My go to pre-race breakfast for years and years was a sesame bagel with honey. It may not have had the perfect ratio of carbs to protein, but it worked and it was part of my pre-race ritual. When I decided to start eating gluten free (to help my allergies), breaking up with my sesame bagel was one of the hardest parts of sticking to the diet. My corner deli bagel had traveled around the world with me and gotten me through countless triathlons and road races, and now it had to be replaced. Sad.
After moping around for awhile, I started to experiment with different options and came up with these three substitutions. I kind of hate to admit it, but they work just as well:
Rice cakes with nut butter, honey and sliced banana – The key here is not the rice cake, but what it is topped with. Stinginess with the nut butter will lead to a bonk. I eat 2 of these, at a minimum, before most workouts and races. It’s also a good idea to splurge on a goutmet nut butter (like Nuttzo), it helps ease the transition from bagel to rice cake.
Oatmeal topped with nuts and dried fruit – check out our Oats of the Week recipes for tons of variations or pick up some purely elizabeth ancient grains oatmeal, which comes with all-natural toppings already mixed in.
Gluten Free Bagel or toast – Udi’s makes good gluten-free bagels and they are widely available. I haven’t settled on a favorite brand of bread for toast – any suggestions?
As with any pre-race meal, it’s best to do some testing before the big day to figure out what works. Nothing new on race day! Oh, and the other essential parts of my pre-race meal are a cup of coffee with milk and a 16 oz. bottle of EFS sports drink.
I'd love to hear about any other ideas, so if you have any good ones, please tell us with in the comment section below.