A breakfast ramble.
Today I’m going to talk about breakfast - partly because it’s an area where I feel like I have an excess of knowledge but mainly because it’s my favourite part of the day, so why not.
Being a cyclist means that I usually have quite a lot of time pre training to spare, so I love a really drawn out breakfast process. If breakfast tastes good and fuels me for my training session then I am a happy girl. And yes, the aesthetics are also very important!
First things first I’m going to put it out there that I don’t do savoury breakfasts. Controversial I know. Quite frankly it just feels wrong… My sweet tooth is not going to fuel itself. Save the eggs for lunch time I say.
So what is my ‘go to’ in the breakfast department? It d e p e n d s. For the sake of simplicity, I will talk about my top 2 breakfasts; pancakes and porridge.
When fuelling ahead of a big training day, for example an endurance ride, with or without intervals or even if it’s pre race day and I want to ensure my glycogen stores are fully topped up, so my priority is carbs. Carbs carbs carbs. This is to do with fact that glycogen stores in the muscles are the primary source of energy during an intense training session. My favourite way of getting them in is in a trusty bowl of porridge. Porridge is boring you say? Think again. I’m going to let you into a life changing porridge hack – the grater. Try grating a pear or apple into your oats with a little cinnamon and it will revolutionise your porridge game. If you’re feeling more adventurous try vegetables… specifically carrots and courgettes. If you grate carrot into your porridge and add cinnamon, ginger and scatter walnuts over the top you will feel like you are eating indulging in carrot cake for breakfast – and everyone loves cake right? Truly life changing.
My favourite thing about grating vegetables into my porridge is the volume. I personally love the feeling of eating; sounds bizarre but starting my day with a huge bowl of porridge… but Emily, surely you just end up consuming an excessive amount of porridge? Enter: the humble courgette. Courgettes are a very empty food when it comes to calories/ energy. So by grating half a courgette into your porridge you will double the volume of your porridge for hardly any extra calories. And don’t worry… you will not taste the courgette! Just add the grated courgette at the beginning with the oats and cook on the hob as normal. Thank me later.
I also love that by grating fruit/ veg into your porridge you’re adding in some micronutrients into your meal. I always cook my porridge with a teaspoon of chia seeds too (good for getting the omega 3 in) and top with some nuts/ bee pollen/ honey and anything else tasty and nutritious.
Ok, so now let’s talk about those days where I want a slightly lighter breakfast. My go to is the protein pancake. I aim for fluffy textured small sized discs, that I can stack. I don’t have a recipe and I eyeball my measurements but the key ingredients are; protein powder, 1 egg, self-raising flour, baking soda, and plant-based/ dairy milk… then I mix it up sometimes by adding coconut flour/ cacao powder etc. As for the toppings it’s all about the chia berry compote in my opinion. It’s so easy to make and also completely healthy. Just add frozen berries to a pan with chia seeds and heat until a jam consistency. You could add honey at this point for sweetness but I prefer to drizzle mine on top. I then normally opt for some Greek yoghurt and nuts.
The reason I love this breakfast so much is because it tastes like such a treat while being a really balanced, healthy breakfast. It is good pre gym fuel because it’s high in protein but also contains carbohydrates. It’s also good pre turbo session because it contains roughly 70g of easily digestible carbohydrates, compared to a bowl of porridge which is high in fibre. This was my pre race fuel during the Cyclocross season for these reasons.
It’s also great for a rest day. In the past I used to believe that on a rest day I didn’t deserve big breakfasts/ snacks etc. because I hadn’t “earned” it. But I’ve learned that for me, I need to fuel well on a rest day. If I’m going to be fully recovered and ready to start my next block of training the following day – I need to fuel that fire!
As you can tell I love breakfast. In fact I love it so much that about a year ago I started an Instagram page called @emilyyyeats, so if you’re interested in more breakfast recipes head over there.
Thanks for reading & I hope you enjoyed my breakfast ramble.