It would be hard to blame Alterraun Verner if he was searching for comfort food. His Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 1-8 heading into this week's matchup with the Washington Redskins and Verner missed last week while nursing a hamstring injury. But the injury, much like this season, is an exercise in patience. Verner, a Pro Bowl cornerback in 2013, signed a four-year deal with the Bucs last March worth $26.5 million. Remaining healthy is paramount and that's why the 25 year-old Verner warns anyone dealing with a hamstring injury not to rush back into intense activity and when you can't train at full speed, keeping up with your nutrition becomes even more important.
Verner doesn't do much cooking himself anymore. Especially now that he's married. He says his wife, Sina'e, takes care of his meals at home. Otherwise his nights would be filled with various sushi and fried rice plates. Most days, he's eating with the team though. Here, he shares exactly what's on his plate one day before practice in this installment of DISHED, a series in which top athletes tell us what they're eating and why.
GREENS: The first thing that I usually get when I walk into our cafeteria - there’s a salad bar - I usually get a salad with lettuce. I might sprinkle a little cheese. I usually try to get balsamic vinaigrette as the dressing. I usually do that because I like salad and having some kind of greens on your plate to get those minerals and vitamins. I usually at least start off with that before practice. I’ve got some green beans to go along with the salad. I also usually have some kind of starch, veggies and then a main meat, or protein item.
RICE: I’ve got the rice pilaf to get some starch. I try to get some starch and some carbohydrates before I work out.
PROTEIN: It was a taco day that day. I had beef and chicken in the taco. I tried to actually roll it up like a Chipotle burrito but it was so full I couldn’t close the other end. I was trying to put the chicken in so that it didn’t fall out – or at least that’s what I attempted to do. I put lettuce, guacamole, sour cream. I had tomatos and salsa. I tried to load it up actually and get all the different types of things in there with a little bit of cheese.
Alterraun's Go-To Dinner
Since I’m married now my wife will cook something for me. She usually tries to keep to the same thing, making sure there’s veggies, starch and a protein. She cooks relatively healthy for me. When I was by myself I would attempt to cook or I’d go out and buy something. My favorites would be sushi or some kind of fried rice, fish or a steak with potatoes and sautéed spinach or creamed spinach.
Alterraun's Favorite Sina'e-Cooked Meal
She makes a lot of good things. I would say my favorite is like an enchilada thing. She’ll cook meat and potatoes and put it all in a pot and put some cheese over it and tortillas and then she’ll oven-bake it into some enchilada type of mix. It’s almost like a pie-slash-enchilada dish and I eat so much of it and I know I probably shouldn’t. But I end up eating a lot of it.
Alterraun's Favorite Homecooked Meal
My dad is more the cook. He does the barbecuing. He cooks all types of things. The thing I grew up eating was his spaghetti. He makes this really good spaghetti. I don’t know what it was (that made it so good). I think it’s because he put some type of cheese in it. It’s always good. Lately he’s been doing this spaghetti pie where he’ll put a layer of cheese on top. That’s something he’s been doing recently but his regular spaghetti I’ve always really liked. He also does this fried rice dish where he’ll put chicken, shrimp - all different types of meat - then he’ll fry the rice and have the peas, carrots and everything in it. It’s really good.
Alterraun's Favorite Cheat Meal
Red velvet cupcakes. There’s something back at my house that my sister (Vicki) used to buy and it was so good. I would eat three or four of them. They were Susie's cupcakes in Los Angeles.