In order to have enough energy to fuel your run – whether that be an early morning run or interval training after work – you need to eat breakfast. After fasting overnight while you sleep, your body needs fuel to rev your metabolism and give you energy for any subsequent exercise.

Research shows that people (runners or not) who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain a normal weight and be healthier than those who skip breakfast. A balanced morning meal helps set the tone for the day and you’ll be more likely to fuel properly the rest of the day. Plus, skipping breakfast can make you hungrier and ups the chance that you’ll overeat later on, especially in active people who are running or exercising on a regular basis.

When to Eat Breakfast

If you’re not hungry first thing when you wake up, that’s ok. Breakfast doesn’t have to be immediately upon getting up, just try to have something within an hour or two of waking. Aim for a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and some healthy fat. Here are six ideas for healthy, balanced breakfasts that will fuel your runs and keep you energized.

Best Breakfast Foods For Runners

Greek Yogurt Parfait

Pair a six ounce Greek yogurt with a cup of fruit, a tablespoon of chia seeds, and a few tablespoons of nuts or nut butter. Look for a yogurt with no more than 15 grams of sugar and at least 12 grams of protein per serving. The yogurt provides plenty of protein, while you get complex carbohydrates and fiber from the fruit and healthy fats from the nuts and seeds. My favorite combo: plain 2% Greek yogurt with chunks of pineapple, walnuts, chia seeds and a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut flakes.

High Protein Oatmeal

Oats are packed with soluble fiber which slows down digestion and will help keep your blood sugar stable and keep you full for longer. Plain oatmeal can be boring and tasteless, so mix it up with some nutritious and tasty toppings. To add protein make your oatmeal with eggs. Simply beat two eggs and ⅔ cup of milk in a microwave safe bowl, then add a half-cup of old fashioned rolled oats. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, or until egg is set. Top it with a cup of fresh or frozen fruit and a handful of nuts.

Nutrient-Packed Smoothie

Smoothies can be made the night before as well – toss in the dry ingredients such as spinach, 1/4 avocado, 1/2 apple, 1/2 banana, 3 tablespoons nuts and a tablespoon of chia seed, then in the morning just add 1.5 cups of liquid, blend and go.

Eggs and Toast

You can’t go wrong with this simple breakfast. Cook two eggs any way you like in a little butter or olive oil. Place them atop two slices of whole grain bread and finish it off with a handful of spinach and a few slices of tomato. This breakfast provides protein, complex carbs and fiber and healthy fats, along with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. For a make-ahead breakfast, hard boil a dozen eggs at the start of the week and pair them with with sliced bread and fresh fruit each morning.

Fruit, Nuts and Cheese

Rushing in the morning? This simple make-ahead meal can be prepped the night before and grabbed quickly on your way out the door. Fill a plastic bag or tupperware container with a cup of fresh fruit (try sliced apple or pear, orange wedges, fresh berries or pineapple chunks), ¼ cup of nuts and two cheese sticks, wedges or rounds. You get a balance of protein, carb, fiber and healthy fat – all in a convenient and easy to eat meal on-the-go.

Make-ahead Egg Muffins

If you haven’t made muffin tin eggs, you’re missing out. These little guys are one of my favorite make-ahead breakfast meals. Simply fill muffin tin cups with some lightly sauteed veggies, beaten eggs, and a sprinkle of cheese. Bake them, then stick them in the fridge. Pop two or three in the microwave come morning, and you’ve got a quick and healthy meal. Try these Easy Veggie Egg Muffins from Nutritioulicious.com. Feel free to substitute in your favorite veggies or different cheeses.

Do you have a go to pre-run breakfast? Let us know in the comment section!

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