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So Much Yogurt: What Athletes in the Olympic Village Will Be Eating

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Things are starting to heat up at the Olympic Village in Rio where the Summer Games will kick off August 5. Teams from all over the world have already arrived; they’re nervous, pumped, and hungry for gold. And hungry for food. To compete with the appetites of thousands of world-class athletes, Rio’s dining hall runs the length of four Olympic swimming pools and can accommodate 18,000 people and 460,000 pounds of food a day.

But what exactly is coming out of that Olympic-sized kitchen? Every item on the plates of the world’s most elite athletes has gone through an intensive trial of its own. The operation is outsourced to a food-service company, though Olympics officials and independent dietitians give feedback and approve the final menu. To understand how a plate of pasta makes it from the test kitchen to the main event, we talked to Fiona Pelly, an Australia dietitian who has judged the menus for six Olympic Games, including Rio.

Getting on the menu at the Olympic dining hall seems to be as hard as getting into the Olympics. Why is it such a tough process?
There’s so much that goes into it. First I look at whether athletes will be adequately catered to, culturally and religiously. Athletes from African countries eat differently than athletes from Europe and Asia. Then I consider different diets. Are there enough options for people who are gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan, or lactose-intolerant? Then of course there’s sport performance—do they have foods with enough carbohydrates and enough protein? And lastly there’s taste and appearance. If athletes go into the dining hall and don’t find something that looks and tastes good, they may not get properly fueled. This is a pretty hard thing to get right when you’re doing large-scale food service.

Inside the Olympic Village cafeteria, which …read more

Source:: Bon Appetit