Diets for Running Backs in the NFL

An ideal diet for running backs requires 55 percent to 60 percent of their daily caloric intake to come from carbohydrates, 15 percent from protein, and 30 percent from fat, according to Leslie Bonci, who serves as the director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh and consults in that capacity with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Most meals should consist of proteins, starches and fruits and vegetables, all in equal portions.

Training Camp Eating

The need for calories is at its peak during training camp. Players may need to consume 8,000 calories or more per day, according to Bonci. An ideal diet for running backs includes 55 to 60 percent of the daily caloric intake to come from carbohydrates, 15 percent from protein, and 30 percent from fat. Proteins should include red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt, dried beans and nuts. Starches should include rice, pasta and potatoes. Fruits like apples, bananas, grapefruit and grapes are a necessity, while fresh vegetables such as peas, broccoli, beans and corn are also needed. Fast foods and desserts should be eliminated.

Pregame Meal

Low-fat meals are best before the game because fats take longer to digest and will stay in the system longer. Running backs who eat high-fat meals may feel full and slow during the game and that needs to be avoided at all costs. Pregame meals for running backs include turkey and ham submarine sandwiches, eggs with waffles and fruit and pasta with red sauce and grilled chicken. If you are playing earlier in the day, try a smoothie with cereal and fruit as your pregame meal.

Postgame Meal

Players can eat more fats after the game, when quick digestion is not a necessity. Some of the top meals can include steak with rice, salmon with green beans and corn, roast beef with mashed potatoes and salad and hamburgers or grilled chicken sandwiches with fries and natural fruit juice.


No matter how careful you are with your diet, if you don't keep yourself hydrated you will not be helping your ability to stay in the game. During the hottest part of training camp, running backs must drink 20-to-40 ounces of water per hour while exercising. Drink water with your meals, as well. Water will keep your vital organs functioning smoothly and will also help to wash toxins from your body.