16 Best Foods To Eat After A Morning Run – Post-Run Recovery Nutrition

Top foods that help regain energy and repair muscles after a jogging session.

Medically reviewed by Kate Turner, RD, CSSD, CPT Kate Turner Kate TurnerRD, CSSD, CPT insta_icon
Written by , MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Charushila Biswas MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Experience: 6 years
Edited by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Experience: 8 years
Fact-checked by , BEd, MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition Aparna Mallampalli BEd, MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition Experience: 5 years
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Going on a morning run keeps you fit and healthy. But what are the right foods to eat after a morning run to prevent feeling fatigued and starved? If your post-run meal is not right, you may also not be able to run for a longer duration. Right after running, it’s important to replenish your body with a balanced mix of protein and carbs. These nutrients will prevent muscle loss and keep you energetic. They will also reduce the chances of injuries.

Yes, you must run regularly. It improves your lipid profile, lowers cholesterol, and keeps your heart healthy (1). But without a post-run meal, you may not be able to maintain the habit. Fuel your mornings after a run with a good post-run meal.

Here’s a list of the 15 best post-run foods you can consume, the reasons you need them, and their benefits.

The foods ensure you don’t simply pass on after your morning run. They keep your muscles fueled and sustain your energy levels throughout the day. Continue reading to know more.

Why Do You Need To Consume Food Post-Run?

You need to consume food post run not only because you feel hungry but also because it will help you in the post-run recovery process. When you exercise, two things happen:

  1. The glycogen (glucose polymer or glucose stores in the muscles) stores can become depleted as glycogen gets converted into glucose to provide energy while running.
  2. The muscle fibers undergo wear and tear.

That’s why you need to consume carbs (glucose) and proteins (muscles are made of proteins) to help restock your body with readily available energy in the form of glucose or glycogen and protein to rebuild your muscles.

A survey conducted on 1,295 US adults found that 93% of Amerians find their breakfast incomplete without bacon. Out of this, 34% liked their bacon very crispy while 37% liked their bacon somewhat crispy. It was further noted that 36% of Americans love to consume eggs for breakfast daily..

So, what happens when you make it a habit of consuming the right post-workout foods? Scroll down to find out.

Ways In Which Post-Run Nutrition Can Help You

Post-run nutrition can help you in the following ways:

  • Prevents post-run muscle cramps and injury.
  • May improve your energy levels.
  • Speeds up muscle recovery.

So, you see, it is important and necessary that you consume protein and carbs after running. Here are 15 of the best foods you can consume after a morning run.

16 Best Post-Run Foods

1. Chocolate Milk

Chocolate milk after a morning run
Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of soy or cow’s milk
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • ½ tablespoon chocolate powder
  • 1 tablespoon almond powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
How To Prepare
  1. Heat the milk in a saucepan until it starts steaming.
  2. Add the cocoa powder. Stir and let it dissolve.
  3. Add the chocolate powder and stir well.
  4. Transfer the milk to a glass or cup.
  5. Add the almond and cinnamon powders.
  6. Stir and enjoy!
How Much To Consume

1 cup or 200 mL

2. Fresh Fruit And Yogurt

Fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt after a morning run
Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
How To Prepare
  1. Mix the honey and yogurt.
  2. Toss in the berries and enjoy a yummy post-run meal.
How Much To Consume

½ cup yogurt and a handful of berries.

3. Boiled Eggs, Avocado, And Sweet Potato

Boiled eggs, avocado, and pomegranate after a morning run
Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • ½ sweet potato or 1 serving of fruit
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper
How To Prepare
  1. Boil the eggs and half them.
  2. Scoop out the avocado and slice it.
  3. Add them to the bowl of sweet potatoes and have your post-run meal.
How Much To Consume

Consume ½ sweet potato, 1-2 eggs, and a quarter of an avocado.

4. Nut Butter And Berries Open Sandwich

Nut butter and berries open sandwich after a morning run
Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • 2 slices of wheat bread
  • ½ cup berries like blueberries, strawberries, etc.
  • 2 tablespoons of nut butter
How To Prepare
  1. Spread a tablespoon of nut butter on each slice of bread.
  2. Top it with the berries, and your post-run meal is ready!
How Much To Consume

Consume a max of 2 slices of bread, 2 tablespoons of nut butter, and a small handful of berries.

5. Leftover Chicken Breast

Leftover chicken breast food after a morning run
Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • Leftover chicken breast
  • ½ cup mixed greens
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • A handful of cilantro
How To Prepare
  1. Heat the chicken breast.
  2. Mix lime juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  3. Drizzle the mixture over the mixed greens and toss them.
  4. Place the chicken breast over the mixed greens, tomato, and cucumber.
How Much To Consume

3 oz chicken breast and ½ cup mixed greens, 1 sliced tomato, and 1/2 sliced cucumber.

6. Open Tuna Sandwich

An open tuna sandwich food after a morning run
Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • 2 oz. canned tuna
  • ¼ avocado
  • ¼ onion (chopped)
  • 1 slice of wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
How To Prepare
  1. Mash the avocado.
  2. Add some salt, pepper, and lime juice to it. Mix well.
  3. Spread it on the slice of wheat bread.
  4. Top it with tuna and onion slices.
  5. Your post-run nutrition is ready!
How Much To Consume

2 open tuna sandwiches for lunch

7. Homemade Banana Pancakes With Almond Butter

Homemade banana pancakes after a morning run
Image: Shutterstock

Ingredients

  • ½ ripe banana
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup milk
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon real maple syrup
  • Cooking spray
  • 1.5 tablespoons almond butter
How To Prepare
  1. Mash the banana with a fork.
  2. Add the egg and milk. Mix well. Makes sure there are no lumps.
  3. Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl.
  4. Combine the dry and wet ingredients.
  5. Spray a frying pan with the cooking spray and let it heat up.
  6. Add two dollops of the pancake mixture separately on the pan and let them cook until bubbles start appearing on the edges of the pancakes.
  7. Flip the pancakes over and cook for 2 minutes more.
  8. Transfer the pancakes to a plate.
  9. Top them with almond butter, maple syrup and a few banana slices. Enjoy!
How Much To Consume

2-3 banana pancakes

8. Watermelon Salad

Watermelon salad after a morning run
Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • ½ cup watermelon, cubed
  • 8-9 slices or ½ cup of cottage cheese
  • ¼ cup arugula
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
How To Prepare
  1. Boil water in a saucepan and add the cottage cheese cubes. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Scoop out the cottage cheese and let it cool.
  3. Toss the cottage cheese, watermelon, lime juice, salt, pepper, and arugula together in a bowl.
  4.  Your post-run carb and protein-rich food is ready!
How Much To Consume

1 medium bowl

9. 9. Milk And Crushed Almonds And Berries

Milk and crushed almonds after a morning run
Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup almonds
  • 1 teaspoon honey
How To Prepare
  1. Crush the almonds using a mortar and pestle.
  2. Add the crushed almonds to the cup of milk.
  3. Add honey, stir, and drink up.
How Much To Consume

1 cup or 200 mL

10. Oatmeal

Oatmeal food after a morning run
Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup instant oats
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ cup almonds
  • Loads of cinnamon
How To Prepare
  1. Heat the milk in a saucepan.
  2. Add the oats and cook until they are soft.
  3. Transfer the cooked oats to a bowl.
  4. Top with blueberries, almonds, honey, and cinnamon. You can sprinkle a pinch of chia seeds on top of it.
How Much To Consume

½ medium bowl

Mandy Merriman, a baker and food blogger, shares her quick fix morning meal after a run. She writes that she doesn’t always have time to make eggs or oatmeal or a bowl of cereal as she has to cater to her family. On these days, she likes to prepare a simple smoothie using a banana, peanut butter, skim milk, and protein powder. Discussing the benefits of this smoothie, she adds, “Not to mention replenishing your electrolytes, getting in some serious potassium and protein and calcium, and building energy and muscle. It has few, fresh, and simple ingredients, and each plays a beautiful part in the overall creamy dreamy flavor (i)..”

11. Sprout Salad

A sprout salad after a morning run
Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • ½ cup mung bean sprouts
  • ½ cup boiled chickpeas
  • ½ cucumber (chopped)
  • A few baby spinach leaves
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
How To Prepare
  1. Toss all the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Combine well and enjoy a delicious salad.
How Much To Consume

½ – ⅔ cup

protip_icon Did You Know?
Anecdotal evidence suggests that including spinach in a post-run meal can reduce lactic acid levels that otherwise accumulate after a workout and trigger muscle aches.

12. Leftover Baked Beans With Bacon

Leftover baked beans with bacon after a morning run
Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • Leftover baked beans
  • ¼ onion, chopped
  • A handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 strips of bacon, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, if required
How To Prepare
  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan.
  2. Toss in the sliced bacon. Cook until it is crispy.
  3. Add the leftover baked beans. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from flame.
  5. Add the chopped cilantro and enjoy a protein and carb-rich post-run delicious food.
How Much To Consume

½ – ⅔ cup

13. Broccoli And Mushroom Quinoa

Broccoli and mushroom quinoa after a morning run
Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 5-6 button mushrooms
  • 10 broccoli florets
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves
How To Prepare
  1. Boil the quinoa and cook it until it is soft. Use a fork to fluff it.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan.
  3. Blanch the broccoli by boiling a cup of water and adding the broccoli florets to it. Cook for 2 minutes and then scoop the florets out. Place them in a container with ice-cold water.
  4. Add the chopped onion and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic powder and mushrooms. Cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the blanched broccoli and salt.
  7. Stir and cook for a minute.
  8. Add the cooked quinoa and black pepper. Stir and cook for 30 seconds.
  9. Plate the quinoa and garnish with basil leaves.
How Much To Consume

1 cup of mushroom and vegetable quinoa

14. Sesame, Kiwi, And Kale Smoothie

Sesame, kiwi and kale smoothie after a morning run
Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • ½ cup kale, chopped
  • ¼ avocado, cubed
  • 1 kiwi, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
How To Prepare
  1. Toss all the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blitz it and pour into a mason jar.
  3. Enjoy a powerful green smoothie after a run.
How Much To Consume

A glass or 250-350mL of this smoothie

15. Vegan Banana And Turmeric Smoothie

Vegan banana and turmeric smoothie after a morning run
Image: Shutterstock
Ingredients
  • 1 large banana
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seed powder
How To Prepare
  1. Peel the banana, slice it, and toss the slices into a blender.
  2. Add the soy milk, fennel seed powder, and turmeric powder.
  3. Blitz well.
  4. Pour into a tall glass and enjoy!
How Much To Consume

A glass or 250-370mL of the smoothie

16. Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) Supplements

Branched-chain amino acids are essential amino acids. That means, your body does not produce them naturally and they must be obtained from food or via supplements. The BCAAs include three amino acids – leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Your muscles can absorb these amino acids straight, without being processed by your liver first. As a result, they can be used in the muscle for energy. A study published in Nutrients found that supplements of BCAAs could reduce muscle soreness after exercise in athletes (2). However, more studies are warranted to understand the benefits of BCAAs and whether they are a fitting post-run supplement to replenish oneself.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Try sipping on detox water rather than plain water to meet your post-running hydration needs. Add in some watermelon pieces, lemon, or cucumber slices for adequate hydration.

Infographic: 6 Foods To Consume For Post-Run Recovery

A morning run keeps you fit and healthy, but it might also leave you feeling starved and fatigued. Hence, you need to replenish your body post-run as the glucose stored in your muscles gets used up to provide energy when running, and your muscle fibers experience wear and tear. Check out the infographic below to know the 6 foods you can eat post-run to prevent injury and cramps and energize yourself.

6 foods to consume for postrun recovery (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

A morning run can boost your energy levels and help you stay fit. However, it is important to eat the right foods after a morning run. Consuming foods rich in nutrients helps you stay energetic and reduce the chances of injuries. For example, the intake of chocolate milk, fresh fruit and yogurt, boiled eggs, granola bars, bagels, avocado, sweet potato, leftover chicken breast, protein bar, whole grain cereal, hummus at the side of pita bread, and open tuna toasts may help rebuild your muscles. They also prevent post-run muscle cramps and speed up muscle recovery. Hence, consume foods rich in carbs and proteins right after a morning run.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it okay to run first thing in the morning on an empty stomach?

Running in the morning on an empty stomach has both its pros and cons. It may increase fat burn and reduce energy consumption throughout the day. However, it may also increase the risk of injury from fatigue and raise cortisol levels, leading to muscle loss. In general, it is better to eat a small snack before running. However, fasted running may be okay for mild runs over short distances and short durations. For high intensity running or running over long distances, pre-running snacking is recommended.

Should you eat straight after a run?

Yes, you should eat a post-run meal within 2 hours of your running session.

Are apples good after a run?

Yes, apples are high in natural sugars that replenish glucose stores. They also contain anti-inflammatory properties that may help with muscle soreness.

Key Takeaways

  • Yogurt along with a handful of berries is a good food option to indulge in post running, owing to yoghurt’s low calorie content and the antioxidant properties in berries.
  • Eating boiled eggs is an easy way to get some protein intake after a morning running session as these can help provide energy and support muscles.
  • Consuming any nut butter, for instance, peanut butter, is a good snack option after running.
  • A smoothie of sesame, kiwi, and kale can help replenish all the energy consumed during running and even provide antioxidants.
foods to eat after a Morning Run

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Feeling tired after a run? Watch this informative video to learn what to eat to refuel and recover quickly. Get tips on the best post-run snack hacks!

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Meta-Analyses of the Effects of Habitual Running on Indices of Health in Physically Inactive Adults
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26178328/
  2. Oral Branched-Chain Amino Acids Supplementation in Athletes: A Systematic Review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9571679/
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Kate Turner

Kate TurnerMA, RD, CSSD, CPT

Kate is a registered dietitian and personal trainer and has over 7 years of experience in the field of nutrition as a wellness director, private nutrition consultant, educator, and public speaker. She is passionate about improving people’s health by increasing their knowledge about nutrition and exercise. This passion drove her to complete her Master’s in nutrition education and later teach...read full bio

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