Diet Diary: Venus Williams Shares Everything She Ate Leading Up To The U.S. Open
We told you the other day what food Serena Williams said she gave up in order to be in tip-top shape for the U.S. Open and other competitions this fall, and it was clear that you wanted a more detailed look into her diet and meal plans. Well, while Serena might not have been able to share all that, Venus literally tracked her food for four days leading up to the U.S. Open for Cosmopolitan. From foods she ate first thing in the morning before practice to how she eats after a match, all of her food choices seem to be paying off nicely. In case you missed it, Venus has won both of her matches so far in the tournament, even securing her 70th U.S. Open victory this week. So how did she fuel up for competition?
On day one, Williams got up at 7 a.m. and went with a smoothie for breakfast. “Early in the morning, it’s super tough for me to eat right away, but I still need energy for practice,” she wrote. “I try to start out with a protein smoothie, a green juice, or some sort of fruit.”
For snacks during practice when she’s feeling low on energy, Williams shared that she packed nectarines “because they’re in season,” as well as grapes to hold her over until lunch time.
For lunch, which she had around 12 after practice and following a workout at the gym, Williams said she was “really, really hungry!”
“I stopped by Christopher’s Kitchen, my favorite vegan spot in Palm Beach, Florida, and ordered the lentils with quinoa and a strawberry milkshake with protein powder to go.”
After lunch, Williams had meetings for her active wear line, EleVen. In between those meetings she chose kale chips and had some green juice. She noted that it’s important for her to indulge in such light snacks in between eating large meals to help her keep her energy up.
In the evening, around 6 p.m. following a visit with her father, Williams worked out again. She took a hip-hop dance class (at Sean’s Dance Factory) and made sure to eat light afterward.
“I refueled on breaks with dates, cashews, and water,” she said. “Afterward, I was worn out and went home to pack for the U.S. Open in New York, then got on my flight.”
For day two, in New York, she had to get up early again at 7 a.m., but this time for promotional events for the U.S. Open.
“For breakfast, I had an egg-white omelet with tomato and cheese,” she said, eating the meal before getting her hair and makeup done. Once she was done with all of her promotional efforts, it was time for practice. To refuel at 12:30, Williams kept her meal quite healthy.
“I went to The Little Beet for lunch with my team and ordered sweet potatoes, green beans, and cabbage and soba noodles.
After meeting up with Serena at a U.S. Open event, Venus ended up getting back to her hotel pretty late, around 9 p.m. She kept it light, once again.
“When I travel, I always keep some food in the hotel to stir up if I need to,” she said. “I made a salad of mixed greens, Newman’s Own Caesar dressing, and a diced tomato. I followed it up with plain yogurt and local honey from New York.”
And then it was off to bed!
For day three, her last free day before matches, she got up around 9:30 a.m. To have a good amount of energy for her last training session, Venus had some fresh granola and Silk almond milk. She saved her biggest meal of the day for lunch, which was at 1 p.m.
“I had brown rice and beans with grilled shrimp,” she said. “I always crave sweets, so I had a fresh pineapple, orange, and strawberry juice to satisfy my cravings.”
In the evening, Venus focused on physical therapy and relaxing. But she also made time to hang with Serena and shared her sister’s fennel and crab salad with gluten-free porcini penne pasta.
But of course, that wasn’t enough in the late evening, around 8 p.m.
“Like most people, I love to snack at night,” she said. “I had Nature’s Addict apple, passion fruit, and mango fruit snacks.”
On match day, day four, Venus slept in before going for a run with her dog. For breakfast, she went the unconventional route around 10 a.m.:
“I always eat a huge breakfast on match days even though my stomach hates it,” she said. “Today, I warmed up some fried rice in my room.”
After warming up on the court with her racket, around 12:45, Venus had lunch. “I ate a lunch of sweet potatoes and rice, and pre-mixed the energy drinks I bring to the court for energy and hydration,” she said. “I use a combo of organic coconut water and organic pineapple juice.”
After winning her first match and playing for a whopping two hours and 43 minutes, Venus actually did a brief workout to help her body cool down after all the work it had done. She had a light meal afterward.
“I rode a stationary bike for 10 minutes and stretched for 30 minutes to cool down and help my body recover, ” she said. “I also refueled and rehydrated with water with electrolyte powder, then ate some more sweet potatoes, rice, and barbecue tofu.”
And at the end of the night, she capped off a busy day with a with salad and some physical therapy around 9:30 p.m.
“I often finish my days with a Caesar salad — this time, it [sic] just had some mixed greens, tomatoes, and Caesar dressing,” Venus said. “Then I spent an hour on the table doing physical therapy to undo all the damage done during the match. The first rounds of a tournament are always tricky because playing tennis takes a lot out of you. But I can’t wait for the next round!”
And there you have it. Venus balances days full of physical activity with light snacks to keep her energy, as well as some starches here and there, veggies, lots of fruit to handle cravings, and of course, water and organic juices to stay hydrated. It’s how she stays lean — and how she’s managed to be successful after more than 20 years of dominating the court.