If you want to fuel your day, workouts, and results, you’ve really got to start eating breakfast—and, no, a bowl of sugary cereal isn’t going to cut it.
“Too many Americans eat soft and doughy fake food in the morning,” says celebrity fitness and nutrition coach Kyle Brown, C.S.C.S., founder of FIT 365, who, by the way, eats breakfast every single day. His non-negotiables: protein, healthy fats, whole carbs, and lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to prime his brain and body for all-day energy and performance. After all, when you spend all day programming workouts, coaching and pumping up clients, and squeezing in your own sweat sessions, you have to be on your A game!
To help you fuel up like an expert, we asked seven top trainers to snap photos of their go-to morning meals.
1. Breakfast Protein Cookie Dough
Go ahead, lick the bowl clean. “I love that this breakfast tastes like dessert and packs a protein punch for under 500 calories,” says Josh Hillis, C.P.T., author of Fat Loss Happens on Monday. The granola provides plenty of carbs for energy, which are balanced out by the protein and healthy fats for better blood-sugar control. Hillis recommends using more protein powder on super-active mornings.
Combine all ingredients except for the water in a bowl. Stir and add water gradually, until mixture reaches a cookie dough-like consistency.
2. Sourdough Veggie Sausage Breakfast Sandwich
Baltimore-based strength and conditioning coach Erica Suter, M.S., C.S.C.S., loves to refuel with this super-easy and vegetarian-friendly sandwich after her morning workouts. “The bread helps me to replenish my glycogen stores, which were depleted during exercise, and the eggs promote muscle growth and recovery,” she says. By combining two whole eggs with one egg white, you can increase protein content without increasing fat content.
– 2 eggs
– 1 egg white
– 1 serving veggie sausage (links or patties)
– 2 pieces Sourdough toast
Toast your bread while cooking your eggs (Suter likes them scrambled) and sausage. Then, add the eggs and sausage to your bread and voila!
3. 6-Minute Check-Every-Box Breakfast
“Because my days start at 4:30 a.m., breakfast is a huge priority for getting me up and keeping me energized,” says physical therapist and strength coach Laura Miranda, D.P.T., C.S.C.S. “I choose this combo of food because it checks all of the boxes for health: It has avocado for fiber, potassium, and blood-sugar regulation, eggs for protein and omega-3s, kale for everything (and especially fiber), and plantains for resistant starch that keeps me fuller, longer, and has a prebiotic effect to make my gut happy.”
– 2 handfuls kale
– 2 eggs
– 1 green plantain
– ½ avocado
– Red pepper flakes
Cut the plantain into half-inch cubes and sauté, then sauté the kale until wilted and bright green, and cook your eggs however you prefer. Combine your ingredients on a plate and top with sliced avocado and red pepper flakes to taste.
4. Greek Yogurt with Berries
“My go-to breakfast is Greek yogurt with fruit and cereal,” says Silicon Valley-based trainer Jaime Mcfaden, C.P.T. “I love that it is protein-packed, full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and the crunch of the cereal gives it an extra-special taste and texture,” she says. “Growing up in a Greek family, we used Greek yogurt in pretty much every meal. Now, as a working mom, it’s so nice to grab something I can make in two minutes or less and know that I am getting all the nutrients, protein, and fat I need to get me ready for my busy day ahead.”
– 6 to 8 ounces of plain Greek yogurt
– Handful of berries
– Handful of cereal
Simply spoon your Greek yogurt into a bowl and top with a handful each of berries and cereal for crunchy, sweet deliciousness.
5. Protein-Packed Rolled Oats
This breakfast might have a lot going on, but it’s still quick and easy to pull together. “For my first meal of the day, I always want something powerful in both experience and nutritional density,” says Lisa Niren, C.P.T., head instructor and director of content and programming for the Studio running app. Her go-to includes a dose of caffeine from coffee, probiotics from kombucha, and lots of filling fiber and protein from protein powder and oats.
– ½ cup gluten-free rolled oats
– ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
– ½ cup cashew milk
– 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
– Blueberries, flax or chia seeds, dried cranberries, or cacao nibs to taste
– 1 GT’s Gingerade Kombucha, on the side
– 1 almond milk cappuccino (coffee, cashew milk, and unsweetened almond milk), on the side
Cook rolled oats in almond milk until the mixture reaches your desired thickness. Then, stir in protein powder and desired toppings. Serve with the kombucha (over ice) and almond milk cappuccino.
6. Chunky Monkey Bowl
“The way I see it, every time I have this breakfast, I’m winning my morning,” says celebrity fitness and nutrition coach Kyle Brown, C.S.C.S., founder of FIT 365. “It provides me with complete nutrition.” While the grass-fed whey protein supports muscle growth, the healthy fats from coconut milk (think: MCTs) and almond butter help to promote brain function. Meanwhile, the banana’s carbs and fiber help perk you up with energy that lasts, he says.
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend to a thick, smoothie bowl-worthy consistency. Top with chocolate shavings or chips, if desired.
7. Stacked Smoothie
“I call this the ‘stacked smoothie’ because it’s stacked with all the right things to start my day off,” says Alena Luciani, M.S., C.S.C.S., founder of Training2xl. Specifically, it provides heaps of protein, vitamins, antioxidants, unsaturated fats, whole carbs, and fiber. “I always work out early, so it’s vital that I incorporate all of this into my breakfast,” she says.
– 1 cup cashew or almond milk
– 1 scoop protein powder
– 1 cup leafy greens (spinach or kale)
– 1 cup frozen cauliflower
– 1 scoop nut butter
– 1 to 2 Tbsp maca root, spirulina, or elderberry powder
– dash of cinnamon
Add all ingredients to blender, blend to a smooth consistency, and enjoy!