For those athletes who do not eat breakfast daily, it seems to be one of the hardest habits to change.
Some are not hungry when they wake up.
Others value sleeping a few minutes longer higher than eating.
And yet it is such a critical meal for active people that it bears repeating (we've blogged about this before, and I'm sure you've heard it elsewhere) just how many benefits come from it.
A good breakfast can:
- Lower your chances of getting sick
- Improve your muscle building capacity
- Help you stay leaner (true, studies have proven this many times)
- Speed up your recovery from games, practices and training
- Improve your mental clarity
- Improve your energy levels
Literally everything you need to be a better athlete and student revolves around a healthy breakfast.
So what should you eat to create a healthy breakfast?
Well its pretty simple. Focus on just these 2 key areas:
1. Eat Protein
Some protein foods are typical breakfast foods, others a bit out of the ordinary. But anything here would do the trick:
- Toast with peanut butter (the peanut butter is the protein source)
- Pizza (cheese is the protein)
- Breakfast Sausage
- String cheese
- Sandwich with cheese, meats or both
- Trail mix
- Peanuts or any other nut
- Protein bar
- Protein shake
There's definitely more options than that for consuming a healthy protein source at breakfast, but that should at least get your mind going.
Protein rebuilds muscle and connective tissue after exercise, fixing potential injury sites and preserving lean mass. It also helps to build new muscle if you are training hard enough.
The higher muscle mass also keeps your metabolism running at higher levels, helping you to stay lean, as well.
Your body can't store protein when you sleep, which is why getting some in the morning is so important.
Your body also can't store excess water for too long, so when you wake up it is also critical that you get something in you that begins the re-hydration process.
Some excellent sources would be:
- A glass of water
- Other water-based, high nutrient fruits
All of those would help with hydration, strengthening your immune system and helping you to start your day more energized and alert. The fresh fruit adds some vitamin and mineral content too, enhancing all these benefits.
Considering the length of the lines at Dunkin' Donuts and other coffee places these days, I'll speculate that as a society we can all benefit from re-hydrating in the AM to gain energy and mental focus, not just the kids playing sports!
If you're looking for a simple, cost-effective and incredibly beneficial way to improve your athletic performance and long-term health, take a good look at your breakfast habits. It's possible there's a great opportunity for you to improve your future right there.