What’s the Best Breakfast for an Athlete?

I am sure that we are all guilty of taking the food we eat for granted and not really paying attention to ensure that we get the nutritional needs from our food. However, if you are an athlete it is vital that you are ensuring that you are putting the right food into your body. What you eat really does change your performance. The recommended daily calorie intake is 2000 for women and 2500 for men, however because doing exercise is such as physical exerting thing it means that you need to consume more calories than an average person. Energy from the food that you eat is needed to help muscles perform, so eating the correct things is essential. The saying that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” may seem clichéd, but in fact having the right start to the day is necessary, so read our menu on what you should be eating.

Exercise physiologists William McArdle and Frank Katch found that the average daily calorie usage for a man is between 2,700 and 2,900 calories whilst for a woman it is between 2,000 and 2,100 calories. This therefore means upping the foot intake to often more than 4,000 calories a day; it may seem a lot, but your body needs them. So what are the best foots to eat that will work well for energy? Fats and proteins do give your body energy, however carbohydrates are the best thing to give your body the fuel it needs. Here is our example of the best breakfast menu and why it will work for your body.

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1 slice brown toast (60 calories)

1 cup/small bowl oatmeal (130 calories)

250ml low fat milk (102 calories)

Carbohydrates provide 40-50 percent of the energy required for exercise and give more energy per unit of oxygen, so it is important that you are eating the correct food early in the day to get the essential carbohydrates. Brown toast and oatmeal are complex carbohydrates which mean that the sugars that form them are mostly rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals and take longer to digest. Therefore they contribute to energy production. Simple carbohydrates are found in foods such as milk and should be taken in small quantities as are refined sugars and digested by the body quicker. Eating carbohydrates such as these foods means that the body stores them in the muscles and liver which can then be used for energy in exercise.

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Vitamins and Minerals

1 banana (100 calories)

250 ml of orange juice of (120 calories)

Increased exercise means that your body is losing potassium, iron, calcium and sodium. These are lost during perspiration when exercising. Oranges and bananas are rich in potassium so can replace lost potassium through training. Iron, found in fruits like a banana and brown bread (which we mentioned earlier) are good foods to eat, whilst additionally milk is also great for protein and calcium. Calcium is important for bone and muscle health and a low fat milk, (as we suggest) is the best source of this calcium.

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1 tablespoon jelly (55 calories)

Eating an item such as jelly which is high in sugar is good for getting extra calories to use when exercising. However, it is not ideal to eat a lot of food with high sugars and should be restricted to a small intake such as the one tablespoon recommended here.

Following a menu such as this will give your body the start it needs. However, you must make sure that you are eating the correct foods throughout the day as well. And, don’t forget that water plays a huge part in a healthy diet. An athlete should ensure that they stay hydrated. A tip is to keep fluids chilled as they are absorbed quicker.

Many thanks to Ladbrokes Games for all their help with this article.


  1. It is said that breakfast is the most important meal cause it gives you energy for you to be able to sustain the work to be done throughout the day. it is a very helpful article to give a proportion of what the body needs during breakfast especially for athletes.

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