What Shaq Really Eats In A Day

Despite retiring from the Boston Celtics in 2011, Shaquille O'Neal, also known as Shaq, is still known as a legendary basketball player. Though he is no longer on the court, he keeps busy as a sports analyst, investor, and a member of law enforcement, per Black Enterprise. But how exactly does he entertain all these different careers? By correctly fueling, of course.

According to Livestrong, your gender, age, activity level, and even height affect how much food you consume. Though Shaq is no longer a professional athlete, he works multiple jobs and stands at 7'1, meaning that he needs more calories than the average person on a day-to-day basis.

For many years, fans have been interested in what exactly he eats. When he was in the NBA, Shaq stated, "Every day before games, I would have two club sandwiches, fries, and a pineapple soda," per Men's Health. But how exactly has his diet changed since he entered the Hall of Fame?

He includes fruit in almost every meal

There is some truth in the saying, "fruit first." Having fruit in the morning can clear toxins from one's body and support weight loss, according to Bio-home. On top of this, breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day, as it boosts brain power, provides fiber, and improves metabolism. And that is something that Shaq takes full advantage of, by including fruit into his daily breakfast routine. But Shaq doesn't only eat fruit for breakfast — he also told GQ that he eats fruit in his first three meals of the day. Fruits contain a handful of benefits, including containing antioxidants and boosting skin health, per Eat This, Not That!.

Fruits can also help restore glycogen levels, as they contain carbohydrates, which is why people tend to feel energized after having bananas and oranges, according to SFGATE. With the number of responsibilities he has, starting his day with some fruit is the way to go.

Protein is key to his diet

Along with fruit, Shaq incorporates some sort of protein in his meals. According to Insider, he attributed his defined abs to eating high-protein, low-carb meals, such as fish, chicken, and protein shakes. This is because protein contains essential amino acids, which helps sustain muscle growth, which is extremely important for someone who is working out daily, per InBody USA.

Though Shaq is no longer playing basketball everyday, he still prioritizes protein in his meals. Since going vegan, he has explored other sources of plant-based protein, such as Beyond Meat, which he is now an investor of, per LIVEKINDLY. One of his favorite foods is a cheeseburger, which is a protein-packed sandwich with an Impossible Burger patty. According to VegNews, Shaq went vegan due to the assortment of plant-based versions of his favorite foods. This includes traditional "meaty" products, such as cheeseburgers, which can be enjoyed without any animal byproducts, while also containing substantial protein.

For his later meals, Shaq keeps it simple

Despite his meals being protein-heavy, they aren't too overly satiating (or hard to cook). Prior to going vegan, Shaq loved salmon for lunch and dinner, per Insider. Not only is this dish high in protein, but it also contains key nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and potassium. Furthermore, salmon is not too difficult to prepare, and can be easily made flavorful by adding spices, such as paprika, lemon zest, and garlic, per Spend with Pennies.

Shaq had previously admitted that his cooking skills weren't too advanced. In fact, the name of his cooking show is, "Learning To Cook With Shaq," which teaches viewers how to make easy recipes with the retired professional athlete. The show ended up being a major hit, and currently has two seasons. Since then, the sports analyst has moved on to create his own cookbook, titled, "Shaq's Family Style: Championship Recipes for Feeding Family and Friends." Some great lunch and dinner time recipes that were featured in the book include a simple ramen recipe and spaghetti, per Parade.

He doesn't always stick to his diet

Shaq told Men's Health that he stuck to his diet 90% of the time, but he also leaves some room for enjoying his favorite foods. Along with cheeseburgers, Shaq has a soft spot for fried chicken, being the founder of the fast-food chain Big Chicken, which specializes in the food item, per Footwear News. He also thoroughly enjoys mac and cheese, which might be his all-time favorite food, per Spoon University. He grew up eating his mom's recipe, which is perfectly baked and crispy (none of that microwavable nonsense!). Shaq had stated in the past that he enjoys his snacks, and a big reason why he became plant-based was to feel healthier when eating his favorite foods, per Yahoo!.

Even with the former NBA player adopting a vegan diet, there are a handful of fried chicken substitutes and plant-based mac and cheeses. Despite having fitness goals in mind, that doesn't mean Shaq sacrifices his favorite foods.

Sodas and smoothies are his drinks of choice

It is rare that you will find the retired NBA player sipping on a cocktail. At one point in time, he did have his own vodka line, which was called, "Luv Shaq," but Shaq is far from a big drinker himself, per The Drink Business. According to The Shadow League, he prefers to take the edge off by smoking hookah instead of getting an alcoholic beverage.

Though Shaq seldom consumes alcohol, he does love a good fizzy drink. Back in 2013, he launched his own soda brand with AriZona Beverage Co., according to Bleacher Report. Upon announcing his partnership with the brand, he stated that, "One of my favorite drinks growing up in Newark as a kid was cream soda," per CSP Daily News.

And as stated before, Shaq also loves his fruit and protein smoothies. One of his top liquids would have to be a, "blend of strawberries, blueberries, organic apple juice and ice," per CNN's Black in America. So while the former athlete might write off enjoying a glass of vodka on the rocks, his fans can count on him to have another fun non-alcoholic drink in hand.