Breakfasts of Champions

Featured Article, Healthy Meal Ideas, Healthy Recipes and Nutrition, Nutrition
on February 28, 2013
What Kara Goucher, Claude Grioux, Jordyn Wieber, Dustin Johnson and Venus Williams eat for breakfast.

If breakfast is the most important meal For mere mortals like us, imagine how crucial it is for athletes who count on a good morning meal to see them through grueling practices and competitions. But how do their typical breakfast menus score when it comes to nutrition? We asked sports dietitian Cassie Dimmick of to assess the a.m. eats of these pros, and whether or not we should follow their lead.

Olympian Kara Goucher's typical breakfast.

Kara Goucher, 2012 Olympic marathon runner
Breakfast menu: Whole wheat English muffin, Swiss cheese, strawberries, coffee
Sound bite: “I have been eating this breakfast before I train, for years. I like that it fills me up without making me feel heavy.”
Pass or play? Play. “Kara does a great job getting in whole grains and fresh fruit,” Dimmick says. Only caveat: Higher-mileage runs may  require more carbs for fuel.

Hockey player, Claude Giroux's, breakfast pics.

Claude Giroux, captain, Philadelphia Fliers
Breakfast menu: Eggs, turkey bacon, toast, orange juice
Sound bite: “I like this meal because it not only tastes good, but it gives me the energy I need to start my day off right.”
Pass or play? Pass. Processed meats like bacon (even turkey bacon) may up cancer risk and should only make your starting lineup one to two times a week, Dimmick says. And swap the juice for an orange for more fiber and nutrients.

Olympian, Jordyn Wieber's, top breakfast pics.

Jordyn Wieber, 2012 Olympic gymnast
Breakfast menu: A bowl of cereal, skim milk, coffee
Sound bite: “I like this meal because it fuels me for training. Plus, a healthy meal in the morning helps me make better choices throughout the day!”
Pass or play? Pass. 100 percent whole grain cereal with skim milk is a good choice, but fresh fruit and healthy fats are missing from this gold medalist’s routine.


What pro golfer, Dustin Johnson, eats for breakfast.

Dustin Johnson, top PGA Tour golfer
Breakfast menu: Egg white omelet with veggies and ham, whole wheat toast with peanut butter and jelly, orange juice, fruit
Sound bite: “I add oatmeal on game days for extra energy.”
Pass or play? Play. Dustin makes the cut for including veggies, protein, whole grains, good fats and fruit—just limit the ham to once or twice a week.

A recipe for Venus William's signature smoothie.

Venus Williams, tennis champion 
Venus jumpstarts her day with this superjuice, created by nutritionist Lauren Von Der Pool, author of Eat Yourself Sexy. Venus has Sjögren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that creates dry mouth and eyes, joint pain and fatigue. “The original recipe included an apple, but I took it out since sugar exacerbates her condition,” Von Der Pool says.