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Kick Start your Day: The Perfect Breakfast to Fuel for Training, Games and… School!

04/25/2017, 1:00pm PDT
By Genevieve Masson, MSc, RD, CD

Special to WWFHA, pro-staffer Genevieve Masson, MSc, RD, CCD in Nutrition

A lot of people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. As a sports dietitian I am convinced that all meals are important. However, I notice in my practice that a lot of growing athletes are not always eating a complete meal in the morning and sometimes, they are even skipping breakfast altogether.

Here are essential components of a complete breakfast that I recommend to the Washington Wild players and why it is important for athletes to eat breakfast everyday:

  • Carbohydrates: after a night of fasting (most people don’t eat in their sleep), your body used some of its storage of glycogen (form of carbohydrate stores in muscles and liver). Carbohydrates in your breakfast help to replenish your glycogen stores but most importantly, provide energy for your muscles and brain. Whether your brain is busy analyzing a hockey game or understanding a difficult math problem, it needs carbohydrates!
    • Ideas of carbohydrate-rich foods at breakfast: bread, breakfast cereals, granola, English muffins, bagels, oatmeal, potatoes, pancakes and waffles.
  • Protein: Well-known for building and maintaining muscles, proteins also contribute to growing up. Proteins also help with satiety, which means feeling satisfied with a meal and delaying when you become hungry again.
    • Ideas of protein-rich foods at breakfast: eggs (scrambled, hard-boiled, in an omelet or fried), cottage cheese, cheese, yogurt, milk (dairy or soy), turkey sausages, nuts and nut butter, peanuts and peanut butter.
  • Fruits or vegetables: Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals, which are essential nutrients for athletes. Try to eat more often your fruits and veggies in pieces or whole rather than in juices. This way, you get more fiber for extra satiety. Some people prefer fruits at breakfast and others, veggies. Both are ok, just make sure you get some colorful produce in there!
    • Ideas of fruits or vegetables at breakfast: veggie omelet, berries in yogurt, banana pieces on peanut butter toast, fruit smoothie, etc.

I know athletes are busy, especially adolescent student-athletes on the Washington Wild who sometimes have to fit a lot in their schedule: attending practices, playing games, training off-ice, travelling, going to school, seeing their friends, working a part-time job, etc. This is why I came up with some strategies to help you making sure breakfast is part of your everyday schedule:

  • Prepare breakfast the night before. This saves you time in the morning.
  • Consider getting up a few minutes earlier in order to have time to prepare and eat breakfast. I can hear some of you saying “but my sleep is important” and I agree! So, maybe you need to go to sleep a few minutes earlier each night too?
  • If you don’t have time to sit down to eat breakfast (which is preferred), consider bringing a breakfast with you to eat on the bus or in the car.
  • Some people are not hungry in the morning. “Drinking your breakfast” rather than eating it is usually easier. Smoothies can be a nice option for this but make sure to include protein and carbohydrate foods in there.
  • Try my Raspberry and Cocoa Overnight Oats recipe for a quick breakfast on the go!

Still unsure how to make sure to eat breakfast every morning?

Feel free to contact me and schedule a nutrition session at: genevieve_masson@hotmail.com.

You can also follow me on Instagram (@nutgmasson), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/nutgmasson/) and Twitter (@nutgmasson)!

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