Healthy breakfast ideas: What Cristiano Ronaldo and other athletes eat

We look at what some leading athletes are kick-starting their mornings with for a taster of what the breakfast of champions really looks like

The Sport Review staff
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cristiano ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is said to start his day with wholegrain cereals and fruit juice Photo: Handout

Pondering over what to have for breakfast to complement a healthy and active lifestyle?

Here, we take a look at what some leading athletes are kick-starting their mornings with for a taster of what the breakfast of champions really looks like!

We’ve spoken with some leading nutritionists for their verdict on how these athletes are fuelling up in the morning.

Cyclist – Laura Trott

Bowl of Weetabix and toast

Rating: 2/5

Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at SuperfoodUK.com, the online shopping destination for health and wellbeing says: “It is important to have an intake of carbohydrates for energy before a race, but it is even more important to make sure that this is the right type of carbohydrates. Eating carbohydrates with a high glycemic index (usually sugar-containing foods) means that you get a rush of energy, but this will then be followed by a slump in energy. Laura’s breakfast contains foods, which will cause this effect. She would be better off having a breakfast which will still give her the energy, but wont give her the following slump – this could obviously be detrimental to her racing efficiency.

“I’d suggest avocado on wholegrain toast with a boiled egg, or scrambled egg with smoked salmon, or porridge with added nuts and seeds. I’d also recommend adding a vegetable smoothie for a good intake of additional nutrients.”

Tennis player – Andy Murray

1 whole lemon, a bagel and scrambled egg, half a bagel and peanut butter, smoothie with milk, bananas and berries

Rating: 4/5

Lily Soutter, nutritionist and weight loss expert at lilysoutternutrition.com says: “Lemons are an amazingly healthy way to start the day, whilst acidic outside of the body, they are highly alkalizing inside the body. Hot water with lemon or lemon water are both tasty options.

“It’s important for Andy to have a breakfast rich in complex carbohydrates and protein to give him a sustained release of energy throughout the morning. Andy’s protein sources come from the scrambled eggs, peanut butter and milk. Eggs and milk are rich in branch chain amino acids, which are essential for preventing muscle catabolism during prolonged exercise as well as supporting muscle recovery. Eggs are also a wonderful source of much needed B vitamins, utilised within the energy pathway.

“Whilst peanut butter is a source of protein, many brands contain added sugar and unhealthy fats. A great alternative would be to use a natural, unsweetened almond or seed butter with no added oils. These types of ‘butters’ have a higher quantity of essential fats for brain function and tip top concentration, as well as magnesium, a mineral vital for energy production.

“Andy’s breakfast is carbohydrate rich. Carbohydrates break down to sugar within the body, which will be used as his main source of energy throughout the morning. Whilst whole grain bagels are available, they are generally highly processed and contain added sugar as well as other chemicals and preservatives. Switching to a good quality wholegrain toast, or even having a bowl of cooked rolled oats with a drizzle of almond butter can be the perfect way to eliminate added nasties. Oats are one of the best sources of slow release carbohydrates, which can prevent blood sugar and energy crashes throughout the morning; they can also stave off hunger until lunch!

“This breakfast has is full of protein and carbohydrates, which is exactly what a top tennis player would need, first thing in the morning. However, by choosing a more nutritious carbohydrate source, as well as adding more essential fats from almonds or seeds, this really could be a breakfast for champions.”

Footballer – Cristiano Ronaldo

Wholegrain cereals and fruit juice

Rating: 4/5

Dr. Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading nutritionist, author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar says: “Whole-grain cereals are much better than highly sugary and processed carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries. They are full of fibre and nutrients, which will release sugar steadily.

“When it comes to fruit juice, unfortunately most of the fibre is thrown away so you are left with a high amount of fruit sugar hitting your blood stream fairly quickly with no fibre to slow it down. If you are having fruit juice, then dilute it half-and-half with water and drink it with food, which will help to slow down the effect of the fruit sugar.”

Yoga guru – Rachel Brathen

Homemade granola, yogurt, and berries

Rating: 5/5

Lily says: “Whilst many granolas are full of sugar or unhealthy fats, home made ones can instantly eliminate this problem. Granola tends to be made up of oats, nuts and seeds as well as spices (like cinnamon) – all the perfect ingredients for balancing blood sugar and keeping energy levels high throughout the morning.

“Natural yoghurt with live cultures is an excellent source of protein, with the added benefit of providing good bacteria for optimal digestion.

“Rachel is making the perfect choice by finishing off her breakfast with berries. These tend to be extremely low in sugar and are one of the best sources of antioxidants.

“This is a wonderful breakfast, and a perfect way to start the day for not only yoga gurus but for anyone who wants optimal energy levels throughout the morning.”

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