For young athletes, breakfast is an important meal, but it’s also the most likely to get skipped in order to finish that homework assignment or catch the bus. And as a busy parent, you may simply find yourself struggling to make a healthy breakfast for your athlete as you rush to get out the door to head to work on time. But there are plenty of easy, healthy options that can be prepped ahead of time and only take a few minutes to whip up.
Here, TrueSport Expert Kristen Ziesmer, a registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in sports dietetics, shares a few favorites. But first, she’ll talk about the contents of a good breakfast.
What's in a good breakfast?
A healthy breakfast for a young athlete needs to contain the major macronutrients: Protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Including all three will ensure that your athlete is full and satisfied until lunch. That’s why, for instance, our egg recipes all include toast or potatoes to provide the much-needed carbohydrate element. Skip that, and your athlete will be low on energy. Portion size also matters. A single egg and slice of toast will provide less than 200 calories and only seven or eight grams of protein, compared to an egg and cheese sandwich on whole grain bread made with two eggs and two slices of bread, which would provide around 20 grams (a full serving) of protein in addition to healthy fats and complex carbohydrates for a meal of around 500 calories.
With this in mind, here are a few recipes that can also be made in minutes or prepped at the beginning of the week to make mornings simple:
Make: The night before
Notes: If you prefer to meal-prep early in the week, mix together individual mason jars of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients the night before, though, otherwise by the end of the week, the oatmeal will be too mushy to be appetizing. This is a great meal prep activity to do with your athletes, and ideal for parents with multiple picky eaters since each can choose their own toppings and flavors!
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup milk (Whole milk provides a great protein source, but plant-based alternatives are fine. Look for protein-enriched options.)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional sprinkle of cinnamon or cocoa powder
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
- Choose your own fruit toppings: mixed fresh berries, sliced bananas, frozen berries, chopped apple
- Choose your own added fat/protein: chopped nuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds, nut butter, shredded coconut
Mix all ingredients together in a mason jar or other single-serve container.
Store in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, your athlete can eat this cold, or it can be microwaved if preferred.