By TIGNUM Performance Nutritionists
Some people wake up energized the second they open their eyes. They jump out of bed, ready to embrace the morning with a performance breakfast, movement, and a mindset prepared for anything. Others may need a bit more time, a few minutes or even a few hours, to adjust from their peaceful slumber and complete their morning routine.
The dichotomy between the start and end of the day for these two groups of people, the early birds and the night owls, is a conversation that seems to come up time and time again. Most of the time, the conversation is brought up under the assumption that all high performers are early birds. The truth is it doesn't matter if you're an early bird or a night owl; high performers fall into both categories (and every category in between).
At TIGNUM, we're asked by both the early birds and night owls, "How can I optimize my performance first thing in the morning?" While there is no secret formula that gives you immediate clarity, focus, and energy, the nutrition choices you make when you wake up are a major part of starting your day off right. Research from the Salk Institute has found that consistent eating patterns in the morning support your daily circadian rhythm, which in turn influence energy levels, cognitive function, and overall performance throughout the day. This applies whether you eat throughout the day or if you're an intermittent feeder.
One way to develop your consistent morning nutrition is by preparing simple, high-performance breakfasts you can make in advance that are easy to grab as you head out the door. You can find some of our favorite recipes that you can add to your morning routine below.
As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts.
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.01 Savory Grain-Free Waffle Sandwich
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup whole milk, shredded mozzarella cheese
- dash of sea salt
- coconut oil for greasing your waffle maker
- Heat the waffle maker & add a small amount of coconut oil
- Set aside 1 tsp of cheese
- Whisk egg, remainder of the cheese, and salt together
- Sprinkle 1 tsp of cheese you set aside earlier on the base of the waffle maker, immediately pour in the egg mixture afterward, and cook for 3-4 minutes
- Let them sit for 1-2 minutes after cooking, load up with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!
Savory toppings include foods like deli meat, avocado, tomato, and zesty mustard.
These mini waffles freeze well and toast easily, making them a simple option for breakfast on the go. If you want a more bread-like texture, add a tbsp of almond flour to the mixture. The waffles are great for breakfast sandwiches or on their own.
.02 Morning in a Jar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened yogurt
- handful of fresh berries
- 1/4 cup granola or muesli
- optional toppings: chia seeds, hemp hearts, raw honey, cacao nibs, and spices
- Spoon about half of the yogurt into the bottom of a mason jar
- Layer the fruit and granola on top of the yogurt
- Repeat layering until the jar is almost full (to give room for optional toppings)
- Add your optional toppings
.03 Digestive-Soothing Smoothie
- 1 cup unsweetened yogurt
- 1 1/2 cup papaya, pineapple, or mango (fresh or frozen)
- 1 lime (for fresh lime juice to taste)
- 1 sprig mint leaves
- 2 slices ginger root
- 1 tsp raw honey
- 7 g raw honey
- 1 cup water
- 250 ml water
- optional ingredients: flaxseeds, scoop of protein powder, or handful of greens
- Combine ingredients and blend until smooth
Tip for preparing in advance: put the ingredients in a plastic bag or blender cup the night before for quick access in the morning. You can also pre-package the ingredients in plastic bags and store in the freezer, so you can grab, blend, and go in the morning.
.04 Egg & Veggie Frittata Cups
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups favorite veggies, such as red pepper, broccoli florets, cauliflower heads, and diced sweet potato
- 1 cup white onion, chopped
- 2 cups spinach, chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
- 8 whole eggs
- salt & pepper to taste
- optional ingredients: salsa, sriracha, or other spicy condiment
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Grease a standard, nonstick muffin tin with olive oil & set aside (this recipe makes 12)
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil, veggies, and onions
- Sauté 5-7 minutes or until veggies are tender
- Add spinach and mushrooms, sauté for an additional 2 minutes
- Season with salt & pepper then remove from heat
- Whisk eggs in a large bowl and add veggies to the mixture
- Pour the egg and veggie mixture evenly into the prepared muffin tin
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch and the eggs are fully cooked
- Cool slightly before serving
Store extras in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also freeze them in an airtight container to last longer. To reheat from frozen – let them thaw and reheat in a skillet.
.05 Get Up and Go Porridge Soup (via slow cooker or pressure cooker)
- 1 cup of your favorite whole grain, such as quinoa, steel-cut oats, barley, rice, faro, or kasha
- 3 cups milk of your choice: dairy, almond, oat or alternative nut milk
- 4 dates or figs, chopped
- handful of dried fruits (cherries, cranberries, or raisins)
- 1/4 cup nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, or pepitas), chopped
- 1 apple, peeled & diced
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- Add all the ingredients in a slow cooker or pressure cooker and mix together well
- For slow cooker: cook on high for 2 hours or until all the liquid is absorbed
- For pressure cooker: follow the same cooking time you would normally follow for your grain of choice
.06 Savory Morning Chicken Soup - Prep Ahead in Your Slow Cooker
- 1 whole chicken
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 90 g celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
- 90 g carrots, chopped
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 1/2 quarts of water, bone broth, or chicken stock
- 2 1/2 liters of water, bone broth, or chicken stock
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro or Italian parsley, chopped
- 10 g fresh cilantro or Italian parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp scallions, chopped
- 10 g scallions, chopped
- 1/2 an avocado, chopped
- Put the chicken, celery, carrots, and onion in the slow cooker
- Pour the water or broth into the slow cooker
- cook on low for 10 hours or until the meat falls off the bones.
- remove cooked chicken from the pot and separate the meat from the bones with a fork (save the bones to make bone broth another day!)
- add the meat from the chicken back into the slow cooker and stir
- add salt & pepper to taste
- add toppings just before serving
- Make ahead of time, reheat, and put your soup in a thermos for a quick morning meal on-the-go. You can also time the slow cooker so that the soup is ready when you wake up in the morning.