One of my constant sources of worry is that my kids aren’t getting the right food. With our busy schedules, it’s really hard to get them the recommended, balanced meals that doctors and nutrition experts say you should be feeding them.
But one of the most important meals they will eat is the one before game day. Young athletes need proper nutrition for the fuel they will need to perform at their top level. They must have a balance of protein to stay strong and recover, and carbs for energy. Here are some suggestions for the best breakfasts before games.
Eggs, wheat toast, and juice or fruit
Eggs have a lot of protein which your player needs. Try to stick with wheat bread because wheat is much higher in fiber, magnesium, zinc, vitamins E and B6, folic acid and chromium. Once it’s toasted they usually like it anyway. Orange juice is a great choice because it contains vitamins C and D, and has a wide range of health benefits including boosting the immune system and boosting cellular repair, which speeds up recovery time.
Oatmeal made with milk, and bananas or strawberries
Oats are filled with vitamins, and including fruits like bananas and strawberries will give your athlete tons of the added nutrients they need. Add milk for their protein serving and you have a super healthy breakfast.
Bagel, egg, & avocado sandwich
If your kid doesn’t like avocado you can skip it or put in some thin turkey or ham. If they do like it, all the better because avocado contains 20 vitamins and minerals and is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. And how can someone not like avocado???
Smoothie made with fruit, yogurt, and milk
Yogurt and milk have lots of protein, which is important to have throughout the day. Get a good blender like the Vitamix that we have and it will make them just like the pro’s.
Healthy cereal with milk and banana, strawberries, or blueberries
Some kids don’t like their food mixed together. I have one who does and one who doesn’t. On the side is fine…LOL.
Peanut butter toast
This is great if you’re in a hurry. They’re getting protein and carbs! Peanut butter not only has protein, but also fiber, potassium, magnesium, healthy fats, vitamin E, and antioxidants.
Skip the Fat!
Parents, try your best to resist the temptation to take your athlete out for a big breakfast or drive through for a greasy breakfast sandwich with fatty meats on it, or things like hash browns. Fatty foods slow digestion and are not ideal for athletes facing competition. It’s much better to just grab some fruit and yogurt at the store if you’re out of food, on the run, or at a hotel.
Make sure to take some healthy snacks for between games, especially if you have a long break in between. Our last travel team found out the hard way that the kids shouldn’t eat a huge meal between games because they always became very lethargic and didn’t perform well for the second game. Bring yogurt, fruit, protein bars, cheese sticks, and veggies to snack on and keep their energy up. There are tons of great recipes for fuel foods like the ones in the book, Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports and Adventure, that will keep your kids filled with energy.
For some great smoothie ideas, visit my page: Ways to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables
I’d love to hear your athlete breakfast suggestions so if you have some, please leave them in the comments below.