Everything Soccer Legend Mia Hamm Cooks in a Day [Exclusive]

published Apr 4, 2024
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collage of Mia Hamm surrounded by mixed berries, a jar of overnight oats, a piece of avocado toast, and a dark chocolate bar
Credit: Photos: (Mia Hamm) Justin Tafoya/Getty Images, Joe Lingeman, Alex Lepe, Shutterstock

Mia Hamm knows a thing or two about fueling her body and has always had a love of food. The legendary professional soccer player quickly became a powerhouse after joining the U.S. women’s national soccer team at the young age of 15. Hamm gained a reputation for her competitive spirit and dynamic knack for scoring goals, leading the team to success for years and winning numerous World Cups and Olympics.

Since retiring, she spends less time on the field and more time taking care of her kids with husband Nomar Garciaparra. She still has a deep love for the sport and continues to stay engaged as co-owner of the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC). Hamm also launched her own foundation dedicated to creating opportunities for young women in sports and supporting families in need of bone marrow transplants.

More recently, Hamm starred in the latest Miller Lite “Great Taste, Less Filling” campaign with other celebrity all-stars Luke Wilson, J.J. Watt, David Ortiz, Jorge Posada, and Reggie Miller. “The opportunity to be a part of this was fun. I really enjoyed my time on set, and being a part of this group was pretty cool,” Hamm says. The campaign launched on March 21 in collaboration with March Madness

For this Cooking Diary, Mia Hamm shares her favorite snack combination, go-to takeout order, and the family recipe she’s still trying to perfect. 

It’s a Monday morning. What are you eating or drinking to start the day? 

I have coffee with a little bit of cream before the kids leave for school. Then I’ll do overnight oats with some berries, avocado toast, or scrambled eggs. It just depends on how much time I have in the morning. But something like that and water. 

Do your kids have the same breakfast as you or do they eat when they get to school? 

You know for kids, it really is about what mood they’re in. So sometimes it’s cereal, sometimes it’s toast with nutella. Just getting them to eat something is what I’m striving for.

What about the rest of the day? What’s a typical lunch and dinner?  

Lunch is usually something light like a salad with some type of protein. I like cottage cheese, a lot with fruit. Then dinner falls on me. It’s funny you ask. I was just trying to figure it out for tonight. It’ll probably be some chicken and broccoli, maybe some rice. Just really simple because we were doing a lot this weekend and didn’t have time to sit down as a family. But it’s usually a protein, a starch, and some type of vegetable. Then the times when I’m really not in the mood to cook, we do DoorDash.

Credit: Photo: Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images, Alex Lepe, Joe Lingeman

What do you normally get?

The kids really like this Indian place, and then there’s a place that does handmade pizza, which also has really good salads. But that’s usually it because I do like to cook a lot. That’s like my therapy at night, and one of my love languages … showing my family I love them by doing.

Do you cook often with your kids? Do they like to get involved? 

Sometimes! During the week, especially with school, a lot of the times they get home and they’re starting their homework. So they’ll do more on the weekends with me whether it’s washing stuff or seasoning. It’s funny. My mom’s pesto is legendary. I’ve watched my mom make pesto a hundred times. I do the same thing she does, and hers is always better. So my kids were talking about that last night at dinner. “Yours is really good. But mom, what does grandma do that’s different?” I was like, “I don’t know!” I watch her, I sit there, I help her, I put the same amount of garlic cloves. I toast the pine nuts. And hers always tastes better. But my kids do really enjoy my pesto, which means a lot. 

What are some things that you always have stocked in your fridge or pantry?

I always have pasta and a jar of sauce. I usually like to make my own red sauce, but you have to plan ahead for that because it takes 30 to 40 minutes. So I always have that for the kids in case I won’t be home. I also get these tamales from our farmers market that I always try to have in the freezer. That’s another thing the kids can make on their own, and it can be a full meal. They can get some carrots and celery or mini peppers out of the fridge. And I always have eggs and Parmesan cheese. Those are staples for me.

What about some go-to snacks?

I always have mini peppers, carrots, like a little crudité. I try to have some hummus and peanut butter around. I always have some type of fruit. One of my favorites is apples with lime juice and Tajin. I put it on watermelon and jicama too, and my kids love it.

Do you also have a sweet tooth and if so, what do you like to indulge in?

I do, and it’s usually dark chocolate. If you open the door of my fridge, on the top shelf, there’s dark chocolate. I just celebrated my birthday, and my brother asked what I wanted, and I said just get me dark chocolate. My kids don’t like dark chocolate, so no one’s going to eat it except me.

What was your diet like while you were playing soccer and has it changed since?

I always felt I ate well because I grew up in a house where my mom was a really good cook and a ballet dancer. I don’t think I had iceberg lettuce until I got to college. We always had green leaf lettuce or spinach salad, and we always had a vegetable or two at dinner. So I kind of stayed that way through my career. I had a little bit more fast food when I played, not that it was part of my diet, but because I didn’t grow up around it and wanted to see what it tasted like. But I had a pretty good diet I would say when I played. 

I definitely can’t eat the same amount I used to eat when I was playing. You’re burning thousands of calories, whether it was one or two trainings or weightlifting, because everything you do as a professional athlete is for performance. Now I’m lucky to get in 30 minutes to an hour of some type of exercise. But that’s okay. That’s part of life. We all go through those transitions. I’ve always been someone who loves to cook and loves food, and I don’t want to have a negative association with it. It’s part of what fuels you. It’s part of what fuels my family. So much connection can happen through food and tradition, so I want that to be a part of my kids’ lives.

What upcoming projects do you have?

Being a part of the Miller Lite All-Star team has been huge. I’m also excited to go over [to Paris] and watch some of the Olympics this summer. I have ownership of two teams in MLS (Major League Soccer): team LAFC (Los Angeles Football Club) and team NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League). Both seasons just started, so I will be going to a lot of soccer games in the next four to five months. And just being a mom and getting my kids through the second semester of school.