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Planning the perfect Thanksgiving Day meals for LeBron, Brady, Crosby and more

Profile Picture: Ashley Anderson

November 23rd, 2021

If the average American gobbles up 3,000 calories on Thanksgiving, imagine the amount of food a ravenous, fuel-burning athlete consumes on Turkey Day.

Considering how many sports stars are known for their rigid, and sometimes peculiar, eating habits, satisfying their hunger on the most gluttonous holiday of the year would be no easy feat.

To help solve the conundrum, we chose to play chef and meal prep for some of the most famous figures in sports. Below, we concocted the perfect Thanksgiving meal based on which foods we believe certain top athletes would bring to a holiday feast.

Breakfast: French toast and a four-egg omelet

Courtesy of four-time NBA champion LeBron James, the first meal on Thanksgiving would begin with a heaping pile of French toast, doused in maple syrup, and topped with strawberries and bananas.

According to former teammate Tristan Thompson, the saccharine fare is James’ go-to in the morning, along with a four-egg omelet and some kind of sweet treat.

"He eats desserts with every meal," Thompson divulged in an interview with The Athletic. "I remember one year I tried to eat like he ate, and it just didn’t work out. I started gaining weight."

To help scarf down all that sugar, Jimmy Butler will be on hand with Bigface coffee, the official brand of the Miami Heat point guard, who doubled as a barista in the Orlando bubble.

Lunch: Subway sandwiches

With the number of athletes who have endorsed Subway in the recent past, the foot-long sandwiches are sure to be a hit for the noontime Thanksgiving meal.

While Tom Brady doesn't eat bread, he does enjoy the smell, so the Subway brand ambassador will order up a dozen hoagies for the other sports stars in attendance who appreciate the popular chain restaurant.

Steph Curry, Serena Williams, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, and Megan Rapinoe have each lent their name, image, and likeness to promote the brand, and will chow down on the large variety of heroes, from turkey, to sweet onion chicken teriyaki, and 100% wild-caught tunawhich Subway has "always had," according to Chuck.

Brady will settle for snacking on guacamole, while the rest of the group prepares for three more courses to follow.

Afternoon snack: PB&J

The period between lunch and dinner can drag during Thanksgiving and leave you fighting off a food coma.

To prevent an energy crash, Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby will whip up some finger sandwiches filled with peanut butter and jelly.

Inspired by his favorite pregame meal, Crosby's afternoon snack should delight a number of athletes who also prefer PB&J before a big game.

In a 2019 interview, Kansas City Chiefs sports dietitian Leslie Bonci explained the reason so many sports figures elect the childhood staple before competition. "A lot of the guys love PB&J," she said. "That’s a comfortable food for them. Some of the guys have it with a glass of milk, just like they did in grade school."

Former NBA forward Paul Pierce can relate. He not only regularly ingested PB&J before games, but would religiously eat the sandwich precisely 55 minutes before tipoff.

Dinner: steak, eggs, and spaghetti

NFL rookie Mac Jones earned a seat at the table for the first time this year and has the pressure-packed task of serving Thanksgiving dinner.

The Alabama product called an audible on the traditional turkey feast and will instead provide his favorite pregame custom: steak, eggs, and a side of spaghetti.

Jones will eat that trifecta before kickoff, even at 6 a.m., if necessary.

A 6 p.m. dinner time will likely sit better with his fellow athletes, but Brady will undoubtedly skip the pasta.

Dessert: wedding cake and MoonPies

Brady, the most stringent with his diet, will likely opt for a healthy scoop of avocado ice cream, but most other athletes feel no shame in indulging their sweet tooth from time to time.

In fact, NBA legend Larry Bird once went so far as to eat not just one wedding cake, but seven, over a two-week span while he was recovering from an Achilles injury during the 1988-89 season.

As Bird explained in an excerpt from the book Unfinished Business, he was so bored during rehab that he would eat constantly. "I ate 10 gallons of ice cream and seven wedding cakes. Why them? I ate wedding cakes because you knew they was going to be good. I mean, who would [eff] up a wedding cake?"

Serena Williams will also offer up her personal favorite, MoonPies (two large cookies with marshmallow in the middle) as a more reasonable alternative to Thanksgiving dessert.

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