Aug 31, 2017
The Most Important Meal
Kim Tirapelle

Developing a sound sports nutrition plan that meets the needs of a growing high school athlete starts before the first bell rings. Because many athletes stay up late studying after a long day of school and practice, getting in a few more minutes of shut-eye can be a high priority. But eating a nutrient-rich breakfast is equally important.

For athletes, starting the day with a whole grain carbohydrate source and lean protein source is crucial for kick-starting metabolism and beginning to meet energy needs for the day. Whole grain carbohydrates provide fiber, which help increase satiety, and include higher levels of vitamins and minerals, such as iron and thiamine.

Including a protein source will result in a more even blood sugar response and provide consistent fuel to an athlete’s muscles and brain throughout the day. Protein sources are also rich in performance-enhancing vitamins and minerals, such as iron, vitamin B12, folic acid, zinc, calcium, and vitamin D.

Here are some ideas for grab-and-go breakfasts that include whole grain carbohydrate and lean protein sources:

  • Greek yogurt topped with low-fat granola or dry cereal, paired with eight ounces of orange juice
  • Two to three whole grain frozen waffles topped with peanut butter and a banana, paired with eight ounces of low-fat milk
  • Two hard boiled eggs and two slices of whole wheat toast with jelly, paired with eight ounces of low-fat milk
  • A bowl of oatmeal or cereal topped with low-fat milk and berries
  • One scrambled egg with black beans and shredded cheese wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla, paired with fresh fruit and eight ounces of low-fat milk
  • A whole grain bagel with cream cheese or peanut butter, paired with fresh berries and eight ounces of low-fat chocolate milk
  • A smoothie combining fruit, low-fat Greek yogurt, and fruit juice with two slices of whole wheat toast topped with peanut butter.
Image by Free Stock Photos

Kim Tirapelle, MS, RD, CSSD, is a Registered Dietitian for Kaiser Permanente in Fresno, Calif., where she provides individualized sports nutrition counseling to recreational, high school, collegiate, and professional athletes.

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