Eating a hearty and healthy breakfast is important for everyone, but even more so for athletes who need to kick-start their metabolism first thing in the morning and keep energy levels high all throughout their busy days. The nasty habit of skipping breakfast and routinely running out the door without waking up the body out of its fasting mode could hurt your performance, muscle gains and overall health and well-being, so if you’re guilty of this, read this article to get inspired by some breakfast ideas straight out of the diets of the fittest people around!
Basic Breakfast Guidelines
When it comes to athletes, a decent breakfast should contain 500-750 calories, consisting of roughly 50% carbs, 30% from protein and 20% from healthy fats. Ideal carb sources are fiber-loaded fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereals and whole grain breads; to meet the protein and healthy fat requirements, opt for nuts, seeds, eggs, peanut butter, cheese and lean meats.
One important go-lean tool that many people forget is water. Adequate water consumption will not only keep your body well hydrated, but it will also help you digest your food, flush out all toxins and cellular waste and keep all bodily functions running smooth. That being said, water is particularly important for athletes because the nature of their activities lend to using up stores more quickly. And let’s not forget that your muscles are 75% water, so if they are not hydrated, they can’t fire properly.
Include water with all meals and snacks to ensure you arrive to training well-hydrated, and then keep on drinking small amounts of water regularly during exercise to avoid dehydration. Drink water with your high-carb and high-protein post-workout meal to support and enhance muscle recovery.
In addition, always opt for whole fruits over fruit juices, as whole fruits contain fiber and their skins and pulp are filled with antioxidants, lots more than you’d find in a fruit juice, especially if it’s commercially produced.
Breakfast Ideas for Champions
Sculpting a fit, strong, competition-winning physique takes a great deal of patience and effort, and we all know that roughly half of that has to go into the kitchen. Great nutrition is the pillar of fat loss, muscle building and overall health, and this includes every meal in the day, starting with a healthy breakfast. Below you’ll find some supercharged breakfast recipes that helped many superstar athletes build lean bodies of steel!
#1. Soak ½ cup of oatmeal in almond milk, egg whites or water, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, mash in one banana and add a scoop of vanilla-flavored whey protein powder. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top and enjoy!
#2. Take your classic bowl of oats to the next level by adding a scoop of chocolate-flavored protein powder and one teaspoon of almond butter. Drink one large cup of black coffee with this for a fully energized start of the day!
#3. If you’re one of us peanut butter-junkies, add one heaping scoop of peanut butter chocolate protein powder (MusclePharm Combat is a great choice) and mix in a tablespoon of peanut butter as well. Top it with one sliced banana and sprinkle some cinnamon on top. Now that’s super-delicious!
#4. For a real power breakfast that’s loaded with antioxidants and other essential nutrients that will give your digestive system a boost and nourish your health, mix in a teaspoon of brown sugar and a handful of mixed berries in one cup of oatmeal. If you have a busy training day ahead, follow it up with a 6-ounce grilled chicken breast and a scramble of 10 egg whites and one yolk an hour and a half later.
#5. Want to save time in the mornings? Make a big batch in a large container and you’ll be good for a couple of days. Mix together 2 cups of rolled oats, 2 cups of almond or soy milk, half a cup of chia seeds and one-two apples cut into tiny slivers, and let it sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning, top one serving with yogurt, fresh blueberries or cranberries, banana slices and sliced almonds. Enjoy!
EGGS ‘N STUFF
#1. How about some scrambled eggs with turkey bacon? This is a very healthy breakfast option that will keep you feeling full long into the day. Simply take 1 cup of scrambled egg whites and add in 2 slices of turkey bacon. Finish your meal with ½ cup of rolled oats and a cup of fresh berries!
#2. Bored of your regular scrambled eggs? Prepare a frittata with asparagus, mushrooms and raw spinach!
#3. For a tasty, filling and muscle-building pre-workout breakfast that’s also time-efficient and easy on the digestive system, make a smoothie with bananas, vanilla flavored whey protein and peanut butter. After your grueling workout, refill your glycogen stores big time with a simple but wholesome egg-white scramble with spinach, peppers and olives, followed by a banana.
#4. In case you didn’t know it, eggs and avocados are best friends forever – scramble three egg whites and one whole egg placed atop a whole grain bagel, topped with a quarter of an avocado. This will provide you with adequate amounts of high-quality protein, carbs and healthy fats to get your day started on the right foot!
#5. Make a scramble consisting of one whole egg and ½ cup egg whites, together with two turkey sausages and fresh fruits such as peaches or pineapple slices. Don’t like fruit? Throw in some cottage cheese for an optimal protein-fat combo!
#6. Treat yourself with an egg-white and oatmeal pancake to get two-for-one meal for a great start of the day. Take 2/3 cup of egg whites and one whole egg and combine it with 1/3 cup of raw oats. Add the eggs in the skillet, then sprinkle them with the oats and cook until the pancake is ready to be flipped over. The best part is that these pancakes store well and can be prepared in a bulk, then stored in the fridge in a Ziploc bag. Top them with honey, almond butter and fresh berries.
#7. Take ½ cup egg whites and cook them until they’re almost done, then add a quarter of a scoop of whey powder. Top with peanut butter or cottage cheese. Simple but delicious!
#8. This one is for all of the berry-obsessed athletes out there. Make pancakes with 4 egg whites, 1 whole egg, ½ cup of oatmeal, 1/3 cup of blueberries, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and baking powder. Top them with honey and eat like no one’s going to see you naked!
#9. Finally, here’s a recipe that combines all the foods we love into one big ultra-tasty muffin. First, put 1/3 cup rolled oats, 4 egg whites, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and ½ teaspoon baking powder in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the batter into a muffin tin and bake for max. 20 minutes at 375 degrees F. Scoop out the top half of the muffin and fill the center with peanut butter. Return the top muffin half back on its place and enjoy!
#1. If you seem to never find the time to prepare a meal in the morning and you’re too lazy to make it the night before, here’s the recipe you’ve been looking for all of your life: toss 1 cup of almond milk, 1 scoop of vanilla protein and 1 scoop of Barlean’s Superfruit Greens into a blender and blend until even. Besides tasting delicious, this smoothie will keep you full and energized for hours!
#2. Needing a bit of a push in the morning? Aside of your usual bowl of rolled oats or egg scramble, blend 2 green apples, 4 celery stalks, 1 lemon, 1 cucumber, a handful kale leaves and a bit of ginger. Green is good for you and you know it!
#3. Try this fantastic green smoothie recipe: 1 heaping scoop of vanilla protein powder, ½ a lemon, 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen mixed berries, ½ cup almond milk, some raw spinach, 1 tablespoon of flax seeds, ice and a bit of Stevia!
#4. For some high-protein chocolate goodness, take one cup of almond milk, 1 banana, 2 scoops of chocolate protein powder, some peanut butter and ice and blend it all together.
Bonus Idea – Amino Popsicles!
So you hate breakfast and there’s nothing we can do to convince you to build the habit of eating first thing in the morning? No worries, we have a solution for that too!
For intermittent fasting fanatics, anti-catabolic amino supplements are a great way to kick-start the day. But while you’re at it, why not make it a bit more fun? Take 1 scoop of grape-flavored BSN AminoX (or any other brand or flavor you like) and 8 ounces of water, then pour the mixture into a popsicle mold and freeze. We guarantee you’ll love this one!
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JUST DO IT
Whether you love your big breakfast or try to keep it simple and super-healthy, or you’re an avid fasting fan, there are hundreds of ways to improve your breakfast routine for best results. Print the list above and slap it on your fridge and you’ll never run out of ideas for making your mornings more enjoyable and energizing your mind and body!