By Lisa Costantini | May 06, 2015, 10:04 a.m. (ET)


Olympic and Paralympic athletes work really hard. They spend hours in the gym, training, working out, burning calories. So what do they eat when they want to reward themselves?

In honor of the international holiday No Diet Day, on May 6, which is meant to celebrate body acceptance and promote a healthy lifestyle, we asked 27 Team USA athletes to tell us the foods they love to eat when it comes time to cheat. We had no idea so many athletes had such a sweet tooth!

Olympic volleyball silver medalist Foluke Akinradewo: “My favorite splurge item is pizza, specifically Patxi’s Pizza. If I allowed myself, I’d eat it every single day. I try to exhibit some self control and make it a bimonthly treat instead.”


Elana Meyers Taylor with husband Nic Taylor eat their red velvet cake at their wedding in April 2014.

Two-time Olympic bobsled medalist Elana Meyers Taylor: “I absolutely LOVE red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. My husband (fellow bobsledder Nic Taylor) and I had it at our wedding last year and it was probably the only thing I had planned since I was a little girl! There’s a restaurant, Hopdoddy, in Phoenix, where we live now, which serves red velvet milkshakes with real pieces of red velvet cake. If I’m breaking from my diet, that’s what I’m having these days.”

Olympic short track speedskating bronze medalist Aly Dudek: “When I decide it’s splurging time, I go full-on Wisconsin: beer brats and cheese curds all day! Being from America’s Dairyland, when I go back home my cheese intake skyrockets. And no Packers game is complete without Johnsonville beer brats at the stadium. There’s also Kopp’s frozen custard. So delicious, but gives me a stomachache every time I splurge for a scoop. Worth it!”

Two-time Olympic curler Erika Brown: “My favorite splurge food is vanilla ice cream with crushed saltine crackers on top. If I’m really lucky, we have caramel or chocolate sauce in the house.”

Olympic slopestyle skiing bronze medalist Nick Goepper: “I love chocolate chip cookies with M&M’S. My grandma makes them and I’ll eat 20 in one day.”

Three-time bronze medalist Paralympic alpine skiing guide Rob Umstead: “I have a weakness for Nick’s Famous Roast Beef in Beverly, Massachusetts. Large beef sandwich with sauce. Soooo good! Thankfully it’s 3,000 miles away from where I live.”


Olympic rowing gold medalist Esther Lofgren: “After really, really long rows my splurge is pancakes — with the absolute best being sweet potato pecan pancakes. They are somewhere between pancakes, sweet yams and pecan pie. Yum! And as a California girl, I know that after a hard weekend of racing there is nothing quite like an In-N-Out Double Double, Animal Style with vanilla shake to celebrate.”

Olympic water polo gold medalist Courtney Mathewson: “My splurge meal would be a bone-in filet, prepared medium rare, and a side of au gratin potatoes and mac and cheese from Mastro’s!”

Olympic short track speedskating silver medalist Chris Creveling: “My favorite splurge food is chocolate chip cookies. Since I eat clean most of the time, cookies give me the sugar fix that I have been missing so much.”

Olympic water polo silver medalist Jesse Smith: “My ultimate splurge meal has to be Thanksgiving dinner. During the seven years I played water polo abroad in Europe, my wife and I made Thanksgiving dinner completely from scratch for our foreign friends. The last years we have been gluten free so that added an extra twist. It was a great excuse to just cook the apples with butter and sugar and put it on top of vanilla ice cream! Can't beat the simplicity and deliciousness of that!”

Two-time table tennis Olympian Jimmy Butler: “My favorite splurge is corn chips with sour cream and hot salsa dip. I can eat the whole sour cream container in one sitting! My favorite sweet splurge is oatmeal cookies. I’ll eat the whole box at once. Good thing I’m 6-4, since this would not go well on a smaller stomach.”

Olympic short track speedskating bronze medalist Allison Baver: “My splurge food is gourmet cupcakes and desserts. When traveling I try and find the best of the best! Magnolia Bakery in New York City is a favorite. I've literally stopped there and ate a cupcake in the middle of a run. (Which is the way I recommend doing it! Ha.) Recently (my fiancé) Tommy and I were attending a charity event in California and we had to stop by Sprinkles in Beverly Hills for a peanut butter cupcake with peanut butter ice cream and salty caramel ice cream, baby!”


Three-time Olympic figure skating medalist Meryl Davis: “I have some form of chocolate every day. I'll usually do a cookie or brownie after dinner but also found some chocolate-covered honey candies that I'd keep in my pantry 24/7 while in training.”

Olympic gymnastics silver medalist Chellsie Memmel: “My favorite splurge is chocolate chip cookie dough, plain or in ice cream. I didn’t eat it very often while training, but that made it more delicious when I did.”

Olympic volleyball silver medalist Christa Dietzen: “I don’t splurge often, because when I do I can feel how it affects my body. But we all have to let loose once in a while. I would say my splurging happens around the holidays. Strawberry pretzel salad and pierogies are two of my favorite holiday treats.”

Paralympic snowboard cross silver medalist Mike Shea: “One of my favorite unhealthy splurge foods is probably ice cream. I find myself eating it way too often, but it’s worth every minute. Especially a banana split.”

Olympic long track speedskater Kelly Gunther: “Ohh, I would say cheese fries from my favorite place to eat, Outback. Or ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery.”

Two-time Olympic curler Allison Pottinger: “I would have to say my favorite splurge food is homemade lasagna. I love it! I don’t make it very often and call it my splurge because I am not a good cook and need to find people to make it for me! Love the baked goodness and cheesiness of it. I love it when we have it with some nice warm bread as well. I am especially a fan of when the corners or top layer of cheese gets a little crispy!”

Olympic rower Ellen Tomek: “My favorite splurge food is sour candy. I crave it after really hard days of training. I try not to eat too much of it at one time, but it does happen occasionally! Most of the time though, a handful of it a few times a week hits the spot.”

Olympic archery silver medalist Jacob Wukie: “Ice cream. Ice cream. And ice cream.”


Lauren Cholewinski loves her ranch dressing.

Olympic long track speedskater Lauren Cholewinski: “I am currently pregnant with twins — due mid-August — so my food cravings have been quite interesting. My biggest, or strangest, so far has been ranch dressing. I eat it on everything: rice, pasta, pizza, salad, chicken, steak, potatoes, fries, sandwiches, crackers, EVERYTHING!”

Olympic equestrian Will Coleman: “On the way home from a big event, I love to indulge in Cool Ranch Doritos. I randomly like to dabble in Doritos when I’m feeling like a good cheat snack.”

Olympic wrestling hopeful Joe Rau: “If I had to choose, it would be between either a Chicago deep dish pizza, loaded with all of the veggies, sausage and buttered crust. Or a dipped Italian beef with hot and sweet peppers, followed by ice cream from Margie’s Candies in Chicago.”

Three-time Olympic figure skating medalist Charlie White: “For me, it’s definitely pizza.”

Two-time Olympic curler Jessica Schultz: “After a long competition out of the states, my first splurge meal back is usually a juicy burger with sweet potato fries. Nothing beats a good burger — except cookie dough. That is the one thing I can’t say no to. My grandma will even make some and freeze it for me so I can take a spoonful here and there when the sweet tooth takes over.”

Three-time Paralympic alpine skiing bronze medalist Danelle Umstead: “I am gluten free by choice so my weakness is soft German pretzels, pasta and pizza. So I try to eat them in moderation. The sweets that I have a hard time turning my back on are brownies with nuts.”

Three-time Olympic skeleton athlete Katie Uhlaender: “My splurge food is Greek yogurt with peanut butter that I keep in the freezer. It’s a trick I use to create a healthy version of frozen yogurt.”