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21 Foods that Fuel Olympians (& Olympics Watchers)

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In the days leading up to tonight's opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics in Rio, we've heard a lot about the eating quirks and routines of some of the competitors.

The swimmer Ryan Lochte—remember him from 2012?...

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told Bon Appétit that there's room in his 7000-calorie-a-day diet for avocado toast and tofu sausage ("Anything tofu I’m just, I’m loving it"—that's not the McDonald's slogan... yet!).

He also eats French fries; steak; vegetable "noodles" (he thought, "I’m probably going to vomit from this" at first, but was pleasantly surprised); sweet potatoes; cooked vegetables; and broccoli. No dessert, though.

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Avocado Toasts and Friends

Avocado Toasts and Friends by Sarah Jampel

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3 Ways to Make Zucchini Pasta

3 Ways to Make Zucchini Pasta by Gena Hamshaw

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Business Insider reported that the marathoner Desiree Linden, who runs 125 miles a week (!), eats eggs, yogurt, bagels, and PB&Js. On race day, "for function, not for fun," , and the plate is "really boring and bland. A lot of white rice so you can get carbs, but it’s easy to digest and really simple."

Gymnast Gabby Douglas has the same food-for-function philosophy—“I try to do six days a week of just no sugar, no sweets, no cakes, no cookies, or anything"—as well as the same breakfast (eggs with cereal or oatmeal) every morning.

All About Eggs
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All About Eggs

Are we surprised that these athletes' diets are kind of... boring? Or that there's a ton of yogurt and oatmeal available in the Olympic Village dining hall? Not at all. What's most clear is that for these world-class athletes, eating is first and foremost about energy—and, when it comes time to compete, about not introducing a variable that could negatively affect their performance.

But for us plebeians, there's more room to get creative with our food (to take a risk on hot sauce! to not have eggs for breakfast one morning) even if we're also using it to power our days.

So here are 21 foods, inspired by Olympians, to power your non-Olympian workouts—or your long workdays, or late nights, or 3 P.M. hunger pangs, or gymnastics viewing parties. They might not be what Gabby Douglas would eat, but perhaps Ryan Lochte would be more amenable?

Fermented Oatmeal with Hazelnuts, Figs, Honey, Black Pepper, and Buttermilk
Fermented Oatmeal with Hazelnuts, Figs, Honey, Black Pepper, and Buttermilk
Momofuku's Soy Sauce Eggs
Momofuku's Soy Sauce Eggs
Hummus with Aleppo Asparagus & Sumac Radish Salad
Hummus with Aleppo Asparagus & Sumac Radish Salad
Morning Date Smoothie
Morning Date Smoothie
Granola with Wild Seeds and Nuts
Granola with Wild Seeds and Nuts
How to Make Any Nut Butter Without a Recipe
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How to Make Any Nut Butter Without a Recipe
Tahini Date Shake
Tahini Date Shake
Apricot, Date, and Cashew Snack Balls
Apricot, Date, and Cashew Snack Balls
Vanilla Macadamia Milk
Vanilla Macadamia Milk
How to Make an Açaí Bowl
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How to Make an Açaí Bowl
Berry Banana Oat Smoothie
Berry Banana Oat Smoothie
Smoky Tempeh and Hummus Sandwiches
Smoky Tempeh and Hummus Sandwiches
Trail Mix
Trail Mix
Homemade Fruit Yogurt

Homemade Fruit Yogurt by Merrill Stubbs

Vegan Banana Cashew Yogurt

Vegan Banana Cashew Yogurt by Gena Hamshaw

Toasty Roasted Chickpeas, Cajun Style
Toasty Roasted Chickpeas, Cajun Style
You CAN Make Beef Jerky at Home (& Without Any Fancy Equipment)
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You CAN Make Beef Jerky at Home (& Without Any Fancy Equipment)
Yogurt with Toasted Quinoa, Dates, and Almonds

Yogurt with Toasted Quinoa, Dates, and Almonds by Amanda Hesser

Green Smoothie With Avocado

Green Smoothie With Avocado by Gena Hamshaw

Blueberry, Oatmeal and Flaxseed Muffins
Blueberry, Oatmeal and Flaxseed Muffins
Homemade Dark Chocolate Turtles with Medjool Dates
Homemade Dark Chocolate Turtles with Medjool Dates

What food do you eat as fuel? Tell us in the comments.

Tags: olympics