Michael Phelps' 12,000-calories-a-day is NOT the norm.

By Faith Brar
Photo: Alain Grosclaude / Agence Zoom / Getty Images

Food means a lot of different things to different people. For Olympians, food isn't just something that fuels their health-it optimizes their performance as some of the most powerful athletes in the world.

That's why with the Pyeongchang Games being right around the corner, people have one major question on their mind (on top of who's bringing home the gold, of course): How much are these athletes eating? (P.S. If you've ever wondered how to meal prep like an Olympian, we've got you covered.)

Megan Chacosky, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard dietitian and chef, recently answered the million dollar question in an interview with ABC. Chacosky, who works with the athletes to create individualized meal plans and diets based on their personal needs, said that most athletes end up eating around 3,000 to 4,000 calories a day, even if they have different dietary requirements.

"That's why I think about it one day at a time," Chacosky told ABC. "I've watched them go through this process of the past three years of building, building, and building to this ultimate competition. I'm looking forward to helping them feel comfortable in a high-pressure situation." (Related: 5 Olympic Recipes to Fuel Your Workout)

While that's not even close to the 12,000 calories Michael Phelps reportedly ate to prep for the 2008 Olympics, that's still a lot of food-especially considering that average males and females only need approximately 2,800 and 2,200 calories a day respectively to maintain their weight. (Related: How Many Calories Should I Eat to Lose Weight?)

The meals that Chacosky will be preparing still sound pretty darn healthy. Some menu items include miso-ginger salmon, teriyaki stir-fry, burrito bowls, and chicken. Go-to desserts include banana bread and chocolate chip cookies.

"These athletes are competing at the highest level but they're also humans," Chacosky said. "Sometimes they want to have treats and something that makes them feel like they can relax and be a normal person for a little bit." Same.

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January 13, 2019
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