12 Quick Pre-Run Breakfast Ideas

Bowl of corn flakes with banana slices
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I often hear from runners, "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.

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

1. 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.

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

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

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

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

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

12. Cottage Cheese in Fruit Bowl:  Scoop 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese into a cantaloupe or honeydew half.

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

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