After attending the celebratory dinner welcoming Shaquille O'Neal into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA, I couldn't help but wonder if Shaq felt satisfied after the normal sized meal that was served. Did they give him two of everything? Or did he eat others' leftovers? 

Intrigued, I set out to find what and how much the legend himself likes to eat, especially since he's now retired from the sport he dominated for so long. After meeting him, I found he's every bit as likable as you would think. If you're intimidated by his 7-foot-1 stature or his size 22 feet, don't be. He's got a great sense of humor and couldn't be kinder.

His choice in food is equally as charming. Being the superstar he is, he's never really needed to cook for himself. He grew up with five sisters, and his mother still lives around the corner, so meals were always prepared with love and warmth.

His overabundance of nicknames include "The Big Cactus," "The Big Shaqtus," and "The Big Galactus," just to name a few, and each one hints at the fact that he needs a ton of extra fuel to keep himself running all day. 

1. Eat your mom's fried chicken.

meat, chicken, vegetable, sauce, pork
Shalayne Pulia

Growing up, fried chicken made a frequent appearance on the dinner table, as his mom would buy it by the bag, then prepare it slightly differently for each of the next few nights. 

2. Drink OJ, not coffee.

juice, sweet, cocktail, orange juice, smoothie, ice, milk, orange squash
Jocelyn Hsu
Surprisingly, Shaq has never had a cup of coffee in his life. Since the majority of his career took place in Florida, he goes for a glass of orange juice to start his mornings. He pairs it with an egg-white omelette for a healthy, protein-packed breakfast. He could throw in as many as a dozen eggs, though, distinguishing his breakfast from the average healthy eater.

In fact, everything about his diet is extremely relatable, proving he's such a normal human being. Well, except for the fact that he requires between 5,000 and 5,500 calories per day.

3. Lots of sandwiches.

sandwich, lettuce, bread, meat, cheese, salad
Alex Tom

He's an extremely health-conscious guy in his retirement from being an NBA superstar. He eats lots of lean meats for dinner, like salmon or chicken, and frequently pairs them with salads. All throughout his athletic career he focused on adding muscle weight and avoiding fat, which he still continues in his retirement. His definition of "bad eating" would be too many sandwiches.

For lunch, sandwiches are really his thing. He goes for turkey on wheat with cheese, lettuce, and tomato, and he actually prepares this himself, rather than let his family or chef of 12 years do the honors.

4. Hydrate.

lemon, water, lemonade
Caroline Liu

October is his month to really crack down on health, since he'll be reappearing on TV soon for his new career as an analyst on ESPN's Inside the NBA. According to Bon Appétit, he cuts his bread intake and drinks lots of water to ensure optimal health for the TV season.

5. Splurge on mac and cheese.

pasta, macaroni, sauce, cheese, tortellini, spaghetti
Annie Madole

Deep down, this 7'1" 12-time NBA All-Star is truly just like us: his favorite dish is none other than macaroni and cheese (or "Shaq and Cheese"). His mom knows it's his favorite, and calls him up often to let him know it's made and ready for him at her house.

The recipe is so secret, she won't even tell him what's in it. But it plays a huge role in his life and provides something for him and his mom to bond over, while also making him so much more relatable as a fellow mac and cheese lover.

6. Stay active.

Shaq also encourages kids to pursue the healthy-diet lifestyle, and he hosted his own reality TV show in 2007 called Shaq's Big Challenge, in which he helped six obese children from Florida to lose weight, live a healthier lifestyle, and ultimately pass the President's Physical Fitness Test.

Also on the team helping the kids was nutritionist Joy Bauer, Shaq's LSU Basketball coach Dale Brown, and Food Network celebrity Chef Tyler Florence. The kids all successfully lost a significant amount of weight and learned more about healthy eating habits from a star-studded team of experts.

7. Earn your stripes

sweet, corn, blueberry, cornflakes, berry, cereal
Kirby Barth

As a snack, like the rest of us, Shaq indulges in a bowl of sugary cereal, like Frosted Flakes. He might add a few more flakes to the bowl than you or I, but he enjoys every bite just the same.

When it comes to his diet, Shaquille O'Neal sums it up best himself by saying, "I can't eat burgers every day or a lot of sugar, but if there's some fried chicken and macaroni and cheese at the house - I'm eating it." Retweet, Shaq. Retweet.