Chip Kelly

Chip Kelly, the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles thinks what his players eat has a profound effect on how they play football. The once popular “Taco Tuesdays” and “Fast Food Fridays” were cut from the team’s diet and replaced with fresh, whole food meals.

Coach Kelly believes firmly in quality nutrition’s ability to enhance an athlete’s performance, whereas nachos and burgers can put more pressure on the body and compromise athleticism.

The team’s dining facility is now serving fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. The players will have to indulge in fast food and junk food on their own time.

Kelly isn’t the first person in the NFL to adopt a healthy diet approach. Arian Foster, the Houston Texans star running back, made headlines when he announced he was eating a predominantly vegan diet. Tony Gonzalez—tight end for the Atlanta Falcons—also switched to a vegan diet. He told Men’s Journal: “Let’s say I catch five [balls] a game. I get tackled five times. My body takes a pounding, no doubt. Why wouldn’t I want to be putting healing stuff in my body?”

And considering that athletes are some of the biggest role models for children around the world, there’s even more pressure than ever to be examples of healthy and responsible eating. Many athletes take endorsements from soda, fast food and junk food brands, but perhaps Coach Kelly’s approach will inspire a more responsible attitude—not just for the athletes’ own health—but for the health of their fans as well.

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Image: CBS