It was fitting when New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski caught a short pass that would put Tom Brady over 50,000 passing years for his career. The connection had been made so many times when "Gronk" was becoming a star in Foxboro back in 2011. This time, the crowd would be chanting Brady's name. But the catch was also big for Gronkowski, who finished a Sunday night, 43-17 blowout win over Cincinnati with 100 receiving yards and a touchdown on six catches, the 25-year-old's best game so far in 2014.
Gronkowski is finally healthy after recovering from offseason knee surgery. He acknowledged that being on the shelf, of course, forced him to pay special attention to his eating habits. So he shared with us exactly what's on his dinner plate in this edition of DISHED, a series in which top athletes tell us what they're eating and why.
GREENS: First off, I usually make sure I have some greens and vegetables on my plate, so I have the broccoli there. Broccoli contains lot of vitamins, especially vitamin C, and it has lots of antioxidants, which is huge because after practice you’re all flamed up and need something to calm down your muscles and take care of all the swelling and all the pain from practice and lifting.
I’ve also got some carrots, which are rich in vitamin A and help your eyesight. You always want good eyesight. You’ve got to see to catch the ball.
FRUIT: I’ve got some blueberries and strawberries. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and serve as an anti-inflammatory, and strawberries have vitamin C and antioxidants. Again, that’s huge because you want as many antioxidants as possible after a practice or lifting session.
PROTEIN: I have tuna and chicken. Those are two great sources of protein, which you need to rebuild your muscles after you break them down on the practice field and in the weight room. The tuna also has omega-3 fatty acids to help you recover.
DRINK: You always need to rehydrate. During some practices on really hot day I lose about eight pounds of liquid. When it gets cooler you don’t lose as much but you need to be hydrating just as much. To be sure that I gain everything back into my body after a hard day of practice and sweating, I always like to have a bottle of BODYARMOR. It gives me 100% of my daily servings of vitamins A, C, and E, and 200% of my B vitamins, too. Also, it helps me not cramp. It has more potassium than a banana and twice the electrolytes of other sports drinks. Electrolytes are huge.
Gronk's Go-To Dinner
On a normal night, I go with chicken and a side of sweet potatoes. I have a thing for sweet potatoes; they’re definitely a nice complex carb to get into your body and they taste really good. Then I’d have some pineapple to quench my thirst. Then for a vegetable, I’d definitely have to go with some asparagus with a little cheese on top of it to get some really good flavor.
Gronk's Favorite Cheat Meal
When I go for a cheat meal I don’t go for fast food or anything like that. I don’t find that appetizing at all. A cheat meal for me would be a nice groomed pizza (I love buffalo chicken pizza with a little blue cheese on it and some chicken. Or just a regular cheese and pepperoni pizza. That’s always good no matter where you go.) or a sub at a sub shop with steak, cheese, and mayo with bread and put some great toppings on it as well. I love a great sub whenever I can make it.
Gronk's Favorite Home-cooked Meal
I have to go with my mom’s homemade chicken soufflé. No one else has ever made it before and no one else has ever heard of it. I’m not even really sure what’s in it. I know there’s bread, chicken, a little soup, there’s cheese on top – I’m not exactly sure what else is in it but it’s bomb and not one of my friends has ever turned it down. That’s my favorite. Whenever my mom comes into town she makes a whole platter.