It turns out the old saying is true: Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. A quality breakfast that’s low in fat and packed with protein, fiber and vitamins jump-starts the body’s metabolism. It also helps the mind to focus and prevents the risk of overeating later in the day. Both the professional and amateur clients I work with know that the first rule of healthy eating for athletes is to never skip breakfast. Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle or feel energized, a solid breakfast eaten within 30 minutes of waking up is essential.
Don’t let hectic weekday mornings detract from your training and nutrition needs. The following five breakfasts will give you what you need to face whatever the day throws at you and can be prepared in about five minutes. If you train early in the morning, aim to eat at least half of the meal before you work out and then the rest afterward. Morning exercise after an overnight fast is not recommended.
OATMEAL WITH BLUEBERRIES, FLAXSEED AND EGG WHITES
270 calories Mix ½ cup of instant cooking dry oats with water as described on the package and microwave. Add ½ cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) and microwave for an additional 30 to 60 seconds. Top with 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed and serve with a side of three egg whites. To save time, cook the egg whites in a partially covered bowl in the microwave on medium power for 2 to 3 minutes or until fully cooked.
PEANUT BUTTER & BLACKBERRY SANDWICH
350 calories Arnold Select 100% whole-wheat sandwich thins should be a staple in your fridge. Toast a roll and spread 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter over one piece. Then use a fork to mash ½ cup of fresh blackberries (or you can defrost frozen berries in the microwave on low power for 1 minute). Spread your homemade jam onto the other side of the roll, and place the halves together.
TROPICAL WAFFLES WITH VANILLA YOGURT
330 calories Toast two wholegrain waffles (Van’s 97% Fat Free brand) and top waffles with a 6-oz container of Stonyfield Farm fat free vanilla yogurt. Drain a ½ cup container of Dole pineapple tidbits and add the pieces of fruit over the yogurt. Add a dash of cinnamon for extra flavor.
320 calories In a blender, add 1 cup of skim milk, 6 oz Stonyfield Farm fat free vanilla yogurt, 1 cup frozen strawberries and 1 peeled kiwi cut into quarters. Blend until smooth.
COTTAGE CHEESE WITH PEACHES AND WHEAT GERM
320 calories Measure out 1 cup of 1% cottage cheese. Add a diced peach and 2 tablespoons of wheat germ.