12 Quick and Nutritious Breakfast Ideas for Your Run

Bowl of corn flakes with banana slices
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A frequent question from runners is, "What's the best breakfast to eat before a long run?" What you eat the morning of your long runs doesn’t have to be that different from your breakfast on regular mornings. In both situations, you want to start the day out right with a well-balanced, nutritious meal.

Whether you're running or headed off to work or school, the key to building a healthy breakfast is balance. Try to incorporate at least three different food groups into your meal. You should also try to incorporate some protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber to provide energy and help you stave off hunger.

How to Fuel Your Morning Runs

Stumped for ideas on what to eat? Here are some suggestions for quick and nutritious breakfasts to help fuel your runs.

Studies have shown that people who regularly eat breakfast actually weigh less.

Oatmeal with Yogurt: Prepare one packet instant oatmeal and top with 1 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt and 2 tablespoon raisins. Pair with 8 ounces calcium-fortified, extra pulp orange juice.

Apple and Cheese: Pair a medium-sized apple and 1 to 2 ounces of cheddar cheese cubes and 1/4 cup walnuts or almonds.

Energy Bar and Banana: Look for cereal/energy bars that have at least 3 to 5 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein. Odwalla, Kashi GoLean, KIND, and TruSoy are all good options. Grab a banana, too, for a quick but healthy on-the-go breakfast.

Smoothie: With just a couple of ingredients such as frozen berries, yogurt, and juice, you can whip up a nutritious and delicious smoothie in a few minutes. Try one of these healthy smoothie recipes.

Just be careful to watch the calorie count of your smoothies. Good, low-calorie choices can keep your breakfast healthy, but going overboard on high-fat or high-calorie ingredients can make your smoothie a less than ideal morning choice.

Peanut Butter on Bread: Top two slices hearty grain bread with 1 tablespoon peanut butter. Have one cup of fat-free yogurt and 8 ounces of orange juice to balance it out.

Cereal with Milk: For a quick breakfast, have 2 cups fortified cereal with 1 cup 1-percent milk or fortified soy milk, along with 1/2 whole-grain bagel spread with 1 tablespoon peanut butter and 8 ounces orange juice.

Greek Yogurt Parfait: If you need a faster alternative to a smoothie, skip the blender and just mix fruit and Greek yogurt. Put 3/4 cup of low-fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese in a bowl or cup. Top with 1 cup of pineapple chunks, blueberries, or papaya and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon toasted wheat germ.

Waffle Topped With Fruit and Yogurt: Top a whole-grain waffle (the frozen kind is fine) topped with ½ low-fat yogurt and 1 cup strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries.

English Muffin With Fruit: Top a whole-wheat English muffin or toast with 1 tablespoon fat-free cream cheese and strawberry slices.

Peanut Butter/Banana Sandwich: Spread peanut butter on a piece of whole-wheat bread and place sliced bananas on top. Place another piece of whole-wheat bread on top and enjoy.

Cottage Cheese in Fruit Bowl: Cottage cheese can be a good breakfast choice since it is high in protein. Scoop 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese into a cantaloupe or honeydew half.

Quick Breakfast Burrito: Whip up a breakfast burrito by stuffing a whole-wheat tortilla with scrambled eggs (one whole egg or two egg whites), a handful of chopped red pepper, and one tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese.

Eggs can be a great source of protein that will help you stay feeling fuller for longer.

A Word From Verywell

The most important rule is to make sure you don't skip breakfast. Not only will a healthy breakfast fuel your runs, but it can actually help you lose weight

By Christine Luff, ACE-CPT
Christine Many Luff is a personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and Road Runners Club of America Certified Coach.