the door. Later you chow down on a state-approved lunch during a few moments between classes. By the time you get to the field, you’re probably asking yourself, "Why didn’t I grab an extra sandwich?"

Proper fuel will prime you for your best performance. To get you the right meal plan, STACK connected with registered dietitians who advise the pros in just about every single sport.

Here, we give you an assist with recommendations from the 17-time NBA champion Boston Celtics. Read on to find out how the Celts fuel up before tip-off.

Sport: Basketball
Expert: Boston Celtics Nutritionist Joan Buchbinder
Tip-Off:8 p.m.


Game Day Meal Plans for Athletes: Fuel Up With the Boston Celtics

You’ve practiced, lifted and watched all the film you possibly can. Now it’s game day. If you’re like many high schoolers, you probably wake up, grab a prepackaged breakfast “food” and zip out the door. Later you chow down on a state-approved lunch during a few moments between classes. By the time you get to the field, you’re probably asking yourself, "Why didn’t I grab an extra sandwich?"

Proper fuel will prime you for your best performance. To get you the right meal plan, STACK connected with registered dietitians who advise the pros in just about every single sport.

Here, we give you an assist with recommendations from the 17-time NBA champion Boston Celtics. Read on to find out how the Celts fuel up before tip-off.

Sport: Basketball
Expert: Boston Celtics Nutritionist Joan Buchbinder
Tip-Off:8 p.m.


Game Day Meal Plans for Athletes: Fuel Up With the Boston Celtics

You’ve practiced, lifted and watched all the film you possibly can. Now it’s game day. If you’re like many high schoolers, you probably wake up, grab a prepackaged breakfast “food” and zip out the door. Later you chow down on a state-approved lunch during a few moments between classes. By the time you get to the field, you’re probably asking yourself, "Why didn’t I grab an extra sandwich?"

Proper fuel will prime you for your best performance. To get you the right meal plan, STACK connected with registered dietitians who advise the pros in just about every single sport.

Here, we give you an assist with recommendations from the 17-time NBA champion Boston Celtics. Read on to find out how the Celts fuel up before tip-off.

Sport: Basketball
Expert: Boston Celtics Nutritionist Joan Buchbinder
Tip-Off:8 p.m.


Game Day Meal Plans for Athletes: Fuel Up With the Boston Celtics

You’ve practiced, lifted and watched all the film you possibly can. Now it’s game day. If you’re like many high schoolers, you probably wake up, grab a prepackaged breakfast “food” and zip out the door. Later you chow down on a state-approved lunch during a few moments between classes. By the time you get to the field, you’re probably asking yourself, "Why didn’t I grab an extra sandwich?"

Proper fuel will prime you for your best performance. To get you the right meal plan, STACK connected with registered dietitians who advise the pros in just about every single sport.

Here, we give you an assist with recommendations from the 17-time NBA champion Boston Celtics. Read on to find out how the Celts fuel up before tip-off.

Sport: Basketball
Expert: Boston Celtics Nutritionist Joan Buchbinder
Tip-Off:8 p.m.


Game Day Meal Plans for Athletes: Fuel Up With the Boston Celtics

You’ve practiced, lifted and watched all the film you possibly can. Now it’s game day. If you’re like many high schoolers, you probably wake up, grab a prepackaged breakfast “food” and zip out the door. Later you chow down on a state-approved lunch during a few moments between classes. By the time you get to the field, you’re probably asking yourself, "Why didn’t I grab an extra sandwich?"

Proper fuel will prime you for your best performance. To get you the right meal plan, STACK connected with registered dietitians who advise the pros in just about every single sport.

Here, we give you an assist with recommendations from the 17-time NBA champion Boston Celtics. Read on to find out how the Celts fuel up before tip-off.

Sport: Basketball
Expert: Boston Celtics Nutritionist Joan Buchbinder
Tip-Off:8 p.m.