Active Cookbook: Easy Breakfast Recipes for Athletes
A study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition offered 14 participants four different breakfast options: two fat-rich meals, one low-fiber and high-carb meal and one high-fiber, high-carb meal on separate mornings. After breakfast, the subjects completed appetite and alertness ratings, and recorded their food intake for the rest of the day. Study results found:
- The high-fiber, high-carb meal kept participants sated the longest
- Participants who ate the high-fiber, high-carb meal showed the highest alertness ratings between breakfast and lunch
- Participants ate more total calories and fat during the day when they ate the high-fat breakfasts
- Researchers found that subjects who ate the low-fiber, high-carb breakfast tended to stay satisfied longer than those who ate the high-fat meals, but for less time than those who ate the high-fiber, high-carb meal.
What does this mean for athletes? Eat a high-carb, high-fiber breakfast as often as you can. It'll not only restock the muscle glycogen you deplete after each training session (even if your workout isn't until the afternoon), but it'll also help you manage your weight. And it'll help you concentrate better on work, training, errands or other tasks you need to get done before lunch. Here are 10 easy breakfast recipes that provide the carbs, fiber, protein and variety that athletes need.
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Muesli, a traditional Swiss breakfast made of raw oats and fruit soaked overnight in milk or yogurt, is a nutritious and easy make-ahead breakfast. Choose any whole grains, fruit and liquid that you'd like. If you're vegan, use almond, soy, rice or hemp milk to soak your grains. If you're gluten-free, use quinoa flakes and nuts to bulk up your bowl. Take two minutes before you go to bed to combine the ingredients you desire in a container, cover with liquid, put the top on, and refrigerate overnight. You'll wake up to a ready-to-travel breakfast that's as versatile as you allow it to be.
Lean Breakfast Burrito With Turkey Sausage
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If you want a hot, substantial, portable breakfast, this protein-packed breakfast burrito is the ticket. If you can spare five minutes to brown the turkey sausage, scramble some egg whites and cut up some veggies before you rush out of the house, you'll be rewarded with a well-balanced meal that you can wolf on the way to work.
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Yogurt is an ideal food for athletes who eat dairy products. Calcium builds and protects bones and aids in blood clotting, protein helps repair damaged muscle tissue post-workout, and some studies show that probiotics help regulate digestion and possibly lower stress—although researchers are still trying to identify which strands are most beneficial. Although easy-to-make homemade yogurt requires a bit of store-bought yogurt as a starter, once you make your first batch of homemade yogurt, save 1/4 cup of it for your next batch, and you never have to buy yogurt again. The following recipe doesn't require a yogurt maker.
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If you buy ingredients in bulk, making your own granola at home not only allows you to control the quality of the ingredients--as well as the sugar, fat and sodium content—but it also allows you to customize the flavor to suit every palate in your household. Simply start with six cups of old-fashioned rolled oats and then alter all of the following ingredients to suit your dietary needs and taste buds.
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Marry your homemade yogurt with your customized granola, toss some fresh fruit in the mix, and you have a carb, protein, fiber and antioxidant-rich breakfast that can be loaded into storage containers for busy weekday mornings just as easily as it can be layered into sundae glasses for weekend brunch.
Farro Berry Bowl
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Tired of the same old bowl of oatmeal? Switch up the main grain and you'll discover a new texture and flavor that you might even prefer. Use any whole or ancient grain or combination of grains in place of old-fashioned oats, and top the grains with any dried or fresh fruit and protein, such as toasted nuts or even warmed almond butter. The following recipe uses farro topped with a spiced berry emulsion.
Pomegranate Oat Scones
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If breakfast pastries top your list of post long run, ride or swim indulgences, you don't have to wait until you've pulled off an endurance feat to eat a scone. Standard scone recipes call for 3/4 to 1 stick of butter, cream or sour cream, which makes the pastries delicious and tender, but also makes them high in calories and fat. The following recipe offers compromise. It uses two tablespoons of butter for flavor and two tablespoons of heart-healthy canola oil. It calls for a blend of white flour and whole-wheat pastry flour as well as rolled oats for an additional whole-grain boost. The pomegranate seeds provide antioxidants as well as a juicy burst of tart flavor.
Avocado Grilled Cheese
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Sometimes nothing but melted cheese will fit the breakfast bill--who says that comfort food needs to be reserved for lunch and dinner? This grown-up version of grilled cheese is best when you use fresh mozzarella, but the part-skim shredded kind works well in a pinch. Brush your bread with canola oil instead of butter, and top the cheese with anti-inflammatory, vitamin-packed, heart-healthy avocado.
Apple Banana Oat Muffins
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If you need your carbs, fiber, fruit and protein in one package that you can hold in one hand, these apple banana oat muffins are just the thing. All-natural applesauce, yogurt and mashed bananas help sweeten and moisten the muffins, and almond milk and almond flour boost the protein and vitamin E content.
Curried Egg Salad Sandwich
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Often bland and oily, egg salad gets classified with other nutritional "no-nos" like fat- and calorie-bomb potato, tuna and chicken salads. Substitute the mayonnaise with yogurt to make a lighter version, and boost the flavor with curry powder, green onions, apples, pecans and golden raisins. To slash calories and fat even more, make this egg salad sans yolks.