Best Grab-and-Go Breakfasts For Busy Athletes

Lori Nedescu
by Lori Nedescu
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Best Grab-and-Go Breakfasts For Busy Athletes

Eating breakfast is a vital part of a healthy day, especially if you’re physically active and striving to meet performance goals. While the data on whether or not eating breakfast is beneficial for weight loss is mixed, there are many other science-backed reasons to consume a nutritious morning meal; better insulin control, higher mental focus, less likely to be obese, higher energy levels and better control of hunger hormones.

Those who eat breakfast have been shown to consume a higher overall quality diet (more nutrients) than those who skip the meal. Skipping breakfast starves muscles of protein needed for recovery and strength gains. It also deprives the body of energy needed to perform throughout the day and into your workout sessions, making you more likely to perform poorly and potentially overeat later.

WHAT KIND OF BREAKFAST MATTERS

Of course, consuming breakfast is only part of the picture, what you choose to eat matters for overall health, energy and weight status. Ideally, the morning meal should be the largest, most nutritious meal of the day. As the saying goes: Eat like a king at breakfast, a prince at lunch and a pauper at supper.

Breakfast is a way to jump start your health, wellness and energy levels to prepare you for the taxing day ahead, however, this meal can be hard to fit in. Mornings tend to be a time of hectic chaos, when you’re scrambling to get out the door and to the office (and maybe also get a workout in or take the kids to school, etc.). This creates a bit of a conundrum — you need breakfast but you have no time for said breakfast.

Instead of skipping breakfast completely and starving until lunch (therefore also sacrificing those aforementioned healthy breakfast benefits) or grabbing whatever is fast and easy regardless of how un-nutritious it probably is, have some grab-and-go breakfast options at the ready. After all, while a balanced meal is ideal, having a nutritious bite is better than nothing.

Here are several to get you started on fueling an active day:

HOMEMADE, PREPPED-IN-ADVANCE OPTIONS

  • Breakfast Sandwiches: These are simple and make for a balanced, nutritious morning meal. Use whole-grain English muffins, pasture-raised eggs, organic cheddar and roasted red peppers. Make several at once, and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and freeze or refrigerate. When you’re ready, take one out, pop it in the microwave and enjoy.
  • Breakfast Wraps: Same concept as the sandwiches, but wrap the fillings (try black beans, eggs, potatoes and salsa) in a whole-grain tortilla and freeze.
  • Overnight Oats: This can easily be made in a large batch for a healthy whole-grain meal to grab each morning. Just mix chia seeds, old-fashioned oats and your choice of milk together in a Mason jar or portable container. To customize, add different spices, fruit and nuts to each jar then fill with the oat mixture. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
  • Smoothie Packs: Simply chop your smoothie ingredients, add produce, along with nuts, protein, etc., to individual freezer-safe bags. When you need a fast meal, grab one, toss the ingredients into a blender with liquid and sip on your way out the door.
  • Avocado Toast: It’s difficult to make toast in advance, but luckily it can be prepared in less than 5 minutes. Just toast some whole-grain bread, smash one avocado, squeeze a little lemon and top with an egg.
  • Scrambles: Mix egg and tofu with peppers and potatoes in a big batch, then divvy into smaller containers to reheat later.
  • Breakfast Bite Platters: Toss handfuls of ingredients together in containers to create breakfast samplers. Try carrots, avocado, hummus, hard-boiled eggs, apple slices, almond butter and chunks of bagel.

PACKAGED, READY-TO-GO OPTIONS

  • Daily Harvest Smoothies & Chia Bowls are a super simple way to have a nutritious meal in minutes.
  • Brekki Overnight Oats have a range of ready-to-open and eat overnight oat flavors like coconut cardamom and blueberries.
  • Breakfast Burritos: EVOL and Amy’s both have good-quality ingredients and are ready with a quick pop in the microwave.
  • KIND Breakfast Bars are packed with whole grains and can be left in your office or bag for a bite on the run.
  • Single-serving cups of Greek yogurt can be taken out of the fridge in a rush. Just pair it with a piece of fruit and handful of nuts to create a quick meal.
  • Bulletproof Coffee Cold Brew, which contains more calories from fat for satiety and mental focus, is a better option than leaving the house with just a cup of black coffee.

About the Author

Lori Nedescu
Lori Nedescu

Lori, MS RD CSSD is an accomplished sports dietitian; she holds a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition and Certification as a Specialist in Sports Nutrition. As a current professional road cyclist and previous elite marathoner and ultra-runner, Lori knows firsthand that food can enhance or diminish performance gains. She understands the importance of balancing a quality whole food based diet with science-backed performance nutrition and strives to share this message with others. Learn more about her @CadenceKitchen.

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