Wondering what the best thing to eat before a morning workout is? Well, what you eat is as important as when you eat. Whether you swim daily in the mornings for exercise or you swim competitively, it’s important to start your day right. A big part of that is what you chose to fuel your body and when. For smaller or lighter meals, opt to have breakfast 30 mins to 2 hours before you jump into the pool.

Don’t think this has to limit your breakfast options, there are a lot of different high energy small meals to choose from. For larger breakfasts, you’ll want to wait 4 hours. What’s right for you may vary depending on your metabolism and the level at which you exert yourself during your morning swim. Finding what’s right for you may take some trial and error. Keep in mind that you want to find a balance between giving your body enough energy and not eating too much. If you overeat or fail to give yourself enough time between breakfast and your workout you may experience; cramping, bloating or nausea.

If you’re a swimmer wondering what the best thing to eat before a morning workout, look no further, here are four recipes for a light snack to fuel your swim workout!


1) Lemon Berry Smoothie

Best Thing to Eat Before a Morning Workout, smoothie


  • 1 (8 ounce) container blueberry nonfat yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries


Place yogurt, milk, ice cubes, blueberries, strawberries, and lemonade mix in a blender. Pulse until smooth and creamy.


2) Slow-cooked Oatmeal

Best Thing to Eat Before a Morning Workout, oatmeal

Image via Robyn Mackenzie, iStock/Getty Images

Complex carbohydrates help fuel your energy needs because your body breaks them down more slowly. Oatmeal is probably the best thing to eat before a morning workout or swim meet/race. Try this slow-cooked oatmeal recipe, made with a slow cooker – perfect for those who never have time to make breakfast in the morning. Toss the ingredients in the night before!

  • 1/2 cups steel cut oats
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 large mashed ripe bananas
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or ground nutmeg)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Place all of the ingredients except the toppings in the bottom of a 4-to-6-quart slow cooker and stir to combine: Steel cut oats, water, milk, mashed bananas, flaxseed meal, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours (overnight) or on high for 4 hours, until the oats are soft but maintain a bit of chew. Remove cover and stir to evenly combine the ingredients. Enjoy warm with desired toppings.


3) Berry Bowl

Best Thing to Eat Before a Morning Workout, berry bowl
 Image via allrecipes.com


Smoothie Ingredients:
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 2 tablespoons frozen acai berry pulp, or as desired
Toppings Ingredients:
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons granola
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
Blend strawberries, pineapple, yogurt, coconut water, and acai pulp in a blender until smooth; pour into a bowl. Top smoothie with kiwi, banana, blueberries, raspberries, almonds, granola, and chia seeds.


4) Chef John’s Granola

Best Thing to Eat Before a Morning Workout, granola

Image via allrecipes.com


  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup dried currants


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner.
  2. Combine brown sugar, maple syrup, oil, and salt in a bowl. Add oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and coconut. Mix well, making sure all ingredients are coated evenly.
  3. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and distribute in an even layer.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes lightly with the tines of a fork so mixture toasts evenly and granola is golden brown.
  5. Pour into a bowl and, while mixture is still hot, mix in currants. Cool. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.


What meal or snack do you think is the best thing to eat before a morning workout? Leave your favorites in the comments below!