They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and this is particularly true for athletes. But with so much choice, what’s best? These seven athlete breakfast recipes will give you the nutrition you need to perform and recover like a champ
On your biggest training days and races, supplement your breakfast with an Elite Pre & Post Workout Shake
Athlete breakfasts should tick a few boxes:
With that in mind, here are seven pro athlete breakfast recipes.
Athlete breakfast #1: Mighty porridge
Porridge is an all-time classic for good reason, consumed by pro athletes around the world like Gwen Jorgensen, Jessie Thomas and Lucy Bartholomew. Indeed, as world renowned endurance coach Matt Fitzgerald says, “I’ve asked a lot of elite endurance athletes about their breakfast foods, particularly before races, and oatmeal comes up again and again and again.”
That’s because oats release energy gradually throughout the day so you’ll ride stable blood sugar levels with no peaks and troughs. Plus, you’ll feel fuller for longer.
There’s much heated debate (particularly in Scotland) over which type of oats are best. Personally, I avoid the milled, powder-like oats that seem to turn into wallpaper paste and instead plump for the whole rolled variety. To me, the less processing the better.
Oats – a true breakfast of champions
The topping is where you can go off-piste and add what you fancy. Here’s a few of my favourite for taste and performance:
- Nuts – almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts all work a treat adding healthy fats to the meal
- Seeds – sprinkle flaxseeds, chia seeds or pumpkin seeds for more protein and good fat
- Coconut – increase sweetness while regulating blood sugar
- Berries – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, goji and acai berries will all supercharge your porridge and reduce inflammation
- Cinnamon – strengthen your immune system and regulate blood sugar
Here’s how to make it:
- Add 50-75g oats to water or milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer
- Cook for 5 minutes
- Mix in the nuts, seeds and fruit
- Cook for a further 5 minutes
- Serve and sprinkle with further tasty toppings
Athlete breakfast #2: Poached eggs with avocado on sourdough
Eggs are full of protein (6g per egg), healthy fat and good cholesterol. Combined with the mighty avocado and crunchy sourdough, this is a great recovery breakfast the morning after a hard training session.
Sourdough is a good choice because it’s high in probiotics and the fermentation process it goes through boosts its nutritional profile compared to other bread. This process also reduces the phytate content within the bread which results in an increase in mineral absorption.
Sourdough is one of the healthiest breads due to its higher good bacteria content
It’s important to pay attention to the source of your eggs - it’s worth forking out for organic, free range eggs – to get the highest quality fat and protein. Better still, rear your own chickens...there’s nothing more satisfying than collecting your own eggs and popping them straight in the pan.
- Bring water to simmer, swirl and add the eggs
- Toast the sourdough
- Poach the eggs for 1.5 – 2.5 minutes depending how runny you like the yolk
- Dice an avocado and mash it onto the toast
- Fish the eggs from the water and voila!
Athlete breakfast #3: ‘Nuts about fruit’ power bowl
We started making this while supporting Luke Tyburski on his epic Ultimate Triathlon adventure and still eat it a few times per week. It’s quick to make, requires no cooking and is packed with nutrients.
Thoroughly mix the following together in a bowl and enjoy:
- ½ avocado diced
- One apple or pear (or both if you’re feeling wild), peeled and finely sliced
- Shredded coconut
- Chia and flax seeds
- Raw cacao nibs
Voila: simple but tasty and full of powerful anti-inflammatories for muscular and skeletal recovery.
Pro athlete breakfast #4: Whole-grain pancakes with almond butter
Cooked right - and with the right ingredients - pancakes can be a great start to the day
Olympic gold medallist swimmer Kerri Walsh-Jennings goes big on her morning feed. This feast is high in low GI carbs resulting in sustained energy through arduous sessions. This plate also contains a healthy dose of protein and fibre.
- 2 cups wholegrain flour
- 4tsp baking powder
- 2tps ground cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
- 2.5 cups milk of your choice
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl
- Add the wet ingredients and sitr until completely mixed
- Into a pan on medium heat, pour the mixture to the size of your choice! Flip once it begins to set
- Drizzle almond butter on the finished product
Athlete breakfast #5: Quinoa porridge
You can substitute the oats from #1 for quinoa for an equally powerful breakfast bowl.
Perhaps not the normal go-to, quinoa makes for a cracking porridge
Quinoa might not be at the top of your list for breakfast, but it should be. It’s protein rich, is a slow-burning carb and a great source of fibre making it superb for gut health.
- Rinse the quinoa under cold water
- Add 50-75g quinoa to soya or almond milk
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 – 15 minutes
- Add a smorgasbord of toppings as per #1
Athlete breakfast #6: Nut butter banana shake
This one ticks all the macronutrient with an extra dose of protein due to the scoop of Premium Protein. With natural anti-inflammatories, this shake is great after a big training session or as a quick on-the-go breakfast.
Into a blender, add:
- 500ml almond or soya milk
- 50g oats
- 1 x peeled banana
- A tablespoon nut butter
- A drizzle of honey
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Scoop of Premium Protein
- Handful of ice
Blitz it and you’re good to go.
Turbocharge your breakfast nutrient content with just one spoonful of Ultimate Daily Greens
Athlete breakfast #7: Bircher muesli with apple and banana
The process of soaking oats and seeds overnight results in a lovely creamy texture which is also easier to digest. I love this before a long Saturday ride when I want to get out early and need plenty of slow-release energy.
- Add 50g oats, seeds and nuts of your choice to a bowl
- Grate an apple and throw this in too
- Stir in a dollop of Greek yogurt and then add your choice of milk
- Leave in the fridge overnight
- Top with cinnamon and a sliced banana