In order to take home gold at this year’s Winter Olympics, US women’s hockey player Hilary Knight is all about healthy eating. All of the athletes are. Not only does eating well help keep their bodies in top form, but the right food can keep your mind focused and your will strong.
What sets Hilary apart from other athletes is that she doesn’t believe in dieting. “It’s not sustainable,” she says. “I believe in lifestyle changes to accommodate a healthy living.” With her being an Olympian and all, she must be doing something right.
Given the hockey star’s intense training schedule, which currently spans days a week, Knight says she wants more calories in order to help her body recover. This is in conjunction with also drinking tons of water; drinking more than 130 ounces a day when she’s working out or on the ice.
On a typical day, on top of having her usual amounts of water, the 28-year-old will eat some oatmeal with maple syrup and walnuts. She’ll have this with a 12-ounce energy drink and a banana. As a snack before lunch, Hillary will have a protein bar and apple slices.This is a good way to start the day, as you have slow-releasing carbohydrates in the oatmeal, naturally sweetened and given some crunch with syrup and walnuts.
This would be a fine amount of energy to take you through to lunch, but Hillary will probably have some sort of training to attend to, so she’ll probably have a snack before or after it. The protein and fiber in the protein bar and apple slices helps fuel your muscles so you’re not as fatigued and less likely to get injured.
For lunch, our hockey queen will have white bean chicken chili and a mixed greens salad, with vegetables and light dressing. More protein in the chicken and beans makes sure her muscles stay energized, and her mixed green salad provides her with plenty of nutrients.
The “light” in her light dressing probably refers to a small portion of homemade or organic dressing as opposed to light ranch dressing. Going for the light dressings on your store shelves is a bad idea, because they are empty calories and you don’t need them in your life.
For a later snack through the day, Hillary will eat some raspberry Greek yogurt with granola. On top of this, she will have an eight-ounce bottle of coconut water. For dinner, we see a household favorite of even non-Olympians: pasta.
Hillary has pasta with mixed vegetables, and a glass of cherry juice. If she’s feeling it, she’ll have some plain popcorn as a late night snack. This brings her total calorie count for the day to 2,240.
Chicago based dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner describes Hillary’s lunch as “a nice mix of smart carbs, protein and produce to fuel her highly active lifestyle”. Her after dinner snack of popcorn, on the other hand, “is a good choice when she’s feeling munchy at night because it is naturally a whole grain”.
To make the nutritional benefits even greater you could “sprinkle turmeric and black pepper on the popcorn”. If someone were to make this menu for me every day, I wouldn’t complain one bit.