Boost Energy With Breakfast

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It's true: if you snooze, you lose. And in the a.m., skipping breakfast for a few extras Z's means you'll be at a loss for energy. So get your game going and earn the big W by waking up early to take in a solid breakfast. Here, former Seattle Seahawks nutrition consultant Susan Kleiner serves up an energy-boosting meal to help you seal the deal.


1C Nonfat/low fat milk + 1C Shredded wheat + 1 tsp sugar + 1/2 C Berries + 1 tbsp Sliced almonds + 1 hardboiled egg

The Breakdown

Eat Nabisco Shredded Wheat + Sugar, because, according to Kleiner, this is a cereal that's minimally processed. Aim for unrefined carbs that are as close to whole grain as possible, because "the more processed the food, typically the more added sugar," she says. Sweeten the wheats yourself with a teaspoon of sugar. "Nobody will add as much sugar as the processors," Kleiner says.

She adds, "Sugar is incredibly important around exercise; but throughout the rest of the day, it limits the density of nutrients you'll be able to get."

Berries are "great anti-inflammatory foods, [and] are critically important to helping you get through the day feeling well," Kleiner says. So besides post-workout, when your muscles are swollen, berries are also ideal in the morning, when you need a recovery meal from fasting through the night. An added bonus: berries are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants.

Kleiner advocates adding almonds, a high-performance fat, to your morning menu. The nutrient serves as a reserve energy source and helps satiate your appetite. Almonds are also high in vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant, protecting your muscles against oxidative damage.

Nonfat/low fat milk is packed with protein, and when combined with carbohydrates [i.e., cereal], the nutrients have "a really nice working relationship," says Kleiner. "Carbohydrate enhances the absorption of protein into the cell, and protein enhances the absorption of carbohydrate across the intestinal membrane. Together, they elevate mood, keep you feeling good, help you better cope with stress, and enhance mental energy, focus and performance," Kleiner adds.

Aside from an obvious source of quality protein [seven grams], Kleiner notes that a hard-boiled egg has phospholipids in the yolk, which are essential for brain health. Plus, if you're behind schedule, it's portable.

After a solid eight hours of rest [ideally], the absence of fluid intake results in your most dehydrated state. Kleiner recommends downing one to two glass of H20 immediately in the morning to jumpstart the rehydration process. "Hydration plays the biggest role [in performanceenhancement]— more than food, nutrients, supplements, more than anything you can do."

Consume At least 90 minutes prior to activity.

Nutrition Totals*
Calories 398
Protein 21g
Carbohydrates 56g
Fat 10g

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock