Wouldn't you love to have a simple tool that would help you build a better, nutritious breakfast? How about a formula that optimizes nutrition, allowing you to perform and excel in your sport? What if I told you it's as easy as G+F+P, meaning whole grains plus fruit plus protein. It's a winning combination that not only satiates you, but also fuels your body for almost any workout.
Starting your day off right means eating a nutritious breakfast—i.e., one that includes plenty of grains, specifically whole grains. Whole grain foods are ideal sources of energy for athletes. As Alissa Rumsey, registered dietitian and owner of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness, says, "Whole grains are the key to fuel your body after a nighttime fast, and the carbohydrates they supply provide the quickest source of energy production."
Besides energy, whole grains also provide fiber, which "slows down how quickly your body breaks down carbohydrates, keeping your blood sugar levels from spiking and plummeting," says Caroline Kaufman, an L.A.-based registered dietitian, nutritionist and lifestyle blogger at www.CarolineKaufman.com. Examples of whole grain foods include oats, whole wheat or whole grain breads and cereals, buckwheat, bulgur and quinoa.
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Next up in the formula is fruit, which contributes an additional source of carbohydrates and fiber but has benefits beyond that. First, many whole, fresh fruits contain water, making them a great source for supplemental hydration. Fruits are also naturally sweet, eliminating the need for extra sugar in your oatmeal or cereal. Fruits are also loaded with vitamins, minerals and other compounds, such as antioxidants, which can serve as powerful protectors against the stress caused by exercise. Great breakfast fruits include blueberries, strawberries, bananas, melons, grapefruit and oranges.
The final component in this winning formula is protein. For a more sustainable breakfast, athletes should incorporate lean sources of protein in their morning meal. "Including protein at breakfast will help to keep you full longer and stabilize your blood sugar levels," says Rumsey.
Protein satiates, but it also serves as an important tool for muscle building and repair, explains Kelly Pritchett, an assistant professor in nutrition and exercise science at Central Washington University. She recommends incorporating eggs, peanut butter and low-fat milk as protein sources in your breakfast diet.
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A better breakfast is what every athlete needs. Now you have the tools to build one with this winning formula. Kaufman says, G+F+P "gives you a quick bump of energy, a sustained sense of fullness and antioxidants to help protect you from illness and injury. What could be better?"
G+F+P Formula Breakfasts
(G) Toasted whole wheat English muffin + (F) sliced strawberries and banana + (P) almond butter
(G) Oats + (F) mixed berries + (P) nut butter (and milk)
(G) 2 slices whole grain/wheat bread + (F) sliced avocado and banana on the side + (P) scrambled eggs
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