What Foods Should Athletes Avoid for Breakfast?

Serving a large glass of orange juice in the morning may be a routine for many, but it's not the best choice for athletes. Breakfast bars are convenient, but they often lack the essential nutrients needed to start the day off right. Canned soup may be practical, but it's not necessarily healthier than other highly processed snacks. Rice cakes have been a basic dietary snack for many years, but they don't provide enough calories to maintain an athlete's energy levels.

Microwave popcorn bags are lined with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is also used in teflon pots. Sports drinks are not necessary unless you are doing a long and intense workout. These electrolyte-enhanced beverages can contain up to 34 grams of sugar, so athletes should stick to water and other beverages to replenish their energy. Traditional sports drinks are not good for the body as they contain synthetic nutrients, colorants, and other highly processed ingredients.

Energy drinks can cause deficiencies and serious damage to organs and the cardiovascular system. Soda has no nutritional value and can damage bones, organs and optimal functioning. Alcohol damages the liver and doesn't provide any food that supports the body's healthy functions. White breads and foods are highly processed, unnatural and contain no real nutrients to support and replenish the body.

Eating sugary foods offers no nutritional value and can cause an athlete to “fall” during training. Fatty foods can slow digestion, so it's a good idea to avoid eating them for a few hours before exercising. Especially after exercise, these foods do even more harm because they don't meet the nutritional demands of an active body. As an expert in sports nutrition, I recommend that athletes be mindful of what they eat for breakfast.

Orange juice, breakfast bars, canned soup, rice cakes, microwave popcorn, sports drinks, energy drinks, soda, alcohol, white breads and sugary foods should all be avoided in order to maintain optimal performance and health.