The High-Performance Eggs Benedict

The U.S. soccer team's breakfast of choice.

May 26, 2014
Outside Magazine

Dig in—this is a plate full of complex carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats.    Photo: Marcus Nilsson

This June, half a million futebol fans and 32 national teams will descend on Brazil for the FIFA World Cup. Among that crowd will be Danielle Lafata, the performance dietitian for the U.S. men’s national team. For the past two and a half years, Lafata, who has a master’s degree in nutrition and food science from Michigan’s Wayne State University, has been preparing meals for the 23-member team, carting a cooler full of recovery shakes to training camps and traveling to every international game.

When the Americans head to São Paulo, they’ll be feasting on homegrown staples from a menu painstakingly crafted by Lafata for peak performance: chicken fingers with sweet potatoes, flank steak with roasted vegetables, and buffalo burgers, among other entrées. One of the more popular pregame rituals is a classic breakfast with a simple nutritional upgrade: eggs Benedict with quinoa. “Instead of carbo-loading,” Lafata says, “what our athletes really need is a balance of complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and good fat.” Her quinoa-laden version of eggs Benedict checks all those boxes—with half the fat of the hollandaise-drenched original. Most important, it adds variety to the usually oatmeal-heavy morning fare. “The players love how it changes up the monotony of breakfast,” says Lafata.

Eggs and Quinoa Benedict


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup chopped and roasted asparagus
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and cubed
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 dash hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Bring the quinoa and the stock to a boil in a large pot. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until water is absorbed. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the asparagus and the tomatoes. Set aside.
  2. Crack three of the eggs and separate the whites into a bowl and the yolks into the top of a double boiler.
  3. For the hollandaise sauce, add the yogurt, mustard, and hot sauce and a pinch of salt and pepper to the double boiler. Whisk to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir until thickened, about two minutes.
  4. Crack the remaining three eggs into the bowl with the whites. Heat a sauté pan to medium-high, add eggs, and scramble until set.
  5. Transfer eggs to the bowl with the quinoa. Add the cumin, salt, and pepper, and stir.
  6. Add one cup hollandaise sauce to the mix and stir until combined.
  7. Top each serving with a dollop of hollandaise.
Serves 4-5.

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