Kickstart your day: Key elements for an energy-boosting breakfast
The argument on whether breakfast is the most important meal of the day continues to date. As a sports nutritionist working with endurance athletes, I consider breakfast an important meal for the following three reasons:
- Your energy demands are higher. Skipping breakfast or any meal can make it difficult for you to compensate for your energy intake for the rest of the day.
- You need it for training. If your training session is in the morning, breakfast will give you that extra energy to help you get through it.
- It’s perfect for recovery. After your training session, a well-balanced breakfast will give you all the nutrients you need to optimise your recovery.
These are the key elements to consider when putting together your breakfast.
Technically speaking, your breakfast is the first meal that happens after an overnight fast. My recommendation is to eat within the first 2 hours after getting out of bed, the sooner you’ll start getting active, the earlier it is recommended for you to have your breakfast.
A balanced breakfast will keep you energised for longer. Make sure your breakfast is balanced by including the following:
- Carbohydrate: Try choosing options that are higher in fibre and lower in refined sugar such as wholemeal bread, oats, wholemeal wrap, or natural muesli.
- Protein: This one is sometimes easier to forget and harder to include. Milk, eggs, Greek yogurt, or beans are all good sources of protein.
- Colour: Apart from making your meal more exciting and flavourful, adding a fruit or vegetable or both will help you increase your fibre and overall micronutrient intake.
If you’re eating something before heading to your training session, then it is recommended that you choose options that are easier to absorb. In this case, it is better to reduce fibre and protein and increase sugar intake. A piece of fruit, toast with jam or a crumpet with honey are all examples of small snacks you can have in the morning. Increase the size of your training session is going to be longer than 90 minutes.
A balanced breakfast with the recommendations suggested above will support your muscle recovery and fuel replenishment. Increase your carbohydrate intake by doubling the grains and/or adding some honey, jam, or sugar.
Here are some practical breakfast suggestions. Remember to adjust the serving according to your needs.
- Berry smoothie: ½ cup Greek yogurt + 1 cup milk + 1 cup mixed berries + 1/3 cup oats
- Eggs on toast: 2 pieces of wholemeal toast + 2 eggs + 1 slice of avocado + pan-fried mushrooms
- Vegan wrap: Mashed beans + wholemeal wrap + avocado + diced tomato and spinach
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Always check with your health professional before changing your diet, taking supplements, or starting a new exercise routine to ensure their suitability for your individual situation.