What athletes eat: Track phenom Sydney McLaughlin's buffalo chicken pita bread pizza

University of Kentucky freshman star Sydney McLaughlin is considered a favorite in this week's NCAA track and field national championships in Eugene, Oregon. Just last month, the 18-year-old broke the NCAA record in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing in 52.75 seconds to take first in the SEC.

Courtesy Chet White, UK Athletics

But despite her young age, McLaughlin is far from a novice on the big stage. In 2016, the New Jersey native qualified for the Olympic team at just 16 -- and competed in Rio the same month she turned 17 -- making her the youngest American track and field athlete to qualify for the Games in 26 years.

She went on to set American and world records in the indoor distance medley relay alongside Olympic medalists Emma Coburn and Jenny Simpson while still a senior in high school.

For McLaughlin, who's already racked up an abundance of youth, high school and collegiate records, all eyes will be on the clock in Eugene: The American record in the 400-meter hurdles is just 0.28 seconds away from her personal record, and the world record is just 0.41 seconds off.

But when she's not setting record books on fire, the journalism major is still doing her best to live the life of any other student athlete -- balancing training and travel with books and campus life.

One of the perks of being a Wildcat? Access to an on-campus nutrition room stocked with appliances and healthy ingredients. McLaughlin shared a post-workout lunch she cooked up there last week.

Kentucky Athletics

Day and time: 1 p.m. on Thursday

What I'm eating: Buffalo chicken pizza

Why I'm eating it: It has carbs, veggies and protein -- perfect for lunch after a hard workout.

Whose recipe: I actually don't know! I think it came from a huge binder of recipes that the U.K. athletic department sports nutritionists provide.

The recipe:


1 pita bread
3 mini bell peppers, chopped (red, orange, yellow)
About 8 ounces of chicken sautéed (chopped the size you want for pizza topping)
Handful of spinach
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
Hot sauce
2 tablespoons cream cheese

Spread cream cheese onto the pita and add hot sauce to your desired level of spiciness. Then add the chopped peppers, chicken, spinach and cheese. Bake in oven or toaster oven anywhere from 250 to 400 degrees for five to 10 minutes. Keep checking and cook to golden color.

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