Breakfast of Champions: What Should Kids Eat Before a Big Game?

A healthy breakfast is perfect before a big game.
A healthy breakfast is perfect before a big game.

When your kids are involved in team sports or other competitive, extracurricular activities, weekend mornings are typically filled with a little chaos to prep for a big game or event. Families often scramble to find uniforms, fill water bottles, and pack up gear and snacks.

So where does breakfast fit into the scene?

Studies have shown the importance of kids -- and adults -- starting their day with a healthy meal. Morning eats becomes even more critical as kids prepare to use their energy during a big game or event that requires physical activity.

Eating breakfast doesn't have to be an elaborate affair. In fact, depending on how much time your kids have before a game, breakfast should be simple and light.

"One thing to consider is the timing of the meal," Julie Matel, a clinical dietician at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, tells Team Mom on Shine. "If there's too much in the stomach during an event, it can sort of weigh you down and make you feel sick."

If you're going to serve your child a large meal, say fancy pancakes or other hearty, decadent dishes, Matel advises having at least four hours between breakfast time and their sporting event. And if it's a regular-sized meal?

"We're talking two hours."

Most kids have a short window of time in the morning -- usually less than two hours -- to prepare for an event...especially when you're looking at a game that starts at 8 a.m.

"Foods that stay in the stomach longer may not be the best choices," says Patel. "Heavy protein and heavy fat is not the best way to go. You want to avoid the heavy foods like pancakes, which have a lot of fat, and greasy meats," warns Matel.

What should you include in your breakfast of champions?

Patel recommends a meal that includes carbohydrates, something low in fat and a little bit of protein. Quick and healthy breakfast ideas include:

-Whole grain cereal with low-fat milk, orange juice and a banana
-A scrambled egg with whole grain toast and fruit juice
-Yogurt, fruit and whole grain toast
-A peanut butter and banana sandwich (go light on the peanut butter!)
-Whole grain toast or bagel, milk and fruit
-Whole wheat bagel with a light covering of low-fat cream cheese served with fruit juice or milk.
-A fruit smoothie with whole grain toast (covered with light peanut butter).

What do you serve for breakfast before a big game or event?