March Madness isn’t the only reason to celebrate this month. It’s also National Nutrition Month®, sponsored by the American Dietetic Association [ADA]. Stay healthy and game-ready with this quick breakfast served up by ADA spokesperson and former Cleveland Cavaliers nutrition consultant Amy Jamieson-Petonic.
According to Jamieson-Petonic, fueling your body after an all-night fast—even if you aren’t hungry—is crucial. “A breakfast containing complex carbohydrates will provide a continuous supply of glycogen to the muscles,” she explains.
Aim for two times the amount of carbs to protein. Old-fashioned rolled oats are a great carb source, but when you don’t have enough time to cook, make instant oatmeal. Jamieson-Petonic recommends topping any low-sugar oatmeal with frozen or fresh fruit, such as a cup of sliced bananas. “You’ll be getting antioxidants, vitamins and dietary fiber from the fruit,” she says.
Adding other ingredients, like a scoop of soy protein powder and a tablespoon of ground flax seeds, will create a healthy power meal. “The soy provides a complete protein source, which helps your body maintain stable energy and blood sugar levels, and keeps hunger away for a longer time,” Jamieson-Petonic says.
Eating a small amount of fat a few hours before hitting the field is another way to stave off hunger. Spread a slice of whole grain toast with two tablespoons of natural peanut butter, which has the same amount of carbs, protein and fat as regular PB, but less trans fats.
Got an early-morning game? Jamieson-Petonic recommends drinking water or a sports drink instead of orange juice. OJ contains fructose, which can slow the absorption of fluids and leave you with an upset stomach. It’s a great high-carb, vitamin C-rich drink, but save it for post-game.
Although you shouldn’t eat them every day, other quick foods like Pop-Tarts® and donuts aren’t completely off limits. “They don’t provide the highest nutritional value, but every once in a while, they’re OK,” Jamieson-Petonic says. Before you reach for either, however, try one of her other breakfast suggestions:
• Whole-grain waffles
• Smoothie with flax seed, protein powder, fruit and nonfat yogurt
• Breakfast burrito with salsa, low fat cheese and veggies
• Turkey wrap on whole grain tortilla
• Whole grain English muffin pizza topped with mushrooms, peppers and onions
• Pita with hummus
* for one packet of instant oatmeal topped with one cup of sliced bananas, one scoop of protein powder and one tablespoon of ground flax seed.
Amy Jamieson-Petonic, MEd, RD, LD, is a National Media Spokesperson for the ADA and manager of the Fairview Hospital Wellness Center in Cleveland. A marathon runner, she has served as a nutrition consultant to the Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Rockers and the 2006 Olympic Figure Skating team.
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