Avoid sugars. Abstain from foods high in saturated fat. Renounce fried stuff. As an athlete, everywhere you turn there's s a food you shouldn't eat. Eating right helps you perform in your sport, but it's not always fun.
Let's be real: you're an athlete, but you're still a person, and most people like junk food every now and then. Below, we've rounded up the favorite "cheat meals" of some of your favorite athletes. Next time you're in the mood to splurge, consider piling one of them on your plate (just don't pile it too high).
Damian Lillard: Benihana
Lillard likes to escape to Benihana, a "Teppanyaki Style Restaurant," while he's up in Portland with the Blazers. "Benihana, that's my biggest [vice]—steak, chicken, shrimp, garlic butter, stuff like that," Lillard says."That's my favorite thing right now. I've been trying to tell myself I need to cut back on it a little bit, but so far it hasn't been working."
Philip Rivers: Pork Chops 'n Sauerkraut
The San Diego Chargers quarterback generally sticks to meat and veggies during the season, but when he wants to indulge, he chows down on some pork chops. "I have to go with my mom's pork chops and 'kraut," Rivers told us in the Holiday 2013 issue of STACK. "Pork chops, sauerkraut, onions, maybe a few home fries—but not too many [laughs]. But that's a big one. That's a birthday meal."
RELATED: Fuel Up Like Phillip Rivers
Derek Fisher: Sugary Cereal
The apparently ageless guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder sneaks in a bowl of cereal when he has a sugar rush. "For me, a good ol' bowl of, like, Frosted Flakes or some Honey Nut Cheerios, or if I'm feeling really bad, maybe some Cinnamon Toast Crunch or something like that," Fisher said in an interview with wallstcheatsheet.com. "You just feel like a kid again for five or six minutes."
LeBron James: Fruity Pebbles
If you've ever wondered where LeBron James's famed "Fruity Pebbles" kicks found their inspiration, you've got your answer: the King's palette. James ate the sugary cereal growing up, and the designers at Nike dropped a signature shoe to commemorate it.
Adrian Peterson: Ice Cream/Brownies
Most athletes on our list chomp down on their favorite treats to escape the monotony of a strict training diet. Amazingly, Peterson does it to maintain his health. "I actually have to eat ice cream and brownies sometimes, because my body fat percentage is so low," he told us in our Fall 2013 issue. "I shed a ton of fat easily, and when you don't have a lot of fat on your body, it's easier to get muscle pulls and the like."
Sidney Crosby: Chinese Food
Pittsburgh not might be known for its Chinese food, but that doesn't stop "The Kid" from enjoying some. "I love Chinese food," Crosby said in a 2005 interview with Penguins.com. "Egg rolls, beef fried rice, sweet and sour chicken. . . . it has to be the right place, though."
Justin Verlander: Taco Bell
The Tigers pitcher doesn't Live Mas when he treats himself: he does it the night before each and every game. "[I get the] same thing every time," Verlander said in an interview with Conan O'Brien. "Three crunchy Taco Supremes, no tomato. [A] cheesy gordita crunch. And a Mexican pizza, no tomato."
Lolo Jones: Chicken Wings
A glance at her lithe frame would say otherwise, but this Olympic hurdler sinks her teeth into a pile of greasy wings every week, according to a 2008 interview with SHAPE.com. "I usually treat myself to wings once a week," she said. "In the off-season I want to go for the record of eating 70 super spicy wings."
Landon Donovan: In-N-Out Burger
The most famous face in American soccer makes an effort to eat healthy, but he rolls into the Drive-Thru every now and then after a match. "I don't eat perfectly all the time," he said in an interview with The Huffington Post. "I have In-N-Out burgers after the game."
Aaron Rodgers: Dessert
Like Donovan, Rodgers makes an effort to eat clean. But that doesn't mean he won't chow down on a sugary snack every now and then. "I've been trying to eat healthier in the past calendar year," Rodgers said in an interview with TMJ4. "But I love dessert, so I got to say any type of ice cream or white cake."
Marshawn Lynch: Skittles
Athletes aren't generally known for their affinity with junk food, and hardly any chow down on the sidelines. Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch eats his favorite candy—Skittles—during many of his games. It's a tradition that goes all the way back to his Pop Warner days. "When Marshawn was 12 or 13, we'd go to his games and I'd always have little candies in my purse," Marshawn's mother Delisa said in an interview with Seahawks.com. "Before the game, I would say, 'Here, Marshawn, come and get your power pellets. I would give him a handful of Skittles and say, 'Eat 'em up, baby. They're going to make you run fast and they're going to make you play good.'" His appetite was big enough that Skittles auctioned off 24 packs of an ultra-limited edition "Seattle Mix" before the Seahawks played in the Super Bowl, with the proceeds going toward Lynch's charity, the Fam 1st Family Foundation.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock