8/13/15

All-day nutrition tips for athletes: Breakfast


Would it surprise you to hear that many athletes express that they are too busy to eat?
Yes - too busy to eat!

I am a very busy person but there is always time to eat. And plus, food is my fuel.
How can I expect my body to perform well in training and throughout the day if I do not make time to nourish it? 

I wanted to share a few of my nutrition tips to help with meal planning, nourishing and fueling your body throughout the day so that you can set yourself up for great health and great performances.

BREAKFAST


-For the athlete who works out in the morning, there are two priorities. First, you need to focus on what you will consume before/during/after your workout. I call this your "sport nutrition". Next you need to plan what you will eat post workout for your post workout meal (or breakfast). Also, do not neglect your hydration in the form of sport drinks (during), water (before/during/after) and electrolytes (during/after).
-Keep your morning nutrition super easy. This is often the time when busy athletes are extremely rushed and tend to prioritize working out. Don't make your sport nutrition or post workout meal super complicated. In the best case scenario, you should be able to prep your meal/snacks in less than 10 minutes. 
-Create a list of 2-3 pre and post workout snack options (depending on the workout) and make sure you always have those foods available. To that list, add 3-4 staple breakfast meals. Your house should always be stocked with these 6-7 food items to ensure that you set yourself up for great workouts and a great recovery.
-Consider your routine, environment (home/work), travel and anything else that makes your fueling/nourishing/eating regime specific to you. Depending on your commute to work, your job requirements, your morning workout (time/volume/intensity) and anything else, this will factor into what you plan to eat.
-Prioritize carbohydrates and protein, with a little fat with your breakfast meal if you are working out in the morning. This is a prime opportunity to replenish liver and glycogen stores and to help reduce the chance for any afternoon/evening cravings. Focus on wholesome foods that leave you satisfied. 
-For athletes who work out super early and eat breakfast soon after, you may find yourself snacking your way through the morning simply because the breakfast (or post workout meal) and lunch occur more than 4 hours apart. In this case, it may be helpful to eat two mini-meals as oppose to one big breakfast post workout (or first thing in the morning). This can also offset extra calories that you may be consuming in the morning simply because you can't seem to feel satisfied. Two mini meals can often solve that problem (example: instead of eggs, oatmeal and fruit at 7am post workout, have 1 hardboiled egg + 1 banana + smear of PB and handful granola at 7am and then your oatmeal creation with fruit and nuts/seeds at 8:30/9am). 
-No two days will be the same. Never get mad at your body and always honor your biological hunger. Make notes (mental is fine) as to what workouts bring on more/less hunger and how to plan accordingly with your morning meals/snacks. 
-Bring finger food for morning snacking. Many times, a few almonds, a handful of grapes, apple slices or chopped carrots can do the trick to hold you over until lunch. 

Stay tuned for lunch tips!