What Should You Eat for Breakfast Before Giving Blood?

Giving blood is a noble, admirable act that can save lives. To be eligible for giving blood, you must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Eating a moderately sized, healthy breakfast is also a good idea before giving blood, because eating breakfast can help reduce potential side effects and ensure that your blood is of high enough quality to donate to another person.

A person prepares raisin bran cereal with juice.
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Low-Fat Foods

Have a well-balanced, low-fat meal. A high-fat meal can interfere with the blood testing process, because too much fat in the blood makes it impossible to adequately test the blood for infectious diseases, according to the American Heart Association. A cup of cold cereal with a 1/2-cup serving of low-fat milk or a bowl of hot cereal, such as oatmeal, are two breakfast options. Having a piece of fruit, a 1/2-cup serving of 1 percent cottage cheese (or low-fat yogurt) or a slice of whole-wheat bread with jam or honey are additional, low-fat breakfast options, suggests the San Diego Blood Bank.

Iron-Rich Foods

Eating foods that are rich in iron is a good idea at any time, but it's especially important before giving blood. Eating ion-fortified cold and hot cereals are one breakfast option. Scatter a tablespoon or so of raisins over the top for an additional boost of iron. Strawberries, watermelon and dried apricots are also nutritious sources of iron to include in your morning meal before donating blood. Eating enriched bread and instant breakfast drinks are other good ways to get iron in your breakfast before donating.

Vitamin-C Rich Foods

Add vitamin C to your breakfast because it helps your body absorb iron, according to the Give Blood website. Drinking 8-ounces of orange juice is a simple way to get a good boost of vitamin C. Other citrus juices, such as grapefruit, as well as whole citrus fruits, are also nutritious sources of vitamin C. Kiwis, berries, melon and pineapple supply vitamin C and you can easily incorporate these into your breakfast. An 8-ounce serving of tomato juice is another healthy source.

Plenty of Fluids

Staying hydrated is important for the several hours before you donate blood. The American Red Cross recommends that you drink at least 16 ounces of nonalcoholic fluid before you donate, so plan on adding water or 100 percent fruit juice to your morning meal. Skip tea, however, because it can interfere with the absorption of iron, according to the Give Blood website. You'll also need to drink plenty of water after you give blood, so plan on bringing a water bottle to the donation site. Staff will provide you with fluids and snacks during and after the donation.

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