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Maximize Your Morning: High Protein Athlete Breakfast Ideas 

Maximize your morning with a high protein athlete breakfast! Protein is a powerful macronutrient for runners! Protein is made up of amino acids which your body uses to repair muscle, build muscle and make hormones.

A high protein breakfast will fill you up, keep you fuller longer, support your body’s recovery (especially after a morning workout) and can help regulate your blood sugar levels. 

Today we’re covering how much protein runners need, high protein foods, 10 high protein athlete breakfast ideas and tips for athlete meal prep so you can have some quick grab-and-go breakfast options!

How much protein do runners need? 

The International Society of Sport Nutrition generally recommends 1.4 to 2.0 g/kg/day (grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day) for athletes. So a 180 lb. (82kg) runner would want to aim for 115-164 g/day of protein. 

You want to spread your protein intake out throughout the day and include protein at all of your meals and snacks. A general recommendation is to aim for 25-40 g. of protein at meals and 10-20 g. of protein at snacks.

For someone who is aiming for 120 g/day of protein and is eating 3 meals/day and 1 snack/day, they would want to aim for 35 g. protein per meal and 15 g. protein per snack.

What foods are high in protein?

We can get protein from animal sources and plant sources. Eating a variety of protein foods is key and will help you get the variety of amino acids that your body needs! 

High protein foods: 

  • Chicken 
  • Turkey 
  • Beef 
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Shrimp
  • Tilapia 
  • Eggs 
  • Diary milk
  • Soy milk
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Edamame
  • Kidney beans
  • Chickpeas 
  • Lentils  

10 high protein athlete breakfast ideas:

  • Overnight oats with a scoop of protein powder, milk, chia seeds and berries 
  • Smoked salmon on a bagel with cream cheese and a side of mango
  • Egg bites with chicken sausage and roasted red peppers with a side of pineapple
  • Smoothie with Greek yogurt, oats, frozen fruit, spinach, milk
  • Yogurt parfait with Greek yogurt, granola, blackberries, banana slices, walnuts
  • Veggie tofu scrambled with toast and apple slices 
  • Kodiak high protein waffles with blueberries and a dollop of Greek yogurt on top
  • Egg wrap with sweet potatoes, black beans, salsa, avocado 
  • Vegan breakfast wrap with tempeh, sweet potatoes, black beans, salsa, avocado 
  • Cottage cheese bowl with blueberries and honey 

The Ultimate Guide to an Athlete Breakfast will provide more breakfast tips!

Athlete Meal Prep Ideas for Grab-And-Go Breakfast Options!

If you’re a busy athlete that is tight on time in the mornings and needs quick, grab-and-go breakfast options, prepping ahead of time can be a game changer!

Here are some ideas: 

  • Make a big batch of overnight oats in separate mason jars for the whole week
  • Make a large batch of egg bites 
  • Make your yogurt parfait the night before 
  • Put all of your smoothie ingredients in a bag so you can just dump them in the blender in the morning and add the milk
  • Wash and cut all of your fruit and veggies

For more meal prepping tips, see Meal Prep for Athletes: a 6-Step Guide 

Don’t have a lot of time to meal prep on the weekends? Check out Busy Athlete Meal Prep: the Pantry Staples You Need!

Summary

A high protein breakfast will fill you up, keep you fuller for longer, support your recovery and can help regulate your blood sugar levels.

Athletes need 1.4 to 2.0 g/kg/day for protein and should aim for 25-40 g. of protein at meals and 10-20 g. of protein at snacks. Eat a variety of animal and plant based proteins so you can get a variety of amino acids that your body needs to build muscle, repair muscle and make hormones.

If you’re a busy athlete who is tight on time in the morning and needs a quick grab-and-go breakfast, meal prepping ahead of time can be really helpful!

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Hi, I’m Emily!

I’m a Registered Dietitian, RRCA Run Coach & NASM Certified Personal Trainer. I am passionate about helping runners dial in their fueling, training and mindset so they can feel good, go the distance and smash their goals.