3 Athlete Breakfast Ideas For Student Athletes

How often do you find yourself going to morning training feeling sluggish, weak, or “like you were running through the mud”?

What if I told you that I could immediately help you stop feeling “sluggish” by incorporating the right breakfast before practice?

As a Sports Nutritionist, I help athletes maximize their performance results with easy and simple nutrition. Fueling before and after training is one of the first places I recommend beginning.

In this blog post, I wanted to share three athlete breakfast ideas that athletes in the Performance Fueling Club (PFC) love. In PFC, I help you with an individualized fueling plan including athlete breakfast ideas that help you feel energized and powerful at practice.

These breakfast ideas will help you get started!

Overnight oats are a great student-athlete breakfast!

Why Do Athletes Need to Eat Breakfast?

So first of all, is breakfast really that important? Yes!

Student-athletes often go to practice without breakfast due to busy schedules, fear of GI upset, and misinformation (I am looking at you fasted cardio). Skipping fueling before training will result in feeling sluggish because your muscles do not have enough energy to function at their maximum. 

Eating breakfast will provide fuel to the working muscles and ensure your energy stores are topped off. Not only will you have better performance results but your training will be much more enjoyable!

Athlete Breakfast Ideas for More Energy at Training

Try one of these athlete breakfast ideas to stay fueled during training!

All of these breakfasts are rich in quick-acting carbohydrates, lean protein, and easy-to-digest fat. I recommend eating them 1-2 hours before and you’ll be all set!

1. Blueberry Almond Smoothie

Smoothies are a great breakfast option because they are easier to digest. Liquid energy (or in this case blended energy) takes less time to digest and is a good option for those who don’t have much of an appetite in the morning.

My athletes love this blueberry almond smoothie bowl before training. Choosing a smoothie can help minimize GI upset during practice and allow you to feel more confident on the field. 

Additionally, a liquid energy source will also assist with hydration. Many athletes will choose this as a source of fuel to stay hydrated and cool during the hot summer months.

2. Overnight Oats

One barrier many athletes have to eating breakfast before practice is a lack of time to make food. This is why overnight oats are awesome! You can prepare them the night before and eat them right when you wake up.

Oats are a great source of complex carbohydrates (your main source of energy during practice). Adding a protein powder will help prevent muscle breakdown and support the re-building of lean tissue.

Preventing muscle breakdown is one of the main reasons why eating before morning practice is so important. Skipping your pre-practice meal causes muscle breakdown and will inhibit recovery (which is the opposite of what you want).

3. Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich + Banana

Who loves a good PB&J? I believe you can never be too old for this classic sandwich. Not only is it delicious but it is the perfect fuel for a student-athlete before training! The bread and jelly provide easily digestible carbohydrates while the peanut butter contains a little protein and anti-inflammatory fats. 

To round out the meal, pair your sandwich with a banana for additional carbs for readily available energy.

This is one of my student athletes’ go-to pre-practice breakfast options on the road since you don’t need to refrigerate the ingredients. 

Peanut Butter and

What if You Can’t Eat Breakfast Before Training?

I understand how challenging it can be to eat before morning practice – especially that early session!

If you struggle with eating before training, I recommend starting off small and working your way up. Just like you train your muscles at practice, you can train your stomach and GI to absorb nutrients. 

If you remember from above, carbohydrates are the most easily digested nutrients and I would choose foods that are rich in carbohydrates. Some of my favorite options are applesauce, banana, fruit snacks, and pretzels.

If this still feels like too much, try some liquid energy! Liquid takes less time to digest and can be easier for your body to absorb. Try some apple juice or a sports drink! 


Your breakfast before training should include carbohydrates that can be quickly digested and used for energy quickly by the body. 

All three of these athlete breakfast ideas are rich in carbohydrates and can increase your energy levels, strength, recovery, and performance!

Eating breakfast is extremely important (especially before training). If you aren’t ready to try one of the athlete breakfast ideas here, try some simple carbohydrates before practice (applesauce, fruit snacks, sports drink).

I would love to help you continue your fueling journey through one of our sports nutrition coaching programs. We go over how to fuel your body on a personalized level before and after your training sessions. Apply today to meet your performance goals!



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