Seventeen members of the Buffalo Bills weigh in at 300 pounds or more, with left tackle Cordy Glenn weighing in as the heftiest Bill at 345 pounds. These behemoth Bills sure require plenty of food and nutrients to fuel their bodies, with many of the Bills consuming upwards of 4,000 calories or more per day as high-performing athletes. But what does it take to feed all the Bills?
These days, in the NFL, where winning is everything, teams are focused on winning on the field and in the cafeteria. Players and coaches alike realize the important role that nutrition plays in a team’s successes, as teams are looking to gain an edge in any and every way possible, including the food and nutrients their players consume.
The misconception about huge athletes is they feed their bodies with plenty of carbohydrates, such as pasta, along with high fat foods such as french fries, cheeseburgers, and chicken wings. Those fatty treats — including fried foods and Buffalo’s trademark chicken wings — are nowhere to be found in the team’s cafeteria.
According to an in-depth piece by ESPN’s Mike Rodak, the team’s cafeteria — which serves about 250 people per day, including players, coaches, and staff members — serves up 700 pounds of rotisserie chicken, 400-500 pounds of beef, and more than 250 pounds of salmon on a weekly basis.
"Everything is going to be as healthy as possible," assistant strength and conditioning coach Will Greenberg told Rodak in August. "The idea is if we can give [players] as many good nutrients as possible while they're here, there's going to be times where guys go and they want cheeseburgers somewhere -- they're going to have that, that's going to be their choice, that's fine. But if we can give them three meals here and maybe a take-home meal, that's a great chance for guys to eat healthy all the time."
The menu always includes several staples including salmon, chicken, broccoli, and asparagus. Aside from salmon, other types of healthy fish from cod and sea bass to halibut and tilapia are rotated into the players’ diets.
The biggest cheat food is pizza, though it is made with a twist. Each week, a customized flatbread pizza is created with a theme based on Buffalo’s opponent that week. For example, when the Bills traveled to Baltimore, the team served up flatbread pizzas featuring crab cake.
As far as fruits and vegetables go, the Bills serve up 60 pounds of broccoli per day to go with an average of 50 bunches of asparagus and 56 pounds of strawberries daily.
The most popular snack among Bills players? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Greenberg said the team’s most popular part of the cafeteria is the smoothie bar, with 60 24-ounce shakes being served daily.
As far as hydration goes, the Bills go through roughly 52 cases of water per week, as every player is aware that they need to consume half of their body weight in ounces of water before every practice.
Whether you’re the Bills largest player (Glenn) or the smallest (5-foot-11, 184-pound CB Shareece Wright), the Bills have made a habit of feeding their players a steady stream of healthy foods to give them a leg up on game days.