EAT VERSUS SKIP BREAKFAST
Breakfast is the first opportunity to eat. By filling our food "gas tank", we provide energy (calories) as well as fiber, vitamins and minerals to help maximize mental and physical performance. By not skipping breakfast, athletes can spread their calories, protein and carbohydrate intake to meet increased needs when needed. Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight and tend to have more balanced eating habits than those who skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast can also lead to overeating later in the day when choices are not necessarily nutritious.
A BALANCED PLATE
We often think of toast and cereals as lunch. These foods are important sources of carbohydrates, the preferred source of energy for our body. However, a nutrient often absent at lunchtime is protein. Proteins are important for muscle synthesis and maintenance, and they help us stay full throughout the day. It is recommended to obtain a minimum of about 20 g of protein per meal
Some sources of protein include eggs / egg whites, Greek or Icelandic yogurt, hard and soft cheeses, cow or soy milk, nuts and nut butters, seeds and silky tofu. We cannot forget about whole grains as sources of hidden protein: a packet of plain oatmeal contains 5 grams per serving and some whole grain breads can contain 10 grams of protein per serving! Aim for a plate that contains a minimum of 3 food groups. Do not forget to add fruits and / or vegetables for more volume, fiber and nutrients!
DON'T FORGET TO STAY HYDRATE
Water, milk, coffee and tea are all morning drinks that matter when you talk about hydration. If you do not like to drink milk alone, try making a latte!
YOU ARE NOT HUNGRY?
You can bring a healthy breakfast to work and eat it in the first 1 to 2 hours of waking up, or start with something small for breakfast with a mid-morning healthy snack.
If you train early in the morning, your meal and snack schedule is important! If you eat 1 hour before your workout, try eating a high carbohydrate snack (our main fuel) and your healthy breakfast can be a post-workout meal. If you have 3 to 4 hours to digest before your workout, you will have time to digest a bigger meal in advance. It is important to validate whether the times we eat and the type and amount of food we eat support us.
IDEAS FOR A BALANCED BREAKFAST
A whole grain English muffin with 1 egg and a slice of Swiss cheese, spinach and tomatoes (replace the English muffin with a sweet potato to make a frittata!)
Whole grain bagel with goat cheese and smoked salmon, with blackberries as accompaniment
Oatmeal or whole grain cereals made with soymilk with nuts, seeds or nut butter and banana cut into pieces
Les diététistes du Canada. 2016. Faire le plein d’énergie avant l’exercice. Retrouvé sur : https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Sports-Nutrition-(Adult)/Fuelling-up-before-exercise.aspx
British Dietetic Association (BDA). 2016. Food Fact Sheet: Healthy Breakfast. Retrouvé sur: https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/breakfast.pdf