What US Olympic Swimmer Katie Ledecky Really Eats

Katie Ledecky smiling at a microphone
Katie Ledecky smiling at a microphone - Salty View/Shutterstock

The Olympics are coming up in Paris, and elite athletes everywhere are gearing up for the competition. This is true for Katie Ledecky, the star swimmer who has won seven gold and three silver medals at the Olympics since her debut in London in 2012. The Washington D.C. native takes her training regime very seriously; while she makes breaking swimming records look easy, it takes a lot more than raw talent to be such a successful athlete.

As Ledecky gets ready for her fourth Summer Games, she is training hard and following a strict(ish) diet. The swimmer spends about 25 to 30 hours a week training, splitting that time between the gym and the pool. With that much exercise, it is important for her to eat healthy, well balanced, and generous meals. The swimmer knows that it is important to treat her body well in order to be successful at her sport. If you are curious exactly what an Olympic athlete really consumes, you are in luck; here is everything that Katie Ledecky eats in a day in preparation for the Olympics.

Read more: Ingredients To Take Your Scrambled Eggs To The Next Level

She Starts Her Day Off Early With A Hearty Breakfast

oatmeal with berries
oatmeal with berries - Arx0nt/Getty Images

As a star athlete, Katie Ledecky wakes up very early to start her training -- usually around 5 or 5:30 a.m. Because it is important to fuel up before a big training session, she will make herself breakfast first thing. Usually, this is a relatively simple affair, and Ledecky, who has a strict regimen, will eat the same thing for breakfast every day. "The first half of the day I eat almost exactly the same just because it's what works for me in between practices and before practices," Ledecky told Eating Well. "I'll have oatmeal with some peanut butter and a banana."Sometimes, the Olympian adds berries and a splash of milk to her morning meal. Oatmeal is a very popular breakfast food, and although there are many misconceptions about it, it is a healthy option. This well balanced meal contains protein from the oats and peanut butter, carbs from the banana and oats, and a good serving of fruit, which provides vitamins and minerals. On top of that, the potassium in bananas is known to prevent cramping in swimmers.

Lunch Is About Keeping It Simple

avocado toast with an egg
avocado toast with an egg - OlgaBombologna/Shutterstock

After a hard workout, Ledecky is ready for lunch. This is usually around 11 a.m.; not quite lunchtime, but the swimmer is hungry enough that she needs to eat. Because of this, she keeps things pretty simple. She opts for some variation of eggs with toast. Sometimes she adds tomatoes or spinach in her eggs. Other times, she'll scramble up some veggies or add some avocado.

Once again, this is a very healthy, balanced meal. There is protein from the eggs, vitamins and minerals from the veggies, and carbs from the bread. While this may seem like a relatively small lunch, it can be quite filling -- plus, Ledecky usually has a snack before and after lunch, and saves her largest meal for the end of the day. This lunch, while maintaining the same base, allows for a lot of variation. She can go for a simple avocado toast with an egg on top, or have something more complex, like an egg scramble with lots of veggies.

She Protein Loads At Snack Time

hand holding a glass of chocolate milk
hand holding a glass of chocolate milk - Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

Katie Ledecky usually has both a morning and afternoon snack to maximize her nutrition in between training sessions. Her morning snack go-to has, for a long time, been chocolate milk. Back in 2021, Ledecky told Women's Health, "I've been drinking chocolate milk after races since I was 13 years old." She even teamed up with Got Milk? around that time to promote drinking the beverage.

More recently, Ledecky has been enjoying a similarly milky, chocolaty drink; Core Power protein shakes. The swimmer teamed up with the brand to promote their shakes, which makes sense, considering she has been a fan of the product for so long. The swimmer told Eating Well, "I think it's just really great for my recovery to get that protein, the electrolytes, and nutrients that I need," emphasizing the nutritional benefits that this beverage provides. As a part of the campaign, Ledecky also starred in a commercial for Core Power.

Fruit Is Another Snack Time Favorite

fruit parfait
fruit parfait - Olga Leschenko/Shutterstock

Chocolate milk isn't the only snack that Katie Ledecky counts on to get her through busy days of training. Having multiple snacks a day, the Olympic swimmer changes it up by indulging in fruit and granola. Ledecky herself has said that she loves anything that is both sweet and healthy, so fruit is a great option. When choosing a topping, Ledecky has admitted that she loves berries, pairing them with yogurt and granola in a parfait.

Granola is a deliciously sweet breakfast or snack option. Additionally, the right type can be very healthy, full of oats, nuts, fruit, and other nutritious ingredients. That said, many store-bought granolas are full of unhealthy amounts of fat, sugar, and other additives, which is why you might want to consider making your own granola at home. It is super simple and even more delicious than the store-bought version.

Dinner Is Always Different, And Always Well Balanced

salmon dinner
salmon dinner - Nina Firsova/Shutterstock

As is true for most people, dinner is where Katie Ledecky changes things up. She eats something different for supper every day, but she always makes sure to eat a healthy, well-balanced meal. She will have a protein, a carb, and a vegetable with her dinner. Ledecky has mentioned that some of her favorite proteins include steak, salmon, and chicken. While she is not the biggest fan of fish, Ledecky told E! News that she tries to eat salmon "at least once a week," because of its extensive health benefits. She will pair that with a salad or another veggie, as well as with rice. If you want to eat like Ledecky, make sure you check out these tips on how to cook the perfect filet of salmon.

While this is her diet almost every night, especially when she is training for the Olympics, Ledecky has also mentioned one indulgence that she loves; pizza. She usually gets some pizza as a celebratory meal, after a competition or meet.

She Loves A Good Dessert, Too

banana bread
banana bread - Bhofack2/Getty Images

While Katie Ledecky aims to eat healthy, well-balanced meals consistently, she also loves to indulge in dessert. She is a huge fan of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and will have one of these as a post-dinner treat. Ledecky is also a huge fan of baked goods. She especially loves banana bread, and spends her time baking when she isn't in the height of training. Banana bread is a classic, and Ledecky would probably approve of this recipe, complete with chocolate. Other treats that she likes to bake are brownies and cookies. Another dessert Ledecky eats when she is trying to cut down on sugar is a bowl of fruit with some honey.

Ledecky may have inherited the baking gene from her mother, Mary Gen. Apparently, her mom is a great home cook and an amazing baker. When she is home, Ledecky loves to indulge in her mother's baked goods; her favorite is her homemade pumpkin apple bread.

Race Day Is All About Being Prepared And Consistent

granola bars
granola bars - Annabreit/Getty Images

On race day, one of the most important factors in feeling good is what you eat. As an Olympic swimming champion, Katie Ledecky knows this better than anyone. She will start off the morning of a meet the same way she starts any day; with a bowl of oatmeal. After that, she snacks on energy bars and always has a sports drink on hand. This allows her to fuel up on electrolytes and simple carbs so that she is full of energy once the race is upon her.On top of that, Ledecky will have a cup of warm coffee in the morning. The aim of this is not just to give her energy, but also to raise her core temperature; this is based on a study that suggested athletes perform better in the evening because their core temperature is higher, according to NBC reporter Michele Tafoya, who spoke to Ledecky's dietitian, Alicia Glass.

Ledecky also wants to debunk the myth that you shouldn't eat 30 minutes before swimming. According to the Olympian, she will eat a granola bar 5 to 10 minutes before entering the pool without a problem. After a race, Ledecky will find herself in the cool down pool, but not before she fuels up with chocolate milk, bananas, and protein bars.

Read the original article on Mashed.