Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day

It’s been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. St.Vincent Sports Performance Registered Sports Dietitian Lindsay Langford, MS, RD, CSSD, explains why the first meal of the day is so vital for an athlete.


For an athlete, breakfast plays an important role in performance. It is the foundation for an athlete’s daily nutrition. When an athlete wakes up in the morning, their glycogen levels are at 40-60%.  This is not enough to maintain blood sugar levels and keep high energy until lunchtime, especially if there is a workout or game in the morning. How can an athlete perform their best if their body is only at 40% glycogen? Skipping breakfast misses the opportunity to replenish those glycogen levels to 100% to last until lunch.


Here are some well-balanced breakfast ideas to get the day started on the right foot.


Breakfast Sandwich: Use a whole wheat English muffin, egg white, spinach, bacon or ham for a nutrient-packed sandwich.








Loaded Oatmeal: Add nuts, fruit, and whey protein to a regular bowl of oatmeal.








Cereal: Find a cereal with at least 5g of protein and 3g of fiber per serving.











Deli Meat Sandwich: A traditional sandwich with turkey, ham, or roast beef on wheat bread is a great way to start the day.











Power Pancakes: Add peanut butter and bananas to regular pancakes and go light on the syrup.







Studies have also found, athletes who eat breakfast have a lower body fat percentage. Get lean and get the most out of workouts by fueling the tank in the morning!


  1. Jodi Murphy Said,

    October 24, 2012 @ 11:18 am

    Really pay attention to what you are eating. Some “healthy” options aren’t as healthy as you might think. For instance, fresh turkey is a great source of protein but pre-packaged turkey can be loaded with sodium. Check the labels!

  2. DefiningSports Said,

    October 24, 2012 @ 11:42 am

    Great point Jodi! Avoiding processed foods helps to reduce sodium and other harmful ingredients. Look for low-sodium options and all-natural varieties, which are free of hormones, artificial additives and MSG.

  3. Nicole Said,

    March 6, 2014 @ 1:19 pm

    What about athletes that use protein shakes/or are using other weight gainers or muscle builders in the morning…should they still eat a full breakfast?

  4. Health Junkies Said,

    October 2, 2014 @ 9:22 am

    Yes it is true that you need to restore your blood glycogen and even replenish the amino acids in your blood after your body hasn’t had anything for 8 or so hours.

    I like the pancake option, I usually throw some whey protein powder into the banana/peanut butter pancake recipe 🙂

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