Jason Pierre-Paul, better known as JPP to his fans, may be a man of many sacks, but the 25-year-old Giants defensive end is a player of few words. “Simple, very healthy,” is how JPP succinctly describes his diet—and the Super Bowl XLVI champion has not strayed from that pithy description since he has been in training camp and ramping up his workouts on and off the field. “I don’t eat badly,” says the two-time Pro Bowler. “I don’t have any bad foods.”
Indeed, steal a glance at the massive all-you-can-eat buffet in Big Blue’s cafeteria, and you’ll realize JPP’s regular rotation of chicken salad and baked salmon amounts to a major feat of dietary discipline. “I don’t eat dessert,” says the 6-5, 275-pound Pierre-Paul. “I eat healthier than my teammates.” And while the former South Florida star, drafted by the Giants as the 15th overall pick in 2010, admits he will occasionally order a pepperoni pizza to his hotel room, for the most part, JPP says he’s eating for success this season, especially after undergoing back surgery last year that left him logging just two sacks in his 11 games. “I feel great,” he says of his time at camp. “I’ve been getting after it. And the stuff I eat makes me a better player.” Bring on the low-fat ranch dressing!
Chicken salad: JPP’s go-to meal in camp is a big lettuce salad topped with grilled chicken, onions, croutons, and Caesar dressing—hardly what you’d expect to find a burly defensive end eating after hours in the weight room and on the field. “It’s simple, and it doesn’t make me feel heavy,” says the Florida native. “I eat it twice a day, for lunch and dinner. It’s perfect for a meal.”
Salmon: When JPP doesn’t feel like salad, he says he opts for salmon in the cafeteria. “I like the flavor,” says the 2011 All-Pro pick. “I don’t really know how it affects my performance.” At the facility, JPP says he eats only baked fish, never fried. But otherwise, he's not picky about his seafood. “Whatever they serve me, that’s how I eat it,” he says.
Ranch dressing: Does your food ever taste a little bland? If so, do what JPP does and drown it in some ranch dressing, which is what he pours over salad, chicken, green beans, and, as he puts it, “basically, everything.” Does he ever worry about all that dietary fat he’s getting from the creamy dressing? “It’s low-fat ranch,” JPP explains. “Plus, we run it off in practice.”
Pepperoni pizza: No 275-pound player could survive on salad, salmon, and low-fat ranch alone. That’s why JPP occasionally dials up a pepperoni pizza from a nearby Domino’s or Pizza Hut and has the pie delivered to his hotel room, where he stays during camp. “I order it about 8:30 at night after we get back from the facility,” he says. “But I only do it sometimes.” Why pepperoni pizza? “I lose weight every day in camp, and this helps fill me up a little bit and helps me not lose weight.”
Eggs: JPP is a big fan of working hard in the weight room, but he is less enthusiastic about the protein shakes and bars that often follow lifting sessions at the Giants’ East Rutherford, N.J., facility. “Some guys use protein shakes, and they make their own. But I don’t need that because my diet is already so high in protein,” he says. To ensure that he gets enough of the muscle-building macronutrient, JPP says he starts each day with a plate of fried eggs, alongside oatmeal.
Gatorade: If JPP suffers from any dietary excess during his time at camp, it may be too much Gatorade. “I drink about 10 eight-ounce bottles a day,” he says. “I know that’s a lot, but I have to stay hydrated.” What may help him guzzle back even more of the sugary sports drink is that his favorite flavor is Rain, Gatorade's lighter-tasting line.