What you eat in the morning powers you through the day. Here are some options to keep your energy levels soaring

We had to be up at 6 a.m. In miserably cold Ooty. To run. And that wasn't even the worst of it. Before we even began our pre-jog stretches, my boarding school insisted we eat a handful of raw, sprouted channa. Most of us chucked it into the bushes, angelically pretending to chew all the while. Now I realise what a brilliant pre-workout meal it was. Easy to digest and packed with antioxidants, sprouted channa is a quick, nutritious form of energy.

What you eat in the morning powers you through the day. It seems like common sense, but you'd be surprised how many people skip their pre-workout meal, and/or breakfast in an attempt to save on calories or time. If you're saving on calories, do some research on how pointless that is. If it's time, we've got suggestions.

The most obvious is, of course, a fruit like the banana or handful of nuts. If you want something more elaborate, try Splendid's Natural Health mix. Recently launched by actor Gibran Osman, it's an ideal snack before a high-powered workout — whether you plan to be on the treadmill, pumping iron or road running.

Based on the traditional Gond ke laddu, a nutritious and shamelessly calorific concoction popular in North India, this recipe eliminates the ghee and sugar to create a mix of roasted almonds, pistachios and palm candy bulked out with wheat. For that luxurious laddu flavour, without the fat, it's laced through with gum Arabic, fenugreek and cardamom.

Gibran says the original recipe's been passed down for generations in his family. “It's something every household in India can relate to, because it's been in their houses, given to pregnant women, the elderly, patients… But since it takes a lot of work most people don't make it at home anymore.”

When Gibran started working out, he and his mom adjusted the recipe to the current more Spartan version, which turned out to be a handy addition to his diet. Since 2005, I've lost about 40 kilos,” he says, “This helped because when I used to rush out of the house for early-morning shoots I would have this and it would keep me going till lunch, when I could have a healthy meal of rice and vegetables.”

A word of warning: this isn't a magic potion for weight loss. It's about 225 calories for 50 gm, so use it just once a day in addition to healthy meals and regular workouts. What it does do is provide quick, portable power-packed dose of nutrients. I tried it with warm milk with a spoon of sugar, and it's delicate, familiar flavours are as comforting as a hug.

If you're more a muesli-and-muffins kind of gym bunny, try Esther Jasper's concoctions served at Score Gym's swank new in-house café in the Alwarpet premises. On the request of the gym's founder Ajit Shetty, Esther's been tailoring recipes for fitness buffs for the past few months.

“Baking was just a hobby at first. I learnt from watching my mother…” she says, adding that she started designing health menus for Gold Gym. “Mainly sandwiches, with filling such as paneer and mushroom.” She adds, “Then Ajit suggested I make granola for the Score. He wanted something different so I did some innovating. I like reading a lot of recipe books and I go on the net. When you look at a few things, it's easy to come up with new ideas. The advantage is there's less sugar and its home made, so no additives, no preservatives.

Try her muesli bar. It's chunky, chewy and generously packed with nuts and raisins. A nice change from chewing through commercial health bars that taste like sawdust.

(Splendid Health Mix is available at exclusive Nilgiris outlets, Amma Naana, Brown Tree and Mercado stores.

For details on Esther's granola mix call Score at on 43129777.)