Whether breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day is debatable, but we can all agree it’s your first opportunity to fuel your body with something nutritious. So why waste it?
Dietitians typically advise that you get a 1/4–1/3 of your daily calories at breakfast, which means you should eat more than a spoonful of peanut butter before heading out the door. If you’re an athlete or especially active, you’ll probably require more calories than someone who’s not. But either way, a satisfying breakfast can not only hold you over until lunch, but it’ll also help you make better choices throughout the day.
For some breakfast inspiration, we asked five fitness professionals across a range of disciplines what they eat to start their mornings. Because, even though exercise is their livelihood, they’ll be the first to tell you that getting and staying fit begins in the kitchen.
“It’s important to eat tons of carbohydrates and calories in general for my morning meal. Since I am moving around all day as a trainer, it’s important that my breakfast equip me with enough energy to hold me over until a snack around lunchtime. I’ll eat eggs with ham or chicken sausage, greens and some baked potatoes. Also a smoothie with almond or coconut milk, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, kale, spinach, broccoli sprouts, cinnamon, a scoop of rolled oats and two scoops of whey protein and nootropics. A nootropic helps with ACH pathways in the brain to enhance cognition, and the berries and greens are there for their antioxidant properties.”
— Cristian Plascencia, senior durability coach at Onnit Academy
“I love having overnight oats in the morning. I play with the recipes, but like to make it pretty calorically dense to make sure I start my day with plenty of energy — I’m all about carbs in the morning! It’s also really convenient, because I have a toddler and can focus on him in the mornings. If I’m craving something savory and have extra time, I’ll go for a breakfast sandwich with avocado and whatever egg scramble I can create with the veggies in my fridge. Also, I always have water first thing in the morning followed by coffee with coconut milk.”
— Liz Terry, certified personal trainer and instructor at Lync Cycling
“I start my morning with a berry-spinach breakfast smoothie with almond milk, spinach, banana, avocado, frozen blueberries, ground flaxseeds and plant-based protein powder. It’s loaded with healthy fats, antioxidants and protein to keep me filled and fueled for the day ahead. Blueberries are an antioxidant-rich powerhouse that add sweetness and flavor. Spinach is a great source of magnesium, an important calming mineral known for preventing anxiety, moodiness and irritability. Spinach is also a source of B vitamins, which help regulate mood. Avocados are loaded with heart-healthy fats, and they add a rich, creamy texture to the smoothie, while ground flaxseeds add a brain-boosting dose of omega-3 fatty acids. I top it off with 20 grams of plant-based protein powder for energy.”
— Liz Arch, yoga instructor and founder of Primal Yoga
“I like to get the morning off to a bang with a workout, so a smoothie with some protein powder, berries, greens like kale, ground flaxseeds and almond milk usually does the trick. Other times, I prefer a veggie omelet to provide morning fuel.”
— Michael Piercy, certified strength and conditioning specialist and owner and founder of the Lab
“I eat some version of oatmeal 5–6 days per week. Usually rolled oats with milk, plus blueberries for antioxidants and almonds for healthy fat and protein. If I’m extra hungry, or will be running myself instead of just coaching, I sometimes throw a banana in there, too.”
— Chris Coggins, high school track coach and private running coach