Let’s focus on the most hectic time of the day – morning. Often labelled as ‘the most important meal’, a lot can rest on getting a good breakfast inside us before we tackle the next 12hrs or so. However, breakfast can create some real problems if you’re training or racing, the main one being timing. You see, while we don’t want to be setting the alarm for three hours before we do our 7am Sunday session, it’s essential to have something inside our bodies to power us through.
Training or, even worse, racing on an empty stomach can lead to dizziness, headaches and performance under-achievement. So have a think about what you currently eat for breakfast and ask yourself, “Am I getting it right for my needs?”
Watermelon, pomegranate and mint juice (makes 300ml)
This is a glass full of ‘zest for life’: a really quick breakfast solution if you need to train straight away, with a fresh, clean and naturally sweet taste, finished with the cooling note of mint.
Preparation time 2mins
Equipment Electric juicer
50g pomegranate seeds or cranberries
Half an apple
Half an orange
6 mint leaves (optional)
1 Peel the watermelon and the orange.
2 Remove the pips and core from the apple.
3 Cut all of the fruit into small chunks.
4 Add the fruit and seeds to the juicer, alternating the order that you add them. Throw in the mint (if used) at the halfway point.
5 Stir well, before drinking immediately.
Full English (serves 1)
A healthier take on a firm favourite, with less of the guilt! This is perfect for post training/racing.
Preparation and cooking time Less than 10mins
Equipment A ‘ridged’ cast-iron chargrill pan (should be very hot before using, otherwise it will stick) or non-stick frying pan
A medium saucepan
1 organic or free range egg
1 rasher of lean smoked back bacon
1 vine tomato, cut into two
1 large open cap mushroom, kept whole
1 slice of wholemeal or granary bread
A little olive or rapeseed oil
A little mustard of your choice (optional)
1 Bring a half-filled saucepan of water to simmer. It’s important not to boil it as the poached egg will break up.
2 Preheat the chargrill or frying pan and add the bacon. Note: don’t use any oil or fat because there’s enough fat in the bacon to
prevent it from sticking.
3 Rub a tiny amount of oil onto the tomato and mushroom and add to the chargrill pan. Cook for about 5mins.
4 When the bacon is cooked to your liking, remove it from the pan.
5 Crack the egg into a small cup and slide it into the water, making certain it isn’t boiling. A soft poached egg will take approx 2-2½mins.
6 Toast the bread and spread the mustard (if using).
7 Transfer all ingredients, except the egg, to a plate. Finally, remove the egg (a perforated spoon is best for this) and place it on top for a rewarding, tasty work of art.
Cranberry, pumpkin seed and orange muesli (serves 4)
Follow the guide here but add your own choice of fruit, nuts and seeds to develop your own bespoke recipe that you can make ahead in bulk.
Preparation time 2mins
Equipment A large bowl for mixing
100g rolled oats
50g dried cranberries
80g pumpkin seeds
40g sunflower seeds
1 tsp fresh orange zest, optional
1 Mix all of the ingredients together.
2 Serve in a bowl with skimmed or semi-skimmed milk.
3 If using, grate the orange zest on top and start munching!
Ginger-spiced blueberry porridge (serves 1)
A wonderful base fuel for an endurance session – best eaten two-and-a-half to three hours prior to exercise. Adding the ginger to this recipe provides an added zing!
Preparation and cooking time 5-8mins
Equipment Medium saucepan
50g rolled oats (to save cooking time, the oats can be pre-soaked in milk the night before and kept in the fridge)
200ml semi-skimmed milk
12-16 fresh blueberries
Acacia or clear honey, to taste
Ground ginger, to taste
1 Bring the water to the boil and add the oats.
2 Add the milk and cook on a low heat for 5-8mins, stirring often. Add more milk if necessary.
3 Add the ginger and transfer the mixture to a bowl.
4 Stir in the honey and blueberries.
Watermelon, raspberry and orange yoghurt (serves 1)
Very fast, very fresh and very nutritious. Perfect for getting a high vitamin C breakfast that’s easy to train on or eat post exercise.
Preparation time 4mins
Half an orange
8-10 fresh raspberries
1 tbsp probiotic or natural yoghurt
2 mint leaves, chopped (optional)
A pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)
1 Peel and cut the watermelon and orange into small chunks.
2 Place in a bowl with the raspberries and add the yoghurt, mint and cinnamon (if using).
If you haven’t got a juicer, consider the purchase of one – it will change your life! A juicer makes getting fruit and veg into your diet so much easier, and provides a nutritious, fresh liquid breakfast in under two minutes.
Have a constant store of oats and a selection of dried fruits and nuts in your cupboards. If you’re running late you can mix up your own muesli, which will often result in a healthier version of many shop-bought varieties.
Get into the habit of buying fresh berries: they liven up porridge, muesli and yoghurts, and the nutritional benefits are fantastic.