We all know the saying, win the morning, win the day!
When it comes to nutrition and fuelling, this is pretty accurate.
In fact for most of the athletes (and non-athletes) that I work with, breakfast becomes the first focus for any change.
As the meal with the most room for improvement, and/or tweaks to timing based on nutrition and training/performance goals. If you get this right, it’s far easier to set up the rest of the day.
Here's how you too can win at breakfast, and use it as a great opportunity to set the foundation for not only your training program, but everyday life.
Fuel for or recover from morning training sessions
Tweak the timing around training to maximise metabolic flexibility.
That’s right. Sometimes the best time for breakfast is AFTER a training session.
If that session is all about recovery, is short and/or a quick skills or mobility session, then you can jump straight in and follow it up with breakfast. This method of an easy session first up, helps your body mobilise fat stores as an important fuel source for endurance athletes. For higher intensity, key sessions make sure to get some form of fuel in first (this could be a quick bowl of oatmeal or simply a banana and a coffee), then follow up with a second recovery breakfast post-session.
Fuel for the day ahead whether that’s school, work or home life
Brain power needs fuel for decision making, learning development and mood support. Depending on your activity levels (or if you are still growing), consider what’s on your plate. For sedentary jobs aim for colour and protein as the focus (think eggs and spinach or a fruit smoothie), for active workers and kids – take the time to get in a nutrient and energy dense meal – oats with berries and bananas or a baked bean toastie.
Get some micronutrients in:
This is where I am always making changes for athletes!
Most people do a decent job of including veggies in their evening meal, but most of us fail to get anywhere near that recommended ‘5 and 2’. Breakfast is that first opportunity to start ticking off those fruit and vegetable goals – and that won’t happen with beige toast!
Keep snap lock bags of mixed fruit and greens in the freezer to add to some protein and choice of milk/liquid for an easy green smoothie, or top off cereal with mixed berries.
Get in some protein
Protein is best absorbed and utilised when it’s spread out across the day. Meals and snacks ideally have 20-40g protein, including breakfast. This might look like avo and eggs on toast; a high protein breakfast smoothie; yoghourt muesli bowl or overnight oats with seeds and nuts; or a cheese, spinach, ham toastie with coffee.
Manage hunger and appetite
For active people, skipping meals can mean they are setting themselves up for ravenous overeating later in the day. Protein plus micronutrients and energy help manage hunger and maintain more even energy (and mood) levels.
Maintain energy needed for growth, immune, cognitive and hormonal function
This kind of goes without saying, getting a quality breakfast with all the nutrients, at the right time will be something your body – and all its functions – will reward you for.