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The ideal breakfast for athletes

by Cédric Jourdan © Copyright
full breakfast for athletes

Combine "good" carbohydrates with protein and fat

Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Without falling into a comparative study, it is true that a food intake upon awakening conditions, in part, the rest of our day on an energetic and intellectual level. Moreover, you know that the traditional breakfast "bread - butter - jam" is not suitable for the athlete, nor for a typical individual. So what is the ideal breakfast when you play sports? Discover our practical tips.

Why give so much importance to breakfast?

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According to the Centre de recherche pour l'étude et l'observation des conditions de vie (CREDOC), it is estimated that 30 % of children and 20  % of adults skip breakfast at least once a week(1). This would disrupt blood glucose levels for the coming day. We can never remind you enough, breakfast is an important meal in the day of an athlete.

Breakfast is a privileged moment. It's probably one of the only meals you can manage from A to Z while being at home. At lunchtime, we sometimes eat outside on the go, for professional reasons. In the evening, you can be tired, taken aback, which encourages fast food, meal delivery, outings with friends or to restaurants. In short, in the morning, there is no excuse to set your alarm clock and prepare a quality breakfast.

As a parent, breakfast is of paramount importance, if only to pass on good eating habits to your children. Going to school on an empty stomach makes children more tired, less focused, less participatory and less attentive. As an adult and even more so as a sportsman, the problem remains the same. You cannot be at 100 % of your physical and mental abilities.

Therefore, ideally, preparing a quality sports breakfast for the athlete should be done the day before. You set your alarm clock early enough to have time and/or prepare breakfast in advance.

Carbohydrates for energy

Plus de glycogène, moins de graisses !

Index glycémiquePour stocker du glycogène plutôt que du gras, consommez des glucides de faible index glycémique

Privilégiez les glucides de faible index glycémique ! pour refaire le plein de réserves : lentilles, céréales complètes, riz basmati, pain complet, fruits et légumes. Accompagnez vos glucides de produits riches en fibres (salade, légume, potage en entrée) pour diminuer l'IG. Vous favoriserez le stockage sous forme de glycogène plutôt que de graisses !

Eating is mandatory to have energy. This does not escape breakfast. However, the best carbohydrates should be selected. For this reason, the glycemic index is of great help. This index makes it possible to know the hyperglycemic power of a food.

The higher the index, close to 100, the faster your blood sugar level will rise, leading to a peak insulin level and easier storage in the form of fat. Learn more.

On the other hand, a food with a low GI is to be preferred since it spreads more slowly in the body to provide continuous energy. We therefore strongly encourage you to choose this type of carbohydrate, with a low or moderate index.

The glycemic index of food

Choose your carbohydrates according to their GI by choosing foods with a low to moderate glycemic index.

IG high
IG moderate and low

In practice

oat flakes
Oat flakes as well as whole grains have the advantage of offering a moderate glycemic index.

The athlete's breakfast can therefore be composed of:

  • Oat flakes
  • Fruits
  • Wholemeal bread


Read also:

Proteins for muscles

shell and egg yolk
The egg provides a high level of protein with high biological value

Proteins! This is what is sorely lacking in Western breakfast. However, athletes have increased protein requirements. Useful for the functioning and maintenance of muscle mass, proteins in athletes have a major role to play in optimizing recovery.

Essential for the bodybuilder wishing to gain muscle, proteins are just as important for the endurance athlete to repair muscle tissue damaged by effort.

"For strength or endurance athletes, protein should be consumed as early as breakfast "

It is estimated that between 1.2 and 1.5  g per kilogram of body weight, the protein needs of an endurance athlete are estimated. For a strength practitioner, the ratio is 2  g per kilo of body. Thus, a weight training practitioner weighing 70  kg should consume 140  g of protein per day, while a normal athlete of the same weight should consume around 100  g.

The egg! Here is a key food for the sportsman's breakfast. A whole egg provides about 7  g of protein. It can be cooked fried, scrambled or calf. When you wake up, the eggs will fit perfectly into your pancakes, omelettes or bowlcakes recipes to start the day on the right foot.

In practice

The athlete's breakfast can therefore be composed of:

  • Eggs
  • Chicken breast / Turkey breast
  • Cottage cheese

Lipids for good cellular functioning

Oilseeds, including almonds, are useful for the proper functioning of our body

Finally, don't forget the right fats! We are obviously talking about oilseeds, coconut oil or egg yolk. Lipids are useful for the overall proper functioning of our body. They ensure a quality hormonal production, participate in the absorption of vitamins and minerals through the intake of omega-3, omega-6.

For an athlete, the lipid requirements are estimated at 1 g per kilo of body weight. At breakfast, don't make the mistake of throwing away the yolk from eggs since studies (2) have shown that dietary cholesterol has little effect on blood cholesterol levels. The time when the yellow of egg was pointed at is over. Nevertheless, for your health, we strongly encourage you to choose eggs ORGANIC or raised outdoors.

In practice

The athlete's breakfast can therefore be composed of:

  • Whole eggs
  • Oilseeds (nuts, cashews, almonds)
  • Coconut oil / Olive oil

What about dairy products in all this?

Dairy products are often part of the ideal breakfast. However, milk and its derivatives are called into question, such as Thierry SOUCAR's best-seller entitled Milk, lies and propaganda(3), prefaced by the oncologist Henri JOYEUX. It is said to be responsible for digestive problems, acne flare-ups and is not essential to satisfy calcium needs. Everyone is therefore free to make their own opinion on the dairy lobby.

However, you can easily reduce your consumption of dairy products. For breakfast, opt for vegetable drinks. Among them, almond milk, soya milk or spelt and hazelnut drink are excellent substitutes.

A Harvard University study(4) recommends limiting your daily intake of dairy products to 1 or 2, provided they are well tolerated by your body. There is therefore no reason to ban milk, cheese or cottage cheese altogether if your body can tolerate it, but limiting its consumption will most likely do you more good than harm.

The ideal breakfast in a few seconds

Still don't know what to eat in the morning? Are you in a hurry? In this case, we offer you an express and balanced breakfast.

Homemade sports breakfast
A complete homemade breakfast recipe that is easy to prepare for athletes

In a frying pan, pour:

  • 1 cc of coconut oil
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 40 g oatmeal
  • 1 or 2 fruits (banana, apple, kiwi, peach)
  • Optional: 1 square of dark chocolate for the most gourmet

Over medium heat, mix all these ingredients together in the pan for 2 minutes and you're done. You have a balanced breakfast for athletes.

Total: 495 kcal / Carbohydrate 46 g / Fat 25 g / Protein 24 g

In conclusion

The sportsman's breakfast is composed of:

  • One or two sources of carbohydrates with low or moderate glycemic index
  • A source of protein
  • A source of good fats

Then, according to your tastes, it is up to you to select the foods you particularly like. Generally, in the sportsman's diet, eggs, oatmeal and fruit occupy the top three at breakfast. To break the routine and constantly surprise your taste buds, don't hesitate to play the apprentice cook through simple recipes, such as bowlcakes, pancakes, smoothies bowl and porridges. For fruit juices, avoid buying them in supermarkets. It is better to buy your own oranges to make your own homemade juice when you wake up. Finally, think about hydration with a green tea, a glass of lemon water or a coffee.


(1) Breakfast, an essential meal that is increasingly neglected and simplified

(2) Associations of egg and cholesterol intakes with carotid intima-media thickness and risk of incident coronary artery disease according to apolipoprotein E phenotype in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Feb. Virtanen JK, Mursu J, Virtanen HE, Fogelholm M, Salonen JT, Koskinen TT, Voutilainen S, Tuomainen TP.

(3) Milk, lies and propaganda (Thierry Souccar)

(4) Healthy Eating Plate

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Books (Commercial links)

Lait, lies and propaganda (Thierry Souccar)
The book that revealed the truth about dairy products and dairy industry practices. In this new updated edition, which has been increased by nearly 100 pages, Thierry Souccar reinforces his investigation into the dairy lobby and the real effects of milk on health.
Recipes for athletes (N. Aubineau)
Optimize your performance with an adapted diet ! More than 100 recipes for all sportsmen and women, starters, main courses and desserts to eat balanced throughout the season, but also drinks and "special effort" snacks.
52 Breakfast Meals for Bodybuilder Riches en Proteines (Joseph Correa)
Increase your muscle mass quickly, without pills, protein supplements, or protein bars

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