This is what you’ll get in a Hardee’s Loaded Breakfast Burrito: ham, bacon, sausage, eggs, cheese and hash browns. Sounds like a trip to breakfast heaven, but the meal comes with a hefty serving of fat—51 grams, to be exact—and a whopping 780 calories. That’s why menshealth.com rates it among its 20 Worst Breakfasts in America.
A high fat and calorie breakfast is a good way to sacrifice your training diet—especially if your workout is in the a.m. Reason being, a high fat meal sits in your stomach, weighing you down and making you feel sluggish instead of energized and revved up to rip through your workout.
Even if you’re not grinding out morning workouts, fat-filled fuel can sabotage the physiological gains you’re working toward this summer, whether your goal is to add lean mass or drop extra pounds.
This doesn’t mean you should skip breakfast altogether. That’s one of the biggest nutrition mistakes an athlete can make. Sports nutritionist Rob Skinner says you should be “breaking the fast,” explaining that “[athletes] wake up with low carbohydrate stores, so topping them off in the morning will improve energy over the entire day.” Sports nutritionist Chris Mohr adds that after sleeping for [hopefully] eight hours, you need to replenish your body’s glycogen stores.
For a smarter, healthier breakfast alternative, menshealth.com suggests Hardee’s Sunrise Croissant with Ham, which delivers 400 calories and 23 grams of fat [28 fewer than the burrito!]. If you’re in the mood to hit the kitchen, Mohr serves up a do-it-yourself burrito concoction. The video above shows you how to prepare this protein- and carb-packed meal.
Whip up Mohr’s recipe by following these simple steps:
1. Scramble two eggs. “Eggs are absolutely the best source of protein,” Mohr says. “An egg has about five to seven grams of protein, depending on the size, [and it has] a little bit of fat as well, [which] you need for energy.”
2. Cook the eggs in a heated pan coated with a non-stick substance, such as canola oil spray or light olive oil. “If you’re trying to take in more calories, olive oil is a fantastic option,” Mohr says. “It’s a little bit better for your body than just plain butter, and it’s a way to add extra calories.”
3. While the eggs are cooking, spray a second pan, let it heat up, and toss in any vegetables you like, either fresh or frozen. As the vegetables cook, top the eggs with low-fat cheese and allow it to melt.
4. Once the eggs are cooked, the cheese melted and the vegetables thoroughly heated, pile everything on a [preferably] whole-wheat tortilla, one that has at least three grams of fiber per serving. For added flavor, top with salsa, which consists mostly of tomatoes, onions and spices, so it’s low in fat and calories. Bonus: salsa is high in vitamins and antioxidants, which studies suggest reduces inflammation, meaning less muscle soreness.