I get asked what I eat for breakfast all the time. I’m not sure why. I think there may be an assumption that I have, at some point along the line, come up with the perfect formula for a delicious, healthy, easy, filling breakfast that I eat every day.
While I’m quite honored that a number of folks believe I have achieved such a feat, I’ll give you 3 reasons why it isn’t true:
1. I don’t eat the same thing every day forever.
I mean, sometimes I do for stretches at a time, but I change things up to suit my needs. If I need a quick, no-bake breakfast, I’ve got a go-to meal. If I have the luxury of cooking, that looks different from my quick breakfast. If I need to pack a portable breakfast to take with me, that looks different still. You see where I’m going with this.
Although occasionally I will eat the same thing for a few weeks at a time, it depends heavily on my schedule.
2. Sometimes I change what I eat in the morning depending on what I want to eat later in the day.
This is obviously related to number 1. But what I mean is: if I know I’m going to be eating something that’s high-fat, or high-carb in the afternoon or evening, I’ll ease up on the fats and carbs in my other meals.
I’ll give you an example: Let’s say I know I’m going out for dinner later, and I’d rather order a burger than chicken breast, because obviously. I know that the burger is going to have quite a bit of fat between the (likely) 80/20 beef, and all of the glorious toppings I’ll want: cheese, bacon, maybe some avocado or a fried egg, etc. And I know I’ll have some carbs to count because I never have, and never will, order a lettuce bun. Giz me dat fluffy bread.
To minimize damage here, I’m going to alter my meals earlier in the day to be primarily lean protein and veggies. What does that look like? Some non-fat Greek yogurt or an egg white omelette in the morning, maybe some sliced chicken or turkey breast roll-ups with veggies for lunch, a scoop of whey protein and baby carrots as a snack if I get hungry between meals. There are lots of options, but the point is: I’m not starving myself throughout the day if I want to have a high-calorie meal at night, I’m just making some adjustments.
3. I don’t always eat breakfast.
*GASP* Yes, it’s true. Sometimes I eat air for breakfast. With a side of water. #eatclean, amirite? (I’m just kidding.)
There are a few reasons I’ll skip breakfast:
Sometimes I simply don’t have time. Rare, but it happens.
Sometimes I just prefer to get my day started sooner than later.
Sometimes I do fasted cardio. (More on this later.)
Sometimes I am practicing intermittent fasting. (Also more on this later.)
Why I won't tell you what to eat
The biggest reason I am not going to tell you “Here’s what I eat for breakfast and you should too” is because, simply, we’re different people. We might be a different gender, we’re probably a different age, have different metabolisms, different schedules, different training programs, different…tastes. Even if we eat the same ingredients, you’ll likely need a different amount than I do.
So as not to wholly disappoint you, here are I few things I think about when I decide what to eat:
- Am I training today? If so, when?
If I’m heading straight to do cardio, I might just have some black coffee.
If I’m training in an hour or less, I might have a small meal.
If I’m training in 2-3 hours, I might have a larger meal.
- How long will it be until my second meal?
I’ll have a larger meal if I know I won’t be eating for a while.
- Do I want to leave room in my food budget for something later? (e.g. eating out, see #2 above)
I’ll stick to protein and veggies if I want to have something high in fat and/or carbs later.
- How much time do I have to prepare this?
I’ll have Greek yogurt or whey protein instead of meat, eggs, or egg whites if I don’t have time to cook.
That being said, my favorite thing right now is:
I don’t know what portion sizes you’ll need, so I didn't bother putting mine in.
Obviously this won’t work if you’re sensitive to dairy, nuts, or just don’t like the ingredients.
Although what I’d really like to say is, “Use your head, dummy,” I have just easily written 800+ words about breakfast, and I understand there are many concerns surrounding what you eat. Hopefully this not only gives you an idea of why I don’t sell meal plans, but helps you see the guidelines I use in planning my meals so that you can do the same for yourself.
If you still have questions, send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. I reply to every email.