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Breakfast: It's for Champions!

Content by: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD

There are many excuses used by athletes for not eating a good breakfast. However, a healthy breakfast is key to performing well. If you have difficult waking up and wanting to eat, here are great tips. Read more!

Breakfast: It's for Champions!


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“I don't have time...”
“I'm not hungry in the morning.”
“I'm on a diet!”

These three excuses for missing breakfast contribute to needless fatigue, trouble concentrating and too little energy to train well.

What to eat for breakfast?
Any breakfast is better than no breakfast, and some breakfast choices are better than others.

Try these ideas:
• Oatmeal cooked in milk with banana and peanut butter.
• Whole wheat bagel with eggs, cheese, and orange juice.
• French toast with vanilla yogurt and applesauce.
• Yogurt with granola, berries and almonds.

A quick breakfast of champions is cereal + milk + banana. Eat it from a travel mug for a breakfast on the run! This simple meal provides the following important nutrients that you need for athletic success:

🧇 Carbohydrates are the best source of muscle-fuel.
Other carb-rich breakfast ideas include: oatmeal, whole-grain waffles, French toast, bagel, English muffin, banana bread, grits, fruit, 100% fruit juice or leftover pasta.

🍳 Protein builds and repairs muscles.
Milk on the cereal is protein-rich. Other protein options include eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese, nuts, peanut butter, hummus or even leftover chicken.

🥣 Iron is a mineral that carries oxygen from the lungs to your muscles.
Choose iron-enriched cereals. Look on the label for fortified or enriched. Iron reduces your risk of becoming anemic and experiencing needless fatigue during exercise. Drinking orange juice along with iron-enriched cereal enhances iron absorption.

🥛 Calcium is important for strong bones and muscle contraction.
Dairy or soy milk adds high-quality protein to breakfast. Yogurt is another option.

🍌 Potassium is a mineral (electrolyte) lost in sweat.
Banana, orange juice and whole grain cereals are potassium-rich.

A carbohydrate-based breakfast that also includes adequate protein is a critical energy booster that helps athletes fuel-up for a busy day. Without this morning meal, you are likely to run on fumes, perform less effectively and reduce your intake of nutrients that contribute to good health and high energy.

Quick Tips!

#1 Excuse: "I don't have time to eat."

Solution: Making time to exercise is a commitment. It’s also best to make time to eat. Some quick breakfast suggestions include a baggie of raisins and granola at the bus stop, a bagel with peanut butter on the way to school or a few slices of leftover pizza.

#2 Excuse: "I'm not hungry in the morning."

Solution: Athletes who lack a morning appetite likely ate their breakfast at bedtime the night before. Too many evening snacks can easily ruin the morning appetite, as well as impact nutrition value by filling up on snacks at night.

#3 Excuse: "I'm on a diet!"

Solution: Athletes who want to lose weight should enjoy a good breakfast and lunch, then eat a smaller dinner. The goal is to lose weight when sleeping, not when trying to study and play sports! Successful diets start with a wholesome breakfast and end with a lighter dinner.

Next Steps:

For athletes that skip breakfast, try this experiment:
• Eat breakfast for three consecutive days.
• Observe the benefits: more energy, less afternoon/evening hunger and better workouts.

Experiencing breakfast benefits is important for athletes!

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