Top 5 Athlete Diets: Wade Boggs's Chicken-a-Day, Kenyan Ugali + Steve Nash's Nuts

Wheaties may be the breakfast of champions, but plenty of athletes don't swear by dry flakes for their daily sustenance. Lakers forward Ron Artest used to drink Hennessey at half-time. His teamate Lamar Odom likes jelly beans and gummy bears. Former Yankees slugger Babe Ruth once inhaled 24 hot dogs between games of a double-header.

Sometimes athletes' dietary predilections may be a bit suspect. They like McDonald's and, because they burn 10,000 calories a day, they rationalize hauling home a backpack filled with Big Macs after practice. Often they're superstitious and eat the same thing before big games. But sometimes, shockingly, they are smart, even obsessive, about what they put into their bodies. Even without the prodding of an insistent trainer, many athletes make choices that, although offensive to the chicken wing-gnawing hedonist lurking within the average food writer and sports fan, go a long way towards providing a heavily taxed body with the fuel it requires.

To put it all in context, we've drawn up a list of some of the more eccentric consumption habits we've heard associated with well-known sports figures. Turn the page for our Top 5 Athlete Diets. And if Ryan Braun (the Brewers slugger was born in Mission Hills) secretly lives on cassoulet or cherry pies, let us know.

Chicken, whole.
Chicken, whole.
artizone/flickr

5. Wade Boggs: Slide an "i" in there before the "s" and you've got "Boggis," the handle of the plump, mustachioed chicken farmer villain in Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox. That's very fitting. A sharp-eyed batter who plunked out singles at a steady pace over his 18 years of professional base-ballin' (mostly with the Red Sox), Boggs prefaced each contest with chicken -- a whole one, to be exact, frequently seasoned with lemon.

Grape juice.
Grape juice.
Ian Muttoo/flickr

4. Dwight Freeney: According to a February 2010 issue of Sports Illustrated, this defensive end for the Indianapolis Colts drinks only grape juice, tea, and water, and has a habit of bringing his own ingredients to restaurants and telling servers how he wants them prepared -- invariably without oil, pepper, or garlic. He adheres to Sari Mellman's Dietary Progression, a protocol that relies on regular blood analysis to highlight foods that will bolster his strength, speed, and endurance. We'd sacrifice a millisecond off our forty time to enjoy the odd tangle of fried calamari, but that's just us.

A Phelps-sized omelet.
A Phelps-sized omelet.
dbsofi/flickr

3. Michael Phelps: During the 2008 Olympics, the swimmer was taking down a buffet table's worth of depressed-dude-food on a daily basis: Fried egg sandwiches (as many as three, all topped with cheese, onions, and mayo), a pint of coffee, a five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits, three pieces of sugar-coated French toast, two pounds of pasta, two ham-and-cheese sandwiches on white bread, three chocolate chip pancakes, and a whole large pizza.



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