Break the Fast Every Morning

Break the Fast Every Morning
By Patricia Chuey, Senior Nutrition Consultant, SportMedBC
Eating a quality breakfast is an absolute requirement for optimal performance as we reach nutrition step 6 in our climb to Sun Run victory.
We learn and perform well, stay at a healthier weight and eat better all day when we start with a quality breakfast. Eating within the first two hours of waking up breaks the fast that happens while sleeping and begins the flow of nutrients into muscle and brain cells for the day. A good breakfast is well-balanced – Half the plate as vegetables or fruit with the remaining half made up of protein and whole grains. Unfortunately, there are three habits that can seriously get in the way of eating a balanced breakfast: Coffee, the wrong cereals and evening snacking.
Too Much Coffee – The world’s most popular way to awaken the nervous system can also unfortunately suppress appetite. You might grab a coffee and then not feel hungry until almost noon. Avoid this trap by eating even a small breakfast before or with that morning coffee. Make it a latte for extra calcium, an important electrolyte lost in sweat while you’re running. Health Canada suggests no more than 400 mg caffeine daily, about four cups (8 ounce portions). Note: This is not four turbo or supersize cups.
Bad Cereal Choices – Due to sugar and a lack of fibre, much of what’s in the cereal aisle barely qualifies as a snack, let alone an optimal way to start the day. To keep your breakfast balanced when having cereal, read labels and choose cereals with at least two grams of fibre and less than eight grams (2 teaspoons) of sugar per serving. Include protein like milk, nuts, yogurt or an egg and a serving of fruit.
Evening Snacking – Eating too much between dinner and bedtime can displace appetite for breakfast. Not eating within two hours of being up can put you on an eating path for the day that will be all about playing catch-up. When your day is done, and the kids are in bed and you finally put your feet up, you suddenly feel ravenous and tap into the snacks big time. Prevent this by starting the day with a good breakfast and eating regularly throughout the day, not the evening.
A few healthy breakfast ideas to help avoid these three traps include:
  • An egg or two scrambled with chopped broccoli, tomatoes or other vegetables on one slice of whole grain toast.
  • A slice of turkey, egg, cheese and tomato on a whole grain English muffin.
  • A brightly-coloured fruit salad topped with yogurt and nuts. Frozen berries are a great addition.
  • A fruit smoothie. Be sure it includes protein like yogurt, tofu, cottage cheese, peanut butter or protein powder.
  • A slice of healthy pizza.
  • Dinner leftovers – assuming protein, whole grains and vegetables are included.
  • A wrap of refried beans and vegetables.
  • A peanut butter and banana sandwich.
  • Lean turkey breakfast sausage, homemade hash browns and fruit.
Follow @patriciachuey on Twitter or find her at


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