It’s important for athletes to fuel with the right nutrients to optimize performance. Eating a high fiber breakfast ensures that you get enough of a nutrient that is often overlooked but crucial for athletes, fiber.
Incorporating high fiber foods into your breakfast routine helps improve digestion and provide sustained energy throughout the day. Start your day off on the right foot with a high fiber breakfast and feel the difference in your performance. (1)
Read on for some good high fiber breakfast ideas.
Which type of fiber should you eat for breakfast
Fiber can be categorized into two main types: soluble and insoluble fiber.
It’s important to consume both types of fiber as they have unique health benefits.
Eating a variety of high fiber foods can help ensure that you are getting enough of both types of fiber in your diet.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract. This type of fiber can help lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar levels.
Good sources of soluble fiber include oats, beans, peas, lentils, fruits and vegetables.
For breakfast options, foods high in soluble fiber such as oatmeal, chia seeds and berries are great choices to help regulate blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full.
On the other hand, insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and helps to promote regular bowel movements by adding bulk to stool.
Good sources of insoluble fiber include whole grains, nuts, seeds and the skins of fruits and vegetables.
Insoluble fiber-rich foods such as whole grain toast and sweet potato toast can help promote regular bowel movements and improve gut health.
Incorporating a variety of high fiber breakfast options can help ensure that you are getting the full spectrum of fiber benefits to optimize your health and performance as an athlete.
High fiber breakfast ideas for athletes
Oatmeal is a classic breakfast option that is not only high in fiber but also a good source of complex carbohydrates. Try adding some fresh fruit or nuts to your oatmeal for added flavor and nutrients.
Rolled oats are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, with 4 grams of fiber per ½ cup serving.
One cup of raspberries contains 8 grams of fiber, while 1 tablespoon of chia seeds contains 5 grams of fiber.
2. Smoothie bowl
Smoothie bowls are a popular breakfast option that can be customized to meet your fiber needs. Blend up a smoothie bowl with frozen fruits, a scoop of protein powder, and some chia seeds.
Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Adding high fiber ingredients such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, oats, and fruits can increase the fiber content. For example, 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains around 2 grams of fiber, while 1/2 cup of raspberries contains around 4 grams of fiber.
A typical smoothie bowl may contain around 5-8 grams of fiber, depending on the ingredients used. To boost the fiber content, consider adding leafy greens such as spinach or kale, which are high in fiber and other important nutrients.
Adding a scoop of protein powder can also help to increase the overall nutrient content of your smoothie bowl.
3. Whole grain toast with avocado
Avocado is a great source of healthy fats and fiber, making it the perfect addition to whole grain toast. You can also top your toast with a sliced hard-boiled egg for added protein.
Whole grain toast provides around 2 grams of fiber per slice. Adding avocado, which is a good source of soluble fiber, can provide an additional 4 grams of fiber per half of an avocado.
4. Greek yogurt with berries and granola
Greek yogurt is high in protein and adding berries and high fiber granola will increase the fiber content. For example, ½ cup of raspberries contains 4 grams of fiber, while ¼ cup of granola can provide 3-6 grams of fiber.
You could also sprinkle on some chia or flaxseeds for an additional boost of fiber.
5. Quinoa bowl with berries
Quinoa is a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, with 5 grams of fiber per 1 cup serving. Cooked quinoa mixed with almond milk, cinnamon and fresh fruit makes for a filling and fiber-rich breakfast. You can also add some nuts or seeds for extra crunch.
Adding fiber-rich berries such as strawberries or blueberries can provide an additional 2-4 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup serving.
Nuts such as almonds or walnuts are also a good source of fiber, providing around 2 grams of fiber per 1 ounce serving.
In total, a quinoa bowl with berries and nuts can provide anywhere from 7-11 grams of fiber.
6. Smoothie with greens
Blend up a smoothie with a handful of spinach or kale, frozen fruits, and a scoop of protein powder. The added greens will not only increase the fiber content but also provide important vitamins and minerals.
Adding a handful of spinach or kale to your smoothie can provide an additional 1-2 grams of fiber, depending on the amount used. Using frozen fruits such as berries and adding a scoop of protein powder can further increase the fiber content.
7. Chia seed pudding
Soak chia seeds in almond milk overnight and top with fresh fruit and nuts in the morning. Chia seeds are packed with fiber and can help keep you full for hours.
Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, with 11 grams of fiber per 1 ounce serving. Mixing chia seeds with almond milk can provide an additional 2-3 grams of fiber, while adding fresh fruit and nuts can further increase the fiber content.
8. Sweet potato toast
Slice sweet potatoes and toast them in the oven or toaster. Top with nut butter and sliced bananas for a delicious and fiber-rich breakfast.
One medium-sized sweet potato contains around 4 grams of fiber. Toasting and topping with nut butter and sliced banana can add an additional 4 grams of fiber.
9. Breakfast burrito
Fill a whole grain tortilla with scrambled eggs, black beans, salsa, and avocado for a hearty and fiber-packed breakfast. One whole grain tortilla can provide up to 3 grams of fiber.
Additionally, 1/2 cup of black beans contains around 8 grams of fiber, while 1/4 of an avocado contains around 3 grams of fiber.
10. Vegetable omelet
Whip up an omelet with spinach, mushrooms, onions, and peppers for a fiber-rich start to your day.
Adding vegetables such as spinach, mushrooms, onions, and peppers can boost the fiber content. For example, 1 cup of cooked spinach contains around 4 grams of fiber.
11. Whole grain pancakes
Opt for whole grain pancakes instead of traditional pancakes for a higher fiber option. You can make whole grain pancakes with whole wheat flour or a combination of whole wheat and other whole grains such as oats or buckwheat.
These grains are high in fiber and other important nutrients, such as B vitamins, iron and zinc. B vitamins in whole grains can help support energy metabolism, while iron and zinc are important for muscle function and recovery.
If you use a pancake mix, you can also toss in some chia or flaxseed into the batter for a fiber boost. Top with fresh fruit for added fiber and a dollop of Greek yogurt for added protein.
One serving of whole grain pancakes (2 medium pancakes) made with whole wheat flour can provide around 4 grams of fiber. Adding fiber-rich toppings such as fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds can further increase the fiber content.
For example, adding 1/2 cup of blueberries to your pancakes can provide an additional 2 grams of fiber, while adding 2 tablespoons of chopped almonds can provide an additional 2 grams of fiber.
12. Tofu scramble
Scramble some tofu with veggies like spinach, tomatoes, and bell peppers for a plant-based, high fiber breakfast option. Tofu is also a good source of plant-based protein, with around 10 grams of protein per 1/2 cup serving. In terms of fiber, the exact amount in tofu scramble will depend on the specific ingredients used.
However, adding fiber-rich vegetables such as spinach, bell peppers, and onions can increase the fiber content. For example, 1 cup of spinach contains around 1 gram of fiber, while 1/2 cup of bell peppers contains around 1 gram of fiber.
To further boost the fiber of your tofu scramble, consider serving it with whole grain toast or adding high fiber toppings such as avocado or salsa.
About 1/4 of an avocado contains around 3 grams of fiber, while 1/4 cup of salsa contains around 1 gram of fiber.
13. Apple cinnamon overnight oats
Mix rolled oats, almond milk, grated apples, cinnamon, and chia seeds in a jar and let it sit overnight. In the morning, top with sliced almonds and enjoy!
Overnight oats are a convenient and nutritious breakfast option that can be prepared ahead of time. Oats are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, with 4 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup serving.
Adding fiber-rich ingredients such as apples and chia seeds can further increase the fiber content. For example, 1 medium apple with the skin contains around 4 grams of fiber, while 1 tablespoon of chia seeds contains around 5 grams of fiber.
In total, a serving of overnight apple cinnamon oats can provide around 9-13 grams of fiber, depending on the specific ingredients used.
14. Cottage cheese with berries and flaxseed
Cottage cheese is a great source of protein and adding berries and flaxseed will increase the fiber content. Flaxseed is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Also cottage cheese is a good source of protein, providing around 14 grams of protein per 1/2 cup serving. Adding fiber-rich berries such as strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries can further increase the fiber content.
About a 1/2 cup of strawberries contains around 2 grams of fiber, while 1/2 cup of raspberries contains around 4 grams of fiber.
15. Banana nut butter toast
Top whole grain toast with nut butter and sliced bananas for a fiber-rich and delicious breakfast. Whole grain toast is a good source of fiber, providing around 2 grams of fiber per slice.
Adding fiber-rich toppings such as nut butter and banana can further increase the fiber content. For example, 1 medium banana contains around 3 grams of fiber, while 2 tablespoons of peanut butter contain around 2 grams of fiber.
In total, a serving of banana nut butter toast can provide around 5-7 grams of fiber.
16. Quinoa bowl with vegetables and eggs
Quinoa is a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, with 5 grams of fiber per 1 cup serving. Adding fiber-rich vegetables such as kale, peppers, and onions can further increase the fiber content. Adding eggs provides a protein boost and can also add an additional 1 gram of fiber.
17. Whole grain cereal with milk and fruit
Choosing a whole grain cereal can provide up to 10 grams of fiber per 1 cup serving. Adding fiber rich fruit such as berries or sliced banana can further increase the fiber content. For example, 1 medium banana contains around 3 grams of fiber.
Incorporating high fiber breakfast options into your diet as an athlete can improve your overall health and performance. Experiment with different ingredients and find what works best for you and your body.
Remember to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated throughout the day. Since fiber absorbs water and can lead to constipation if you don’t drink enough fluids.
What’s your favorite high fiber breakfast? Let us know in the comments.
Steph Magill, MS, RD, CD, FAND has over 20 years in public health and nutrition experience. As a performance nutritionist, Stephanie specializes in sports nutrition and provides simple and actionable information so that athletes can be well fueled for high performance on and off the field. Stephanie has a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and is a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.