What Does Serena Williams Eat?

It’s no secret that Serena Williams is a powerhouse athlete. She has dominated the sport of tennis for almost twenty years, and she doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Like any elite athlete, she has to choose the right fuel to stay at the top of her game. What does she eat to keep her body so strong and healthy? A peek at her diet might surprise you: Williams eats quite the range of food, from Moon Pies to…grass?

Serena Williams eats vegan food

Serena Williams
Serena Williams | Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

As hard as Williams works, she has to fuel her body well. For her, that means eating mostly plant-based food. She told Bon Appetit that she cleaned up her diet and started eating vegan when her sister Venus got sick with an autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s syndrome. Together, they learned to eat lots of raw foods and smoothies. But although she learned to love to eat leafy greens, she wasn’t unreasonably strict with her diet. Venus apparently called their diet “chegan” because they would cheat sometimes with a little chicken or fish. 

These days plants make up the majority of her diet, especially when she’s training. The first thing she has is breakfast with oats, fruit and almond butter. Lunch is usually a light salad. She might finish up with a dinner of brown rice and vegetables, as well as chia and hemp seeds. She’s pretty happy with this diet, and it’s a good thing. Not only does it keep her strong for the court, but it also gives her room to indulge a little. 

Serena Williams is a foodie

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It’s taco Sunday

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Don’t assume that Williams is always eating clean, though. She loves food too much, so she lets herself enjoy some of her favorites now and then. She’s a big fan of tacos and enjoys a Moon Pie, on an occasion. She indulges in things like pizza and fried chicken sometimes. She even showed her fans on Instagram the beignet her husband made for her once, to satisfy a craving. After all, food is fuel, but it’s also delicious. 

It makes sense that Williams wouldn’t be overly strict with her diet. She’s an extremely disciplined athlete, but she’s also a strong woman who has a positive attitude about her body. She tries to accept herself as she is and to encourage other women to accept themselves too. This is not someone who is going to miss out on enjoying life’s pleasures just so she can fit into a smaller size. 

Serena Williams gets strict about food when she needs to be

There are times though that Williams can get very strict about what she eats. She had an emergency C-section when her daughter was born. Then she became very ill and needed multiple surgeries. When she came home from the hospital she spent six weeks in bed recovering. 

To heal and recover from the pregnancy and medical problems that followed, she followed a strict vegan meal plan and cut out sugar. Earlier this year she even told reporters that she was following an “awful” diet to combat the effects of being sedentary. What was so awful about it? She apparently had to eat grass. She said the grass diet worked, though, and for Williams that was enough. Even though she said it was a “nightmare” she felt it was worth it.

It makes sense that Williams is content to give up her favorite dishes so she can heal and return to her sport. Recovering can be tough, but she’s no stranger to hard work and sacrifice. And although she loves food, the tennis court will always be her first love.