Dwight Howard
Photo: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball is a high-intensity sport that requires both physical agility and mental awareness. The National Basketball Association is home to the best basketball players in the world and they are extremely fit players. This not only comes about through training but also the eating habits of the NBA players.

Gone are the days of players eating what they like and relying on their natural ability to succeed. Diet now plays a significant role in the life of a NBA player. You may know how to take advantage of the best betting offers on basketball but if you saw the star player of a team eating a burger and fries before playing in an important game, would you still choose to back that player and team to win?

The energy demands during a NBA game are huge and even during training in the off season, the amount of energy expended by the players is massive. Therefore, NBA players need to eat food that will provide them with the energy levels required to perform at the highest level consistently throughout each game and the season.

Tim DiFrancesco once served as the head strength and conditioning coach for the Los Angeles Lakers. During that time, he worked with superstar players including Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. DiFrancesco was responsible for changing the eating habits of the players and Dwight Howard is a great example.

Howard was playing for the LA Lakers back in 2012 and was eating the equivalent of 24 chocolate bars per day. DiFrancesco developed a program called PRO (Performance/Recovery/Orthogenesis) Nutrition to help the Lakers players eat better and perform better on the basketball court.

An example of what the players would eat throughout the day starts with breakfast and this would consist of eggs with yolks, full fat cheese, leafy greens, and mushrooms. These could be consumed as an omelette, with pancakes and oatmeal also available.

In terms of lunch and dinner, NBA players tend to choose from fish, lean meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds. The Paleo-like diet has also proved quite popular and this involves avoiding processed carbs and sugars. What about in between the three main meals of the day?

Everybody likes to enjoy a snack, including NBA players. Protein bars and snack bars are popular everyday snacks but NBA players tend to avoid these because they are high in sugar. Instead, NBA players choose from whole foods, including almonds, cashews, nut butter, salami, pepperoni, cheese, kale chips, salad, trail mix, beef jerky, yoghurt, gluten-free pasta, and sourdough bread.

However, just like every human being, an NBA player will want to splurge on something different every once in a while. This can include visiting a fast-food outlet but it will be timed so to avoid consuming unhealthy foods prior to a game or during a busy period in the NBA calendar.