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What Ali Krieger Eats on Game Day

ESPN The Magazine

We've been so psyched to see the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team take to the pitch at the FIFA Women's World Cup this month—and they've got a match tonight against China in the quarter finals of the FIFA Women's World Cup. One big question we've had while watching the team rack up wins: What do the players need to eat in order to keep up with such an intense training schedule? So we asked, and they dished. Here, defender Ali Krieger shares her go-to smoothie recipe, her favorite splurge foods, and why you shouldn't follow every piece of diet advice you hear. (PS: Have you seen her yet in ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue?! Wowza!) Check back for more interviews with some of our favorite players to find out how what they eat in order to kick major butt on the field! (And find out Why the USWNT Has to Play on Turf at the World Cup.)

Shape: What's your go-to meal before a game?
Ali Krieger (AK): I’m the type of player that doesn't like to play on full stomach. I just eat smaller things: an omelet or two fried eggs with pancakes. I stay away from a lot of bread, but pancakes make me feel lighter during a game for some reason. The night before a game, I do pasta and chicken—I do need carbs in order to fuel my body to play. I love fish like salmon along with some type of sweet potato or spinach too.

Shape: What's your favorite "splurge" food?
AK: I love cookies—especially chocolate chip and peanut butter chocolate chip. It's terrible, but I love cupcakes and peanut butter pretzels—the ones you can buy in Costco or at Whole Foods.

Shape: What's one nutrition rule you always stick to?
AK: It’s a part of my lifestyle to be healthy and eat healthy. I don’t feel like I need to be like, 'You can’t have this. You can’t have that. You have to have this. You have to have that,' because then I feel like I will get inconsistent. I indulge when I want to, but try to be healthy every single day too. When I start preventing myself from having foods or setting rules, I know I'm going to get off track. I know what my body needs to perform at it’s best and with the most energy and strength. (Wondering how Krieger's teammate Kelley O'Hara Stays Fueled on the Field?)

Shape: Do you have a specific or quirky meal "routines" you always stick to though?
AK: I usually have three fried eggs every morning. It always has to be three: two is just not enough and three won’t put me over edge.

Shape: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would be it?
AK: Mango is my favorite. Any kind: dried mango, sliced up mango—however it’s served, I’ll eat it. I go to Trader Joe's and get their dried mangos—there's barely any sugar added. I put it in almost everything, especially fruit salad.

Shape: So I assume mangos are probably a big staple in smoothies, if you make them?
AK: I usually make a green smoothie with mango, yes! The recipe is half spinach, half kale—about a handful of each—then I add mango, blueberries, a little bit of apple juice or OJ, pineapple, kiwi, and sometimes strawberries, half of a banana, and chia seeds or flax seeds.

Shape: When you can't make food at home, what snack do you always keep on you?
AK: I’ll travel with mixed nuts. My brother got me onto goji berries, little raspberry flavored ones. Peanut butter pretzels and dried mango are other staples, but I try not to have too much on me, so I’m not just snacking all the time!

Shape: Do you have any diet advice that you would give to others?
AK: Something I have learned is do what is best for you. Try not to completely change your diet just because you read it somewhere or someone tells you it works for them. Do what is best for your body and don’t think that just because everyone else is doing it that it will work for you. Know what fuels your body to be at its best and enjoy the little things! Indulge! Cupcakes and cookies.

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