Elvis Presley, also called “The King of Rock and Roll,” is a pop culture icon. Many people forget the public figure was actually a real person. He’s so famous that we know everything about him. In fact, Elvis Presley’s diet and eating habits might be nearly as famous as his music. The singer died from a heart attack in 1977 at the untimely age of 42, so some people believe his alleged drug use and poor food choices caused his demise.
Presley tried to diet on several occasions during his time in the spotlight. Reportedly, he even took sedatives to sleep more and eat less, adhering to the “sleeping beauty diet.” The risky dieting technique put the King into a coma, though. And in the ’70s, a doctor actually put Presley into a medically induced coma for weight loss.
By the time of his death, Presley was consuming about 100,000 calories per day.
So just how bad was Elvis Presley’s diet?
This list of his favorite foods will show you the true horror of his meal plan.
1. Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
Now, this might seem like a quick snack that has the potential to be super healthy and equally as filling. Bananas are packed with potassium, for example. And peanut butter is chockfull of protein and fiber. Just add in some wheat bread with whole grains and you’ve got the perfect thing for a balanced lunch. Leave it to this singer to turn a healthy sandwich into a rich, greasy dessert.
Everyone knew Elvis loved the classic peanut butter and banana sandwich combo.
He wouldn’t stop at just peanut butter and banana, though. Sometimes the King would throw a couple of slices of bacon on there, as well. Then the entire thing would be fried in a pan coated with either butter or bacon fat. It was salty and sweet enough to make your heart stop.
2. Fool’s Gold Loaf
If you think you have a thing for peanut butter and jelly, you have no idea how much your obsession pales in comparison to Elvis Presley’s. This guy took PBJs to an entirely different level. And when it came to his specialized version of the childhood classic, no distance was too far to travel in order to get it. And we don’t just mean, he’d go down to the kitchen and whip up a bite. Oh no.
When Presley really had a hankering for peanut butter, he ordered a Fool’s Gold Loaf from the now-closed Colorado Mine Company in Denver.
This thing was a mammoth, hollowed-out sourdough loaf stuffed with an entire jar of jelly, an entire jar of peanut butter, and a whopping pound of bacon. Allegedly, he once flew his private jet from Graceland in Tennessee to Colorado to order the sandwich because it was just that good. Would you be willing to do that much for a PBJ with bacon?
3. “Party Meatballs”
Who doesn’t make a beeline straight for the snacks at any party? We certainly do, and we especially love a host who has meatballs on deck. That’s pretty much all we need, though. Whoever heard of outfitting your bite-sized appetizers with an additional kick? Elvis Presley did.
If Elvis was attending a party, there better be some party meatballs on the appetizer table.
These scrumptious little bites were just meatballs wrapped in… you guessed it: Bacon! Presley’s longtime chef, Mary Jenkins Langston, said her employer loved rich and decadent foods. No wonder he liked to wrap his meat in more meat. Plus, Langston insists that ”He liked his bacon very crisp.” Needless to say, those meatballs wrapped in meat probably had a nice little crunch.
4. Fried Breakfasts
Now, we can’t blame the King of Rock and Roll for indulging in a decadent breakfast. In fact, we live for a full spread during weekend brunches. You should totally treat yourself to some fried morning staples. Most people only go for massive fried breakfasts on the weekends, though. We can’t imagine indulging every day of the week (well we can, but it doesn’t sound pretty). Presley, however, certainly had no qualms with indulgences.
In fact, according to the 1960 Presley biography by James Gregory, The Elvis Presley Story, Presley liked all of his breakfasts fried and hearty.
In fact, Gregory wrote an entire chapter dedicated to any woman who wished to date the King. Gregory wrote:
Note for his future wife: Elvis loves enormous breakfasts complete with sausage, bacon, eggs, fried potatoes, home-baked rolls, and coffee. He has a tremendous appetite at breakfast. His wife should never develop elegant or expensive tastes.
5. Hot Dogs with Sauerkraut
Hot dogs just seem like the ultimate summer barbecue food staple. We’re not so sure we love everything that goes into most hot dogs (it’s like a meat mashup), but they sure taste great after charring on the grill. Elvis Presley would likely agree with us, but he also likes to add sauerkraut to his links. Unlike the iconic singer, though, we don’t believe hot dogs are appropriate as hospital food.
Actually, when Presley was in the hospital and on a strict diet, he called his private chef and asked her to sneak in some food.
The pop legend wanted Mary Jenkins Langston to bring him a couple of hot dogs with sauerkraut. Langston told the BBC network in 1995 that Presley instructed her to disguise the food as clothing. The chef followed the directions, and Presley “went to work on those hot dogs.”
Even if you know how unhealthy sodas can be, chances are you still crave them every so often. And when they’re accompanied by a tall glass of ice, sodas sound like heaven. Accordingly, we admit to having one fizzy drink on occasion. Keeping a never-ending supply of sugary sodas in your fridge all the time, though, sounds like the worst temptation.
According to a 2001 NPR broadcast, Presley always kept soda stocked in his fridge.
His favorite kinds were Pepsi, Nesbitt’s Orange, and Shasta Black Cherry. The singer even reportedly tried to slim down by eating nothing but bananas and jellied Shasta Black Cherry for weeks. Something tells us that didn’t work out too well for him. And we can only wonder how his teeth help up after drinking so much sugar.
7. Burnt Bacon Sandwich
We’re back to bacon. And truly, we want to know if it’s possible to have too much of the salt-cured pork. Clearly, Elvis Presley didn’t think he could ever have too much bacon. It was like the gift that could keep on giving, and the singer could eat it during any meal of the day.
Actually, if Presley didn’t have bacon with his breakfast, he probably had it for lunch.
In fact, one of the King’s go-to sammies had nearly burnt bacon. Presley liked the bacon crumbled atop a spread of mayonnaise, canned black olives, and chopped pecans. The mixture went between two pieces of white bread, and the crusts were removed, of course.
8. BBQ Bologna
The King could never be accused of having a pretentious palette. And we would definitely admire his preference for simple foods if the foods were actually simple. Yes, Elvis Presley loved bologna and BBQ sauce, but he made them too rich (at least in our opinion). Whatever happened to the original bologna sandwich? According to Presley, it just wasn’t good enough.
Processed meat plus barbecue doesn’t sound all that great to us.
Presley sometimes craved BBQ bologna, though. He liked to baste half a pack of bologna with vinegar, lemon juice, red pepper, and salt while it cooked in the oven for about an hour. After that first hour, he’d cover the entire slab with barbecue sauce and cook it for another half hour.
Can’t you just picture Elvis Presley chowing into a juicy cheeseburger? The mental image, alone, is enough to make you long for your own. Doesn’t it make sense, then, that Presley would ask for a burger in his final moments?
The last thing chef Mary Jenkins Langston ever cooked for Presley was a cheeseburger.
The singer completely lost his appetite in the days before his death, though. So he didn’t eat any of the burger. In fact, Presley passed soon after Langston left. The chef claimed Presley’s apparition appeared to her in a vision after the death. Apparently, the ghost wanted to stay in her house. Langston gave her permission, but then the ghost smiled and vanished. Spooky.
10. Coconut Cake
Now, this dessert won’t appeal to everybody; it just won’t. Some people can’t get behind the somewhat grainy texture of coconut flakes. And even we occasionally think they’re a little chewy. Elvis Presley, obviously, doesn’t subscribe to that belief. His mother’s version of the dessert held a special place in the King’s heart, though.
Presley’s mother made a mean coconut cake the King couldn’t stop eating.
Apparently, Elvis would eat the dessert every night. Packed with sugar, milk, and eggs, his mother’s recipe certainly wasn’t meant for any dieter. Elvis Presley loved himself some coconut, though. People say he always kept a bag of shredded coconut in his pantry.
11. “Just Pretend” Harvard Texas Caviar
This recipe from Graceland’s Table: Recipes Fit for the King of Rock and Roll details how to make Presley’s Southern version of the fancy fish egg dish. Black-eyed peas substitute for the fish eggs and are combined with chopped green bell pepper, onion, tomato, avocado, and a can of tomato soup with a cup of added sugar. It’s like salsa on steroids.
12. Spanish Omelettes
He loved a good, fried breakfast, so we’re hardly surprised Elvis Presley had a penchant for omelets. They combine every good part of breakfast in one, easy-to-eat dish. We’re a little surprised the singer didn’t add a side of overly crisp bacon to his omelets, but he took this menu item as is.
In fact, the King especially loved traditional Spanish omelets.
Typically made with potatoes, onions, and peppers, this dish was a favorite for any meal. A 1960s rumor claimed Presley consumed so many Spanish omelets that he caused an egg shortage in Tennessee. This was likely hyperbole, but the singer really did enjoy eating large quantities of food.
13. Fried Pickles
A truly southern snack, fried pickles make a lot of people scratch their heads. It’s slightly hard to grasp how (or why) anyone would fry a pickle in the first place. Once you get past the confusion, though, it’s easy to see why Presley and anyone else would dig fried pickles. They’re crunchy (just like good bacon), and the taste is hard to duplicate.
Consequently, Presley would eat fried pickles even though he steered clear of many other veggies.
The sour snack held a special place in his heart, though. The crispier they were, the better. In fact, some say Presley preferred fried dill pickles over any other variety. We just wonder if he used dipping sauce or downed his pickles dry.
14. Sugar-Glazed Salmon
Although Elvis Presley didn’t abide by real caviar, he had no problem with other types of seafood. As long as it could be seasoned so heavily that it no longer had any traces of nutritious value, Presley could and would eat it. In fact, salmon was a favorite if it were prepared properly.
And how did one properly prepare the King’s salmon?
They doused the majority of his salmon dishes in a brown-sugar glaze. The sugar gave the dish a candy-like coating it didn’t really need. But the combination of sweet and savory certainly sounded excellent. The King loved this taste-blending dish so much he even included it on his wedding menu.
We wouldn’t have guessed that anyone would consider meatloaf to be a favorite food, but we don’t claim to know everything. In fact, Elvis Presley loved a good meatloaf. Probably, one of his tamest food picks, Presley’s meatloaf was usually served on special occasions. We can’t say if any veggies accompanied the meat dish, but we doubt it.
In fact, the singer’s mother made a mean meatloaf for Sunday dinners.
It was featured in The Presley Family Cookbook. The dish had the basics — ground beef, garlic, onions, celery, and tomato juice. It also contained three slices of bread, and knowing Presley, the bread was probably white and crustless.
After all that, we need to go take some antacids and lie down for a while.