Cop-Out #2: You have zero a.m. appetite.
That's fine. Start small, then. "Your goal should be progress," says Heather Mangieri, R.D., a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She suggests having a wedge of cheese or a piece of fruit, and building from there over time. "It will reset your internal hunger clock and eventually train your body to want food in the morning."
Cop-Out #3: You work out first thing.
Worried about getting hit with stomach cramps? "It's true that high-fat, high-protein foods can linger in the gut and bounce around during exercise—not exactly comfy," Mangieri says. So split up your meal: Have a fast-digesting carb-rich snack such as a banana 30 minutes before the gym; afterward, finish up with some fat and protein to keep your metabolism stoked.
SELF Staff Confessions
We asked the pros for pointers on some of our staffers' a.m. noshes. Lessons learned.
"I'm eating proteins, like nonfat Greek yogurt, egg whites and roast turkey or lowfat ham."—Sandra Wilson-Hess, bookings editor
"Protein is definitely important, but be careful not to overdo it and sacrifice other key nutrients in the process," Grotto says. "Wilson-Hess can round out her meal by losing the meat and adding some lower-sugar fruit such as berries for fiber and antioxidants."
"I have a cup of blueberries with 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk, melon and green tea."—Kristen Saladino, senior market editor
"Although all of Saladino's meal ingredients are individually healthful, they're also dense with carbs and lacking the protein she needs to stay full throughout the morning," Taub-Dix says. Trading the almond milk and melon for nonfat plain Greek yogurt mixed with an ounce of almonds will exchange some carbohydrates for protein and healthy fat that will satisfy long-term.
"A Fiber One or Kashi bar with yogurt is my standby."—Allison Baker, associate editor
"Breakfast bars are convenient, but because they're low in water content, they're not very filling," Moore says. Baker could make her meal better by including a piece of water-dense fruit and sprinkling 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds over her yogurt for some healthy, satiating fat.
"I get two whole-wheat pancakes topped with 1/2 cup blueberries, doused in honey."—Marissa Stephenson, fitness editor
"Keep the blueberries, lose one pancake," Taub-Dix says. And scale back the honey to a drizzle, then add a scoop of low-fat ricotta to dial down sugar and pump up calcium. "Ninety percent of women don't get the 1,000 milligrams of calcium they need daily," she says. The mineral tells cells to burn fat instead of storing it, and it helps regulate blood pressure. We absorb calcium better in smaller doses than larger ones, so breakfast is a smart time to work in one of three daily servings.Perfect your nutrition to boost your performance. Sign up for a race near you.