There is tremendous quadrennial pleasure in watching the Summer Olympics, based largely upon the lifelong commitments and sacrifices of others. Athletes like the many-medaled, cheese-grater-abbed swimmer Michael Phelps, tiny dynamo gymnast Simone Biles, and powerhouse freestyle wrestler Adeline Gray have devoted their entire existence to perfecting their bodies, brains, and psyches all for the sake of a precise performance in a few crucial moments. All you have to do is slump down on the couch and eat breakfast while watching the Olympics. But you might as well do it like a champ, with a 2016 Olympics-themed breakfast specifically selected to stoke your patriotic pride, early in the morning—as in 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. when many of the live feeds from Rio will start.
Put some Olympic rings on it
And by “it,” we mean your Olympics-themed breakfast tray. Bagels, doughnuts, Froot Loops, Cheerios—the list goes on, but morning food seems to be uniquely disposed to being formed into rings. We’re especially big fans of Southern Living’s ring-shaped Coffee Cake Pound Cake recipe, ideal for carbing up for that marathon nap you’ll be taking after getting up early to watch the US kick butt in men’s badminton.
Learn a little coffee talk
Café da manhã is the Portuguese term for breakfast, and it translates literally as “morning coffee.” As you might expect, the hot beverage plays a pretty crucial role in Brazilian-style breakfast. Try a café pingado (coffee with a little bit of milk) or a café média (half coffee and half milk) and fuel up for rooting for Team USA as they give the world a paddling in the 1000- and 500-meter canoe sprints. Serve it with pão de queijo—an easy-to-make Brazilian cheese bread, best enjoyed with jelly and a smear of requeijão cream cheese.
Eat your Wheaties
That whole "breakfast of champions" trope came from the front of a cereal box—specifically Wheaties. (Kurt Vonnegut’s novel of the same name was published a few decades later.) You can read all about it elsewhere on Extra Crispy, but long story short, the cereal brand has a long history of showcasing star athletes on its boxes, and featured its first Olympic medalists, swimmer and diver Jane Fauntz and golfer Babe Didrikson, in 1935. Since then, Olympians including swimmer Greg Louganis, gymnast Mary Lou Retton, track star Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and others have graced the orange cardboard and inspired countless half-awake fantasies of gold-medal turns in sports like, say, coxless pair rowing, which will air in the early weekend hours.
Red, white, and blue—woo hoo!
She’s a grand old flag and a tasty one to boot. Breakfast-friendly red and blue fruits like strawberries and blueberries add a patriotic pop to cereal and milk, yogurt parfaits or cream-dolloped waffles. And hey, if you wanted to go all-in and make a flag cake for folks to enjoy while watching some early-morning freestyle wrestling, no one is likely to tussle with you.
Get in the Olympic spirit
In the case of the 2016 Rio Games, that’d be cachaça—a uniquely Brazilian liquor distilled from sugar cane. The most well-known deployment is muddled with lime and sugar in a caipirinha, but consider taking a cue from Miami’s Area 31 restaurant and breakfast-ifying the recipe with a couple of spoonfuls of orange marmalade. It’s the ideal drink for cheering on taekwondo fighters at dawn.