As co-captain of Northwestern’s seven-time national championship-winning lacrosse team and returning national player of the year, senior midfielder Taylor Thornton knows it’s essential to fuel her body properly. The 5’9” Texas native chows down on rice cakes, pasta, grilled chicken and more, energizing herself to give 100 percent on the field.
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Fact: Thornton started for all 87 games during her Northwestern career
Before games, what do you normally eat to fuel up?
Before every game we have a pregame meal, and it’s always Italian: plain pasta, red sauce, grilled chicken, vegetables and salad.
What do you eat before practice?
Usually a rice cake with peanut butter, jelly, granola and bananas on top. It’s easy on the stomach.
Does the team have any sort of food rituals that you do before practice or games?
When we’re on the road and we have away games, we always have a snack room. These are probably the staples: grapes, peanut butter, rice cakes, bagels, pita chips, Gatorade, water.
Any particularly funny or memorable moments with the team involving food?
I think one time we ran out of rice cakes and we thought the world was ending. Someone was probably almost in tears over it, but they got us some more.
Does your diet during the season differ from during the offseason?
I find that I’m hungrier when I’m playing lacrosse, like over the summer I’m probably not as hungry, but we burn so many calories in practice. I’m eating before and after [practice], a lunch, a midday snack and dinner.
You were a standout player in high school too. Has your diet during the season at Northwestern changed?
I would say I’m much smarter with my food choices since being in college. I’m not eating fast food like I would before games [in high school]. It’s very regimented; [in] high school I’d be eating a Snickers bar before a game.
What kind of things do you try to avoid during the season now?
I love soda, but I do try to avoid it. Greasy food — I try to limit that.
What’s your favorite restaurant here in Evanston?
I can really find anything when I go to Cozy Noodles.
What are some typical things you cook for yourself?
Anything keeping it simple. I can chop up avocados, tomatoes. I can take a can of corn and black beans and make a salad. Or pita chips and hummus.
What’s your favorite thing to cook?
Tacos. I love Mexican food. Growing up in Dallas I had it all the time. Soft tortilla, mango salsa, cheese, sour cream, chicken — that’s probably my favorite thing to make for myself.
What are some typical things you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Breakfast is usually two sunny-side up eggs, avocado, bacon. Lunch is usually some type of turkey sandwich, and then dinner is usually a pasta, like a pesto pasta with chicken and sautéed tomatoes, or anything [with] grilled chicken.