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How a Healthy Diet Has Helped Michael Jordan

author image Jill Corleone, RDN, LD
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.
How a Healthy Diet Has Helped Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan filled his diet with healthy carbs like brown rice. Photo Credit tunçsel ülkü/iStock/Getty Images

Michael Jordan may have been one of the best basketball players ever, but like any well-trained athlete, he worked hard to achieve that success. In addition to being dedicated to his athletic training, Jordan has also been very careful about his diet, especially during basketball season, and ate to maximize his energy.

Eating for Energy

Jordan's diet and food choices were based on how it affected his energy. According to Jordan's trainer, Tim Grover, in a 1996 article published in the Chicago Tribune, Jordan was not a big eater during his professional playing days and only ate enough to feel satisfied without feeling too full. His goal was to eat often, five to six meals a day, to maintain blood sugar levels. The one concern for Jordan was weight loss due to his high metabolism.

Diet Breakdown

Although Jordan was strong and agile during his playing days, his diet was not all that high in protein. In fact, to help promote energy levels, most of his calories came from carbs. According to iFood.tv, the basketball player's diet contained 70 percent of calories from carbs, 20 percent from fat and 10 percent from protein. Carbs are the preferred energy source for athletes and should provide most of your calories, no matter what sport you play.

Typical Meals

Jordan filled his diet with mostly whole foods but included sports drinks and protein powder to help meet needs during his busy schedule. According to the Chicago Tribune article, Jordan ate oatmeal and fruit for breakfast with egg whites. For lunch, he had a lean protein such as chicken with a healthy carb such as whole-grain pasta and a salad. In between meals, Jordan typically consumed shakes made with sports drinks, protein powder and fresh fruit. Dinner was Jordan's free meal, and he enjoyed whatever he wanted.

Bringing It Home

For any athlete, diet is an essential component of training. What and when you eat not only helps boost energy levels but also promotes muscle growth and recovery. As a professional athlete, Jordan needed to eat right to perform his best. His diet was healthy and balanced and worked as a good example for any athlete trying to improve performance, with a focus on carbs and healthy food choices.

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