It's no secret that what you eat can support or hinder your fitness progress. And when it comes to eating after exercise, breakfast is the most important meal. Research points out that doing your morning exercise, whether crushing a weightlifting session or going for a run, in a fasted state can help your body burn fat and accelerate weight loss. Afterward, your empty stomach craves a breakfast high in protein and carbohydrates to help your muscles recover and replenish glycogen stores. We here at Eat This, Not That! have your breakfast needs covered and found out some of the best healthy breakfasts to eat after exercising.
With the amount of conflicting information online, knowing what healthy breakfasts are best to consume after working out can be tricky. That's why we chatted with Gianna Masi, CPT, RDN, a certified personal trainer and registered dietitian with Barbend, who shares the 10 best healthy breakfasts to nourish your body and boost your fitness gains after exercising.
"Post-exercise meals and snacks are essential to your recovery," Masi states. "Not only do they help replenish your body from the work you just did, but they also help you prepare for the next time you're active. This helps improve recovery so you're more prepared for your next round of exercise. The best post-exercise breakfasts combine protein and carbohydrates to maximize muscle building and recovery. This duo of protein and carbs will help you stay fuller longer, thanks to the satiating qualities in protein and energy from the carbs."
If you're eager to learn more, read on to discover Masi's 10 best healthy breakfasts to eat after exercising. After you're done, don't miss these 5 Strength Workouts That Burn the Most Calories.
Egg Sandwich or Wrap
Combining the wholesome goodness of eggs with whole-grain bread creates a well-balanced and satisfying breakfast. The protein from eggs fuels muscle recovery, while the carbs from bread replenish energy stores, making this option a perfect choice for those who want a quick and nutritious post-workout breakfast.
Masi says, "A traditional breakfast favorite, eggs or egg whites on a roll or wrap with condiments of your choice. Combining high protein eggs or egg whites inside bread or a roll for a sandwich provides a complete post-workout meal."
Loaded with eggs and various veggies, an egg bake can be prepared in advance, ensuring you have a wholesome meal ready to go. Plus, the egg bake's versatility allows you to tailor it to your taste preferences while delivering a hearty dose of protein from the eggs and essential carbs, vitamins, and minerals from the veggies.
"An egg bake makes for an easy grab-and-go without the cost or additional ingredients when you buy it on the run," says Masi.
Pumpkin Banana Glazed Muffins
These mouthwatering muffins strike the perfect balance between indulgence and nutrition. Packed with rich flavor from pumpkins and natural sweetness from bananas, they offer a delicious and nutritious way to replenish your energy and satisfy your taste buds post-workout.
"If you love a muffin but hate that it doesn't have protein in it, try a protein muffin recipe," recommends Masi.
Cottage Cheese and Fruit
This satisfying breakfast combines the protein punch of cottage cheese with the carbs, vitamins, and antioxidants found in fresh fruit. Whether it's berries, bananas, melon, or tropical fruits, this pairing provides a refreshing and light post-workout meal.
"A simple staple of cottage cheese and fruit provides a perfect blend of high protein and fiber-filled carbohydrates from the fruit," says Masi.
These bite-sized treats are typically made with a blend of protein powder, nuts, and other wholesome ingredients. Their caloric density offers a convenient way to refuel after exercise, making them a satisfying and customizable breakfast choice for busy mornings.
Masi tells us, "These are great for before or after a workout. I'd recommend having a few to maximize your protein intake."
Deli Meat and Cheese Wrap
Combining lean deli meats with your favorite cheese and whole-grain wraps creates a protein-rich and healthy carb-fueled breakfast option. Plus, the balance of protein and carbs makes it suitable for replenishing energy stores and supporting muscle recovery.
"If you're not an egg fan but still want something savory like a sandwich, try a turkey or ham and cheese wrap for breakfast," suggests Masi.
Whether you opt for a plant-based or whey protein powder, blending it with water, milk, or a dairy-free alternative provides a quick and easily digestible source of protein. Customize your shake with fruits or nut butter for added flavor and nutrients.
"A traditional protein shake is always smart to have in the breakfast lineup," says Masi. "Pick your liquid base, whether water, milk, or a milk alternative. Add a scoop of protein powder, nut butter, and spinach with your favorite fresh or frozen fruit for a well-balanced meal."
Level up your morning oatmeal's protein content by adding a scoop of protein powder, nut butter, seeds, or Greek yogurt. The combination of complex carbohydrates and protein supports sustained energy levels throughout the day.
"Oatmeal is an excellent breakfast food full of fiber and slow-digesting carbohydrates to keep you fuller longer. Adding in protein makes it a perfect recovery blend," explains Masi.
This breakfast option offers a delightful blend of textures and flavors while providing protein from the yogurt and carbohydrates from the fruits and granola.
"Combine non-fat Greek yogurt with granola, fruit, and any additional toppings you like to make a yogurt parfait," Masi recommends. "Nut butters or powdered peanut butter can add a lot of flavor and help fill you up for the day ahead."
These pancakes, often made with protein powder or Greek yogurt, deliver a delicious and fulfilling option for those craving a breakfast classic. Top them with fresh fruit or a drizzle of nut butter for added flavor and nutrients, making them a satisfying post-workout treat.
"There's something about a pancake that makes it a breakfast favorite. Bump up the protein by adding a scoop of protein powder into your pancake batter," says Masi.