Breakfast Recipes for Training and Competing
Breakfast: Understand how to set yourself up for success
For most athletes in the US, breakfast is an optional meal filled with carbohydrates and greasy meats. For cross country; track and field athletes, this could not be farther from the truth.
Your breakfast is sure to dictate your energy level and therefore performance, so this early morning meal is worth your consideration. As a rule of thumb you should have a different breakfast for competition and high intensity training days than low intensity training days.
For low intensity or more casual training, the focus of your breakfast should mix simple and complex carbohydrates. While for a high intensity day, you want to focus on complex carbohydrates, with small portions of protein and simple carbohydrates.
Carbs and Protein Explained
Simple carbohydrates – fruit, most dairy, and sugars – are less complicated at a molecular level, so it takes less time for your body to convert them into useful energy. This means that the turnaround time from breakfast to energy from breakfast is relatively fast.
Complex carbohydrates – which include whole wheat breads, peas, beans, oats, potatoes, and vegetables – are composed of longer molecular chains than simple carbohydrates. So, it will take your body longer to process these foods to access energy, but that energy will become the most important at the tougher points of your workout.
Protein – eggs, cottage cheese, tofu, beans (paired with complex carbohydrates), greek yogurt, and meat – takes the most time for your body to process and convert to energy.
Overall, we tried to pick recipes that were not especially complicated and accessible to most price points. It is so important to remember to be drinking plenty of water no matter the athletic event or the intensity of the day!
Low Intensity Days
- Fresh oatmeal with warm milk. I like to add chopped walnuts and bananas, but any nut/fruit combination will do. This recipe is very easy and prioritizes the toast on the oats – delicious!
- Avocado toast on whole wheat bread. This is another classic breakfast dish. Be sure the bread is actually 100% Whole wheat, many brands do a mix of flower. Rye bread is a great alternative, if you don’t like whole wheat bread. This recipe calls for eggs which are completely optional.
- In a rush? Opt for a piece of fruit and a bowl of sugar free cereal. Many cereals are highly processed, I recommend whole grain brands, Muesli, and Grape Nuts.
Track your workouts and nutritional goals including your favorite recipes
High Intensity Days
- Potato and Zucchini Hash. This recipe provides a great mix of complex carbs and protein. It is very simple to swap out the vegetables depending on what is in season at your grocery store.
- Congee (rice porridge) with Mushrooms. This is a phenomenal dish that can even be made the night before. It is very easy to mix in various proteins here.
- In a Rush: An athlete friend of itrack&field would famously eat sweet potatoes and purple yams for breakfast before meets. She would bake them in the oven the day before. Round out this breakfast with some cottage cheese with chopped fruit.
“Now that you’ve eaten breakfast, make sure you get out of the house on time”