From a nutritional point of view, try to have a variety of breakfast options. The more different foods you take in during a week, the better your chance of getting in sufficient nutrients, including vitamins and minerals needed daily to keep energy levels high.
A little planning can go a long way in ensuring you have healthy breakfasts, especially on days when you want to train in the morning and time for breakfast might therefore be limited before work. Plan your breakfast menu for the week in advance and do some of the preparation the previous night if you know you’re going to be rushed the next morning.
On weekends when breakfast can be prepared at a more leisurely rate you can include more protein, but keep it low-fat as you don’t want to gain excess body fat, which will slow you down in races. Include lots of good food sources of vitamins and minerals in your weekend breakfasts to build up your stores for the training week. Add vegetables, e.g. sweet peppers (green, yellow and red), cocktail tomatoes and mushrooms to egg dishes and have some freshly squeezed vegetable and fruit juices.
Those needing to watch their cholesterol intake, or their kilojoule intake, should make scrambled eggs using 1-2 yolks and 3-4 whites as the yolk contains all the fat and cholesterol.
Good choices for delicous, leisurely breakfasts include:
- Scrambled eggs with mixed peppers and whole-wheat toast or bagels and fruit juice.
- Low-fat, high-fibre muffins with jam or a sprinkling of a strongly flavoured cheese and fruit salad topped with fat-free yoghurt and vegetable juice.
- Omelette with smoked salmon/grilled lean bacon/ham and grilled ciabatta or panini and a chilled fruit smoothie.
- Whole-wheat toast with avocado pear and a fruit skewer.
- Pilchards, sardines, peppered mackerel or tuna on toast and fruit.
Best breakfast before a race/training run
It is important to eat something before a training session, as well as a race, as this will increase energy levels. As your main source of energy, carbohydrate or starchy foods should form the base of this meal, with protein and fats providing taste. Starchy foods high in fibre often cause discomfort when eaten within an hour before a race, so rather have low-fibre breads and cereals with sugar, jam or honey to provide extra energy.
Many runners feel more comfortable when having a liquid meal (e.g. a meal replacement shake) before a training session or race, instead of solid food.
Always remember to train using the type of foods you want to have on the day of a race. By doing this you can figure out what works best for you before an important race day.
- Breakfast cereal (low-fibre such as sugar-coated cornflakes or honey flakes) with milk and fruit juice or energy drink
- Crumpets or toast (white bread) with syrup and fruit juice or energy drink.
- Waffles or muffins with jam and fruit juice or energy drink. Mashed banana on toast with a sprinkling of cinnamon or a smothering of marmite.
- Energy bars, breakfast cereal bars, Milo drinks, liquid breakfast cereals.