Super Bowl 2013: Q&A With an NFL Nutritionist

What and how much do NFL players eat and why?

Super Bowl composite with Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers and Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens

[See What One Olympic Athlete Eats.]

Was there room for dessert?

We were providing monster cookies at one point, and the guys loved them. As a dietitian, of course, I wouldn't recommend eating a monster cookie before you're getting ready to head out onto the field.

What else does an NFL nutritionist do? What were your sessions with players like?

I spent a lot of my time working one-on-one with the players, since their diets varied so much. I've also done team presentations, worked with wives and girlfriends, and taken players grocery shopping. My advice varies depending on whether it's a single player, or a player who's married and has someone cooking for him. I also worked with teams on what types of food to provide.

What kind of common questions did you hear from the players?

They wanted ideas for simple meals, like what they could make on a grill or how they could make easy smoothies at home. And if they were going out, what were the best options? I've had players text me from the Super Bowl, because they were out to eat and wanted to know if they should order pork, fish, or something else. Some of the guys were trying to lose body fat—that was probably the most common question—but sometimes they were trying to gain weight instead.

[See Vitamins and Supplements: Do They Work?]

Did you recommend a vitamin or supplement for the players?

Yes, I would recommend some supplements. Most commonly: fish oil, a multivitamin with minerals, protein powder, and creatine.