What does a healthy 1000-calorie meal look like?
March 17, 2019 6:51 PM   Subscribe

What are some examples of healthy 1000-calorie meals for a professional athlete?

One of the main characters in a story I'm writing is a female ice hockey player. Food is important to the story - one of the subplots is her figuring out how to manage an eating disorder while playing professional ice hockey full time.

I can find general information about hockey player diets, but I'm having trouble visualising is what a healthy 1000-calorie meal looks like. My googling mostly gives me 1000 calories a day, which, nope, not happening.

My MC has no food allergies, loves bbq more than is probably healthy, and is a fantastic cook. What can I feed her?

posted by Tamanna to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I often think about how much people talked about what Michael Phelps ate. Here's an example from a fan site about him: "For lunch, he then has one pound of pasta with tomato sauce, two large ham and cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise on white bread, plus energy drinks that equal around 1,000 calories. " A few more here, by Olympic athletes. Keeping in mind that for people who are superfit, some of the usual dietary "nos" don't apply in quite the same way.
posted by jessamyn at 6:57 PM on March 17

Brings to mind this article by pre-Hot Ones Sean Evans: We Took on The Rock's Diet and Tried to Eat 10 Pounds of Food Per Day
posted by supercres at 7:01 PM on March 17

The M&F link is proven, but 538 has the stats.
posted by supercres at 7:03 PM on March 17

In the (men's) hockey world, Gary Roberts and Brooks Orpik are the two most respected dietary guys. Orpik is a disciple of Roberts. There are all sorts of articles about diets they recommend. This one, for example. Just google "Gary Roberts diet" or "Brooks Orpik diet" and you should have plenty of material.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:05 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]

Thanks so much for the answers so far, everyone! They're all great, but what I would love is more examples of individual meals if anyone has them.
posted by Tamanna at 7:19 PM on March 17

Bodybuilders are also good for this. None of the meals on these pages are exactly 1000 calories, but you can add like one dinner + one snack and get a pretty good idea of a healthy 1000 calorie meal.

So like

6 oz. steak
1 medium sweet potato
1 pat butter
15 asparagus spears, chopped
1 cup sliced carrots
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
(675 cal)


2 tbsp all-natural peanut butter
1 medium apple
1 container 2% Greek yogurt
(395 cal)
posted by jessamyn at 7:36 PM on March 17 [6 favorites]

Hi, my female relative is training for the Olympics and is vegan. Memail me and I’ll send you her website that lists some example meals.
posted by Red Desk at 7:39 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]

You could try Nancy Clark's book Sports Nutrition Guidebook, which has details of sports-specific diets, as well as recipes (I'm not sure if the recipes have calorie counts though). I think it's worth looking at sport-specific diets, as your character is presumably not going to have the same sort of diet, or be trying to build the same sort of body, as a swimmer or weight-lifter. Clark also has a chapter for female athletes specifically, which if I remember right covers the Female Athlete Triad mentioned by cotton dress sock.
posted by Pink Frost at 7:51 PM on March 17

1 lb of a lean protein (3 tilapia fillets OR 4 chicken breasts or thighs OR 3 pork loin slabs): 500-600 calories.

1 sweet potato or 1/2 cup of lentils or some protein dense legume/starch: 200 calories.

1 cup of cooked brown rice: 250 calories.

Green salad with some light dressing or some starchy vegetables: 50 cal.

Incidentals (cooking oil, sprinkling o’ cheese, dash o’ sauces and spices): 100 to 150 cal.

That meal lands you roughly 1200 calories and takes up 2.5 plates. Between my gym compadres, this culinary “theme and variation” is fairly standard. jessaym’s post is dead-on and also contains 80% of my grocery list. Rinse and repeat.

A pound of pulled pork (light on the homemade BBQ sauce) or a couple grilled chicken skewers and kebabs might be up your character’s alley, along with some roasted sweet potatoes and a green salad. Or perhaps she could mash that meal into one pot and make some dirty rice chicken pilaf or a protein-heavy jambalaya or paella that’s mounds up on a standard 10-in dining plate...

(Shouldn’t have wrote this before making dinner.)
posted by galleta monster at 8:07 PM on March 17

There's some detail in Hockey Nutrition for Champions Profile on Hayley Wickenheiser from some Coaching Association, which came up in search results for the words hockey and food.
posted by readinghippo at 9:18 PM on March 17

This is really complicated. Having an eating disorder while training as a professional athlete is full of contradictions. How many 1,000 calorie meals a day are they eating? I have a relative's son who plays division 1 hockey. I do not know the specifics of what he eats each meal, but I know that he eats around 6,0002 calories a day in season. He eats a lot of protein veggies and some rice or baked potato. He also drinks protein shakes made by the team trainer.
posted by AugustWest at 9:36 PM on March 17

I think a calorie-counting app would be useful here: I think MyFitnessPal is one? But I know there are plenty. And then all you need to do is pick a reasonable sounding menu, and increase the serving sizes until it hits 1000 calories.
posted by LizardBreath at 3:52 AM on March 18 [1 favorite]

My thoughts, as an elite athlete who loves to eat:
One of the things that a healthy 1,000-calorie meal looks like is, well, it doesn't look like one meal.

It looks like a solid meals before works, snacks all day long, but good healthy snacks - the metabolism is constantly going. Hummus and veggies, yogurt and fruit, granola, etc etc. After a workout - protein, protein immediately, a lot of people who combine both muscular strength and aerobic work can get themselves 500 calories or more in a powerful protein shake/smoothie that they take in immediately after a workout - and this doesn't dent our next meal, either.

Meals often aren't huge, but sturdy. Agreed on lean protein - fish, chicken, etc; easy on the starches, they don't do much; heavy on piles of vegetables all cooked together, lots of greens holding things together - basically sturdy salads of greens + veggies + beans, the kind of salad that would be a whole meal for a normal person is just a side salad for an athlete who might be eating a big chicken breast and a baked sweet potato next to it... also hardboiled and fried eggs involved constantly! for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

oh and healthy fats! full fat yogurt, mayo holding things together, cooking things in butter, drizzling things in olive oil, eating nuts, avocados, more eggs.

Another thing, which isn't entirely what you asked but you may find helpful - some quick-prep stuff really helps a lifestyle where, well, one may have a full time job, and might train 10-20hrs/week on top of it; loving food is tough, since there's only so much time in the week. Batches of cooked ingredients that can take many shapes throughout the week are very helpful: a few pounds of grilled chicken breast, a big bowl of hardboiled eggs, an oven full of baked sweet potatoes, etc. A rest day might not really be a rest day, just a cooking/prep day for the rest of the week; all one might have to do is put a pot of brown rice on, chop something fresh, throw already-cooked ingredients on, and garnish, and that's a lot more tolerable day after day when your legs are mush and you have to get to bed to sleep and recover before tomorrow's 5am alarm goes off for the first workout of another week of godforsaken two-a-days...
posted by entropone at 6:12 AM on March 18 [6 favorites]

My maintenance diet is about 3500 calories during normal times, and more when touring, though I usually just lose weight rather than eat much more because it is exhausting to eat that much without just going the potato chips and ice cream route. Which I also do. Honestly my diet is not great. I mention this because a lot of athlete diets are really... not normal. Trying to cram in crazy amounts of protein, carb loading, shakes, etc. And I am not criticizing that. I'd probably be better off if I ate that way. But depending on your character, weighing and counting might not be right. And if not, a thousand calorie meal looks like this: I eat a healthy, hearty dinner with my girlfriend, but have two hamburgers on the way there.
posted by Nothing at 12:05 PM on March 18 [2 favorites]

Mr Corpse's breakfast is around 1,000 calories, I believe. He makes two or three huge pancakes using Kodiak mix, milk, and an egg or two. He puts fruit and full-fat Greek yoghurt on top.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:35 PM on March 18

Avocados, olive oil & nuts are calorie dense healthy foods.
posted by kbbbo at 1:06 PM on March 18

If you search for "1000 calorie weight gain meals" or something similar, you should get some specific suggestions. This one, for example, has a bunch of options, with calorie counts, including high-protein and vegetarian and vegan options for your character to consider:
posted by alligatorpear at 3:42 PM on March 18

« Older How can I stop tripping all the time?   |   How to mail GF baked goods for peak freshness Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments