We all have heard it before: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well I’m here to tell you that…It’s true! Oh, come on! What’d you expect me to say?
Skipping breakfast can have so many effects on the rest of your day and can lead to unhealthy habits such as snacking a lot, and often on foods high in fat and sugar. Skipping also means it can be more difficult to get all of the necessary nutrients your body needs on a daily basis and if you’re a runner or exercise regularly, you’re looking at an even more difficult time achieving proper daily nutrition. This doesn’t mean you can’t get all the nutrients you need if you skip breakfast; it will just require more effort.
Why in the world you want to skip breakfast anyway?! Let’s be real…the breakfast food category has the best foods: Coffee, pancakes, oatmeal, coffee, fruits, (tofu) scrambles, pastries, pancakes, hashbrowns, coffee, homefries, french toast, pancakes, bagels, donuts, coffee, pancakes, coffee, pancakes, coffee, pancakes, and fruit. And pancakes. With coffee. And a side of roasted potatoes.
For many reasons though, people do skip breakfast. It could be they don’t have time for it (popular one, especially from my track athletes) or that they don’t like eating too early and when they get to work, they’re too busy to eat. I’ve even had a track athlete tell me that she forgot to eat breakfast. Important: If you are a person, but especially an athlete (even more especially, a young, developing athlete) you it’s a big risk (and ask) to skip meals and think your body will continue to meet all your demands. I think eventually, if this habit is long-lasting and your activity levels are more than moderate, you may experience the consequences of such a habit (e.g. fatigue, poor skin health, poor eye health, lower brain activity/performance, low energy, or other possible and likely outcomes of improper nutrition).
- Don’t have time? Wake up earlier. 15 minutes. That’s all you need to prep and eat a minimally decent breakfast. 15 minutes is much time to shave off of your sleep? Go to bed 15 minutes earlier. Solved!
- Work is too busy? Grab something on-the-go. Oatmeal cups, nutrition bars, fruit, bagel (skip the butter and CC), and more.
- Forgot? Err….Umm….What’s wrong with you!? Kidding. But, I don’t how to help with that one. I suppose a phone reminder or post-it note on your bathroom mirror could help.
All of this was just a long introduction to the crux of this post:
MY TOP 4 BREAKFAST CHOICES (As a Runner)
I hate that we categorize foods as breakfast, lunch, or dinner foods because it makes me feel bad for wanting pancakes for dinner, when everyone should want pancakes for dinner!
Homemade pancakes are just too darn tasty to not be on this list. Of my favorite foods, they are only second to potatoes. But their taste and fluffiness only contribute to why they are #1 on my top 4 breakfast choices. The reason I included “homemade” is not because I have anything against going out and getting some delicious dairy and egg-free pancakes for brunch (hence the picture, taken at Portobello Trattoria in Portland). It’s just that when you make the batter yourself, you can add ingredients that would turn that fluffy flapjack into a nutrient powerhouse. Chia seeds, flax seeds, maca powder, cacao powder, cinnamon, berries, a pinch of salt…the list can go on and on. I won’t make pancakes before a run, but when I get back from a long run, I know I can rely on pancakes to replenish my glycogen stores and give me the nutrients I need to recover properly and quickly.
Oatmeal is probably one of the foods that doctors, nutritionists, food professionals and breakfast enthusiasts can all agree is a top choice for breakfast. If you don’t like oatmeal, you’re not doing it right. Have you had Bob’s Red Mill oatmeal? No? Click on the link and start living. What you can do with a hot bowl of oats, like pancakes, is endless! For starters, before you cook ’em, you can make the oatmeal cold (simple take on Muesli, anyone?). Similar to pancakes though, you can add so much to oatmeal before it becomes too much (is that even possible?): cinnamon, chia or flax seeds, pinch of salt, banana slices, cacao powder, and some peanut butter are what I frequently add, but you can do so much more. Berries, apple slices, coconut flakes, sliced nuts, teaspoon of fresh jam, a dollop of thick non-dairy Greek yogurt…Such an easy way to pack a bowl of nutrients (fiber, protein, carbs, and vitamins from your add-ins) into a bowl of hot oats, steel cut or rolled! Oh, and for your busy people…Bob’s Red Mill has new cups of oatmeal for your busy mornings!
Not pretty. Still delicious.
Scrambled…Tofu. Or just “tofu scramble.” No matter how you call it, it’s delicious. And, again, it’s a great way to get a whopping amount of nutrients onto your plate! Organic tofu is something I frequently eat, especially for its protein value and versatility. Then I add all of the other ingredients as an easy way to increase my vitamin intake (K, C, D, A, B’s, etc).
To make a tofu scramble, I add a bit of oil in a skillet and set the gas to low. Then I slice some onions and add them to the skillet on a higher heat. I then chop (?) the tofu into the desired bit sizes I want (you can use a knife, fork, or spatula for this) and add the tofu to the skillet.Then I slice and dice the rest of the veggies and add those a couple of minutes later. The color comes from the curry powder, turmeric, and the paprika, but I also add cayenne and garlic to taste.
Fruit: Blended into a fruit smoothie with vegetables or just as it is in its delicious raw form. When you blend, you can, for the fourth time, add many ingredients to maximize the nutrients that end up in your glass, but the result could also be quite a bit of sugar in your glass as well. If you are limiting your sugar intake for health concerns or preferences then you may want to just stick to a few pieces of fruit as you’ll be full longer. As a runner, I make sure to eat fruit in the morning (bananas especially) for a couple reasons: the fiber keeps me full longer and I ensure that I am taking the first opportunity I get to get the nutrients my body needs.
So I’ll leave you with a bunch of stuff here at the end of this post. You’re treated to questions, a brief peek into the breakfast life of Lolo Jones, and wise words from the one and only Winnie the Pooh.
QUESTIONS: What are your go-to breakfast foods/meals? Do you eat those same foods before a run? After a run? And what’s your reasoning behind your responses? Try to find a reason even if you don’t think you have one…I believe people should always be mindful about what they eat and this includes why they’re eating something.
“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”
Wise words. Pooh Bear. Wise words.