Swim star Giaan Rooney: day on a plate

13th January 2021 | Eativity editors

What does a gold-medal-winning athlete eat? Former Olympic athlete now busy mother of two Giaan Rooney takes us through an average day’s diet. And yes, there’s chocolate.

“I have always had a deep interest in health and nutrition,” says Rooney, who won a gold medal and broke a world record at the 2004 Olympic Games. “When I was a professional athlete, eating enough of the right foods was always a top priority to ensure that I had enough energy to train and perform at my very best.”

Giaan Rooney won gold in the 4x100 medley relay with Petria Thomas, Jodie Henry and Leisel Jones
Rooney (second from left) won gold in the 4×100 medley relay with Petria Thomas, Jodie Henry and Leisel Jones.

While Rooney might have hung up her pro swimming togs, she’s far from idle. The 38-year-old mother of two young children now works as a television presenter, is an ambassador for Life-Space Probiotics, has created her own activewear range and has even published a children’s book. She no longer swims endless laps, and avoids hectic gym workouts, instead staying in shape by walking and doing Pilates, which helps with an old back injury.

Giaan Rooney
Rooney has a daughter Alexa (pictured) and a son, Zander.

“Now that I’m a mum, I love to share my passion for health and wellbeing with my family by teaching my kids all about good nutrition,” she says. “An important element of good nutrition is learning how to balance your meals throughout the day. I always make sure that I’m eating plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegies to power me through the day – as well as allowing myself to have a sweet treat after the kids have gone to bed!”

Here Rooney shares what she eats on an average day, to keep her energy levels up and herself and her family happy and healthy.

Giaan Rooney
A picture of health: while she no longer swims, Rooney continues to fuel her body the right way.


7:15am Early start so planned ahead – made my daily smoothie of watermelon, frozen mango, pineapple and blueberries topped with orange juice the night before to drink in the car with a large piece of my homemade zucchini slice. Made sure to take my daily probiotic with a large glass of water before I left.

Morning coffee

9:10am Stopped by my local cafe for my daily small extra shot soy latte (it’s my one vice).

Giaan Rooney
Rooney is a true dog lover, recently adopting Roy from Waggy Tails Dog Rescue.


12pm Lunch is a grilled chicken Mexican-inspired salad with homemade guacamole, brown rice, corn, fresh tomato, green capsicum, spring onion, plenty of lettuce leaves and just a dash of chilli. I have it with a large glass of cold water.


6pm Home just in time for dinner! So thankfully I had planned ahead and made my husband’s favourite meal – spaghetti bolognese. I add carrot, onion, mushrooms and frozen spinach to mine for a good vegie hit. It’s topped with fresh basil and dairy-free parmesan. As it’s our wedding anniversary, I have a glass of shiraz with dinner.

Giaan Rooney
The former Olympian loves her vegies, but also can’t go past dark chocolate.


9pm Once the kids have gone to bed, dessert is a couple of squares of dark, dairy-free chocolate and a large glass of cold water.

Does your own day on a plate need a bit of a healthy makeover? Check out this advice on simple ways to add more plant-based foods to your diet and a nutritionist’s top five superfoods. We’ve also got an expert’s take on how to lose unwanted COVID kilos safely and sustainably. To find out more about Giaan Rooney, head to lifespaceprobiotics.com