4,000 Calories a Day – Not Your Average Joe

Posted on Oct 5th 2012 by Chef DeJuan

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It’s my favorite time of year… football season!
It was definitely one of the biggest professional challenges I have ever had to face -Chef DeJuan

Ever wonder how much football players need to eat in order to perform at their highest level and sustain themselves through 6+ months of a grueling season? I did too. For the past three years, I’ve have had the pleasure of working as the executive chef for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers during training camp. While both a huge honor and an exciting opportunity, it was definitely one of the biggest professional challenges I have ever had to face. These guys need a lot of food. But more importantly, they need a lot of the right kinds of food in order to deliver on the field. Whether college or professional athletes, football players are fantastic specimens of human agility, stamina and athleticism. However, they are not super heroes. For the most part, they are human just like you and me. Except for the fact that they consume immense amounts of food and thousands more calories than the average Joe needs on a given day. These athletes have huge appetites, eating four meals a day including breakfast, lunch, dinner and a full meal as a “late night snack”. At an average of 4,000 calories a day, these guys consume almost double the average daily caloric intake for US men (2,500 calories a day). For a three-week training camp, my culinary team and I fed the Bucs well over 3,000 whole eggs, 700 pounds of smoked turkey, 1,000 gallons of milk and 300 gallons of orange juice. The team would eat over 100 pounds of grilled chicken breasts in one lunch alone! The majority of us are not professional athletes who practice six hours a day in extreme weather conditions, easily burning those 4,000 calories. But the principles of a healthy diet are the same no matter what your personal caloric needs are.
Like the athletes, we all need to eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

Like the athletes, we all need to eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It is also important to add lean protein like turkey, chicken and fish. As the executive chef for the Bucs, those were the foods I included in their daily meals and I suggest they be in yours. For more information on the US Dietary Guidelines, visit health.gov. To find out how many calories you need per day to maintain, lose or gain weight, check out this Estimated Calorie Requirement chart from WebMD. Follow Chef DeJuan on Twitter @chefdejuan, on Linkedin, or Pinterest.

Filed under: Mind/Body/Soul  


Chef DeJuan

Chef DeJuan Roy is a Food Network winning executive chef with over two decades of experience. DeJuan has presided over five-star kitchens, NFL catering services, and historic venues, most recently the Alhambra Dinner Theater in Jacksonville. He hopes to share his passion for fine dining and healthy eating since he firmly believes food nourishes body, mind and soul. He is married with two children and lives in historic Springfield in Jacksonville, Florida.

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