You’ve heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It revs up your metabolism, aids your mental focus and provides a nourishing start so you won’t binge on cookies when three o’clock rolls around. For people like Michael Phelps, the winner of more gold medals than any Olympian ever, breakfast isn’t just important – it’s absolutely essential to his success as an elite athlete. You may not need, or even want, to eat as much for breakfast as Michael Phelps does, but you can learn a lot about nutrition from his approach.
Eat Like Phelps
In a single day, Michael Phelps consumes about 12,000 calories. To put that in perspective, the average woman eats about 2,000 and the average man, 2,500. Keep in mind that Phelps also spends around five hours a day working out both in the pool and in the gym. When you’re six feet, four inches of lean muscle and train like Phelps does, you need all those calories to fuel your body each day.
Although, Phelps’ daily calories are divided among his three main meals, breakfast is especially important. Having the right foundation to power through your day is one key to success whether you’re training for the Olympics or juggling a busy job and family life. In order to kick start his metabolism and supply energy for his workouts, Phelps begins his day with two cups of coffee and typical breakfast fare, like pancakes and eggs. Not so different from you and me, right? Wrong.
Phelps’ body requires so much energy, that his typical breakfast consists of a five-egg omelet; a bowl of grits; three fried egg sandwiches with fried onions, cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo; three chocolate chip pancakes; and three pieces of French toast. Although, the average man would have a hard time eating so much food in one sitting, you can learn from the logic behind Phelps’ choices. His meal consists of a mix of carbohydrates (from the bread, pancakes and grits) for a quick burst of energy, and protein (from the eggs) for prolonged endurance.
Power Up Your Day
I do not suggest duplicating Phelps’ breakfast menu, but there are some healthy solutions you can take from Phelps’ example. Consider the following tips when planning your own “power breakfast.”
1) No skipping – This is the single most important lesson to learn from Phelps. My patients sometimes say they don’t feel hungry in the morning. Even if you don’t have much of an appetite before noon, your body still needs fuel. When you wake up, your metabolism is moving at a snail’s pace because sleep requires very little energy. In order to start burning calories for energy, you need to feed your metabolism.
2) Eat a combination of nutrients – A balance of carbohydrates and protein gives your body instant energy without the “crash” that results from a high-sugar meal. Try scrambled eggs in a whole-wheat tortilla; oatmeal with a handful of nuts; or ham and melted cheese on an English muffin.
3) Tailor your breakfast to your life – Phelps’ breakfast is designed for serious cardiovascular endurance and power. If you have a three-hour strategy meeting that requires laser-like focus, eat a veggie omelet for brain-boosting protein. If you have a morning filled with errands and volunteering at your kids’ school, eat cereal with milk and fruit or a banana with toast and peanut butter for instant energy.
4) Be consistent – If you eat a high-powered breakfast everyday rather than just occasionally, you will benefit more. You will have a steady supply of energy so the days of feeling sluggish and tired will be history. You will actually crave nutritious food, instead of forcing it down. You will also put an end to overeating later in the day thanks to your healthy foundation.
5) Include foods you like – Do you think those chocolate chip pancakes Phelps’ eats have a solid health benefit besides another serving of carbs? No, but they sure are tasty. It’s okay to incorporate foods and ingredients that you love along with your healthy choices.
Now that you know the secrets of the greatest all-time Olympian, it’s time to do some meal planning of your own.
What will you be eating for breakfast tomorrow? Start your day with one of these high-power breakfasts – Enjoy!
Coconut Chai Oatmeal
Lighten up your oatmeal and create a new breakfast ritual with flavorful chai and coconut blended with nutritious whole oats. If you think that whole rolled oats take too long to make, think again! Instant oats lack the amount of fiber found in unprocessed oats so finding an easy way to prep the whole version is important. By using ripe bananas and vanilla extract, this dish is naturally sweet and quick to make for a healthy breakfast.
2 unsweetened black or herbal chai tea bags
1 ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
2 medium sized ripe bananas cut into small slices
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 Tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
Bring 3 ½ cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan, add tea bags, cover and remove from heat. Steep tea for 10 minutes and remove tea bags. Add oats, chia, and bananas. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer, adding milk and cooking for 10 additional minutes until oats are soft. Serve oatmeal garnished with coconut flakes.
Quinoa Porridge(from The AGE BEAUTIFULLY Cookbook). This delectable vegetarian breakfast is modeled after one I had while traveling. Like oatmeal, it can be enhanced by an endless variety of dried fruits and nuts. You can use plain or vanilla-flavored almond milk. For a more colorful presentation, I use red quinoa. You can also add fresh berries for even more FoodTrients benefits.
Yields 4 half-cup servings
1 cup red quinoa
2 cups water
¼ tsp. salt or salt substitute
2 cups almond milk
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 sliced banana
¼ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup raisins
4 Tbsp. maple syrup
- In a covered saucepan, simmer quinoa in the salted water for 15 minutes.
- Add the almond milk and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes or until quinoa is very soft and most of the almond milk is absorbed.
- Stir in the cinnamon and cool for 5 minutes.
- Serve with the banana, walnuts, raisins and maple syrup on the side.
- Serve with more almond milk, if desired.
Carrot Quiche is another great recipe to start your day. Our bodies process the nutrients in carrots more efficiently when they are cooked. In this quiche, the carrots stay bright orange and firm, a nice contrast to the silky custard base.
1 9-in. whole-wheat pie crust
2 tsp. canola oil
4 slices turkey bacon, chopped
2 tsp. chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced fresh mushroom
1 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
3 Tbs. tapioca flour
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
2 cups shredded carrots
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prick the pie crust with a fork and bake until just beginning to brown, about 7 minutes.
2. Heat the canola oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon until it is golden brown.
3. Add the garlic, onion, and mushrooms and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
4. Combine the egg substitute, half and half, evaporated milk, tapioca flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well.
5. Pour half of the egg mixture into the pie crust. Add the bacon mixture and the carrots. Pour in the remaining egg mixture.
6. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake quiche until custard is set and crust is golden brown, about 30-45 minutes.
Want more age-defying recipes?
Each recipe provides an at-a-glance guide detailing key ingredients and how they increase health and longevity.
FoodTrients.com – originated by author Grace O, who has combined her passions for cooking and healthcare to create a resource for understanding the benefits of age-defying food. Grace is constantly researching and creating recipes that are built on the foundations of modern scientific research and ancient knowledge of medicinal herbs and natural ingredients from cultures all around the world. Read more about anti-aging, beauty, food, and health in FoodTrients’ Health and Wells News!
Delicious foods and rejuvenating nutrients combine to create The Age GRACEfully Cookbook and The Age Beautifully Cookbook, a collection of enticing and nourishing recipes that promote health and well-being for a joyful and sustainable life. FoodTrients are essential ingredients found in specific foods, herbs and spices, that help promote longevity, prevent the diseases of aging, and increase energy and vitality.
Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.
Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.
Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.
Improves mood, memory, and focus.
Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.