“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is one saying that we all have probably had more than a couple of times but very of us hardly follow especially now that schools have opened and early mornings are in order.
The alarm clock buzzes, with a guilty heart you reach out and hit the snooze button, “buying” yourself five more minutes in bed. The alarm clock’s seems to be malfunctioning though as the five minutes pass by quicker than two minutes holding the plank in Physical Education class and soon you hit the snooze button again and the cycle repeats.
When you eventually wake up, you are late and the scurry to find either school books or sports kit does not cross paths with the breakfast table and you ultimately miss your most important meal of the day. You don’t seem perturbed by this because you are saying to yourself, “I always get something later at school.” However it’s not the same if you want to achieve results as a youth athlete. Exercise is crucial for athletic development but it all starts with a healthy breakfast.
Why you need breakfast
- It improves mental acuity
- Provide much needed nutrients
- Enhances weight loss or lean muscle gain*
- Assists in athletic development
- Improves mental and physical performance
The next big question is “What to have for breakfast?” and to answer that we have a few suggestions for you youth athletes out there.
- A handful of nuts or seeds with raisins, glass of milk or string cheese and a buttered whole grain bagel.
- Apple slices topped with peanut butter, buttered whole grain toast and a glass of milk.
- Banana with a cup of plain yoghurt mixed with nuts.
- A bowl of whole grain cereal and milk, topped with raisins and nuts, and a glass of milk.
- Two hard-boiled eggs, buttered whole grain bagel, orange slices and string cheese.
- For athletes who want to gain muscle mass: oatmeal, two eggs, a banana, two glasses of whole milk and a handful of almonds.
Our list of suggestions is not exhaustive. What you should keep in mind is that a good breakfast for athletes should contain about 450 to 700 calories. Half of that should come from carbohydrates while the other half should me from proteins and fat. Ideal breakfast carbohydrate foods are fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereal such as oatmeal and whole grain breads. Stay away from white bread whenever possible. Possible sources of breakfast protein (which also contain fats) are eggs, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, milk, cheese, yoghurt and meat.
Image Credit: Chick-fil-A