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By Yasmin Fahr
TheDailyMeal.com

We all fall prey to superstitions like not walking under a ladder or opening an umbrella indoors. But they
are probably not as exacting as the ones professional athletes abide by -- especially when it comes to
food on game days. If you ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before playing the best game of your life,
you had better eat that same sandwich before every single game. Perhaps that's what Paul Pierce is thinking
every time he eats a PB&J exactly 55 minutes before he jumps on court.

It makes sense because food is what fuels our body and gives athletes the energy they need to dominate
their opponents. These athletes know what works for them and what doesn’t -- and they stick to it.
For instance, 13-time All-Star Alex Rodriguez starts his day with a bowl of fresh fruit, while Peyton Manning's
multi-course meal filled with lean protein and a variety of starches likely keeps his energy up throughout the
game.

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Slideshow: Pregame superstitions of pro athletes

Sometimes, however, the line between performance-enhancing eats and pure superstition becomes a little
fuzzy. Some of the kookier rituals? Wade Boggs had to have chicken in any form, even fried, before playing,
and Lamar Odom credits a sugar rush from all the candy he eats for his on-court endurance.

What's also interesting is the shift from somewhat unhealthy choices in the past (like Michael Jordan's steak
and potato dinners) to relatively healthy and nutritious meals like LeBron James' choice of salmon and grilled
pineapple prepared by his personal chef. From baked potatoes to Cinnamon Toast Crunch, these 12 athletes
have developed their own extraordinary recipes for success.

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What's also interesting is the shift from somewhat unhealthy choices in the past (like Michael Jordan's steak
and potato dinners) to relatively healthy and nutritious meals like LeBron James' choice of salmon and grilled
pineapple prepared by his personal chef. From baked potatoes to Cinnamon Toast Crunch, these 12 athletes
have developed their own extraordinary recipes for success.

The list:

Derrick Rose
The 2011 NBA MVP, Rose played one year in college for Memphis and is a tenacious defender known for his lightning quick moves off the dribble. He will be a perennial all-star in the league for years to come as long as he keeps eating his sweets -- his publicly known and acknowledged addiction. Though his personal chef has made him swear off fast food, sugar is something that he will not give up, which is fine by us as long as he keeps up the good work.

Peyton Manning
This Super Bowl Champion eats two pieces of grilled chicken, a bowl of pasta with marinara sauce, a plain baked potato, a side of broccoli, and Gatorade before every game. No matter what time of day.

Paul Pierce
An All-Star veteran for the Boston Celtics, Pierce won an NBA championship with fellow superstitious eater Ray Allen in 2008. How'd he do it? By eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich 55 minutes before every game.

Lamar Odom
Named NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year this past season, he now stars in his own reality show together with his wife Khloe Kardashian and chows down on as much candy as he can -- even in the middle of the night.

Derek Jeter
You have to wonder how Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has managed to be a five-time World Series champion who recently recorded his 3,000th hit by a smashing home run. Maybe it's due to his requisite meal of pancakes and an omelette before each game.

Brian Urlacher
A modern day Monster of the Midway for the Chicago Bears, Urlacher is a physically intimidating Pro Bowl middle linebacker known for his crushing hits on opposing players. How does he find the energy and endurance? By eating two chocolate chip cookies before every game.

For complete list of athletes and their pre-game meals, go to TheDailyMeal.com.

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-- 8 Most Lavish Championship Celebrations In Sports
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-- Best Athlete-Endorsed Sports Drinks

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