15 Bodybuilding Breakfast Ideas (For Bulking or Cutting)

One of the most common concerns from my bodybuilder clients is finding different (and delicious) ways to have their meals, especially breakfast. Often, they don’t have the creativity or time to make complex meals that provide all the nutrients they need to achieve their goals. 

While the portion sizes and calories will vary depending on your goals (bulking or cutting), a bodybuilder’s breakfast needs to have all three macros (carbs, proteins, and fats).  Some easy bodybuilding breakfasts include blended protein shake recipes, high-protein french toast, and scrambled eggs with veggies.

In this article, I give you 15 bodybuilding breakfast ideas, which include the calories/macro breakdown, how to make the recipe, and an explanation on why it’s beneficial for bodybuilders. 

If you’re new here, hello, my name is Brenda – a Registered Dietitian who works with bodybuilders. 

What Should Bodybuilders Have For Breakfast? 

In order to structure your breakfast as a bodybuilder, everything starts with the calories you need, and the breakdown of your macronutrients.

Calories

The number of calories that you need depends on your goals. 

For example, if you are looking to bulk, your body needs to have more calories than it needs since creating new muscle is very expensive. 

Thus, you might need to eat 10-20% extra calories above your maintenance level in a bulking phase. This means that you need to find energy-dense foods to help you achieve that goal.  This includes foods like chia seeds, olive oil, nuts, hemp seeds, and nut butter. 

On the other hand, if you are looking to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories and put yourself in a caloric deficit. 

This means restricting your calories to 10-20% below your maintenance level in a cutting phase. Hence, finding foods with a high satiating effect (providing high levels of fullness) with the least calories will be crucial. This includes foods like mushrooms, carrots, celery, broccoli, and zucchini. 

Carbs

Carbs are the primary energy source in the body. On average, a bodybuilder might need 50-60% of their calories coming from carbs. This is especially the case for those in a bulking phase or maintenance. 

For those in a cutting phase, I typically decrease the carb intake (30-40% of their total calories) to increase other macros (like protein since it has a higher satiating effect). 

The number of carbs will also depend on your activity levels. The more active you are, the more fuel you need, which increases your need for carbs during the day. 

Some carb sources you can include at breakfast are: sweet potato, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and quinoa. 

On a budget?  Check out my article: 15 Cheap Carbs For Bulking

Proteins

Protein is vital to help repair and grow muscles. A recommended protein intake for bodybuilders is 1.6 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight

The intake depends highly on your goals and your current eating habits. 

For example, for those in a bulking phase, I typically use the lower end of the scale (1.6-1.8 g per kilogram of body weight), while for those in a cutting phase, I use the higher range (1.8-2.0 g per kilogram of body weight). 

Since protein takes longer to digest, it has higher fullness levels, an essential trait for those cutting back on their caloric intake. 

Some protein sources you can include at breakfast are: eggs, Greek yogurt, protein shakes, cheese, chicken, and salmon. 

Fats

Finally, fats are essential for maintaining an optimal hormone balance, as well as helping to absorb fat-soluble nutrients (like vitamins A, D, E, and K). It is recommended to have an intake of 15-30% of your daily caloric intake coming from fats

Fats are considered a very energy-dense food (a lot of calories in a small volume of food). Thus, it is ideal for those bodybuilders who have difficulty reaching their caloric intake (mostly for those who are bulking). 

Some fat sources you can include at breakfast are: avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and olives. 

Are you eating the right foods for your bodybuilding goals?

Related Article 10 Easy 1000 Calorie Meals

Best Bodybuilding Breakfast Ideas

1. Egg White Oatmeal Recipe

egg white oatmeal recipe
Egg White Oatmeal Recipe

This is the perfect breakfast for those who love a bowl of warm oatmeal but need to find a way to increase the protein content (without relying on protein powders). If you don’t want to drink raw egg whites, adding them to your oatmeal is ideal for adding a lean protein source. 

Besides providing you with high-quality protein, it also gives you a source of complex carbs to have a steady energy source during the day. Its high antioxidant content (blueberries) and omega-3 (pumpkin seeds) provide you with the best anti-inflammatory properties. 

This meal is good as a pre or post-workout if you train early in the morning. 

Calories and Macros

  • Portion size: 1 oatmeal bowl
  • Servings: 1
  • Calories: 345 
  • Carbs: 44.3 g 
  • Protein: 25.7 g
  • Fat: 7.6 g

Ingredients

  • Rolled oats
  • Blueberries
  • Egg whites
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cinnamon

Directions

1. Whisk the egg whites and then add the oats with ⅔ cup of water. 

2. Cook in the microwave for 1 minute, add 2 tablespoons of the blueberries and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

3. Add the remaining blueberries, cinnamon, and pumpkin seeds.

Click for the full recipe

Looking for more oatmeal recipes, check out these 9 Best High-Protein Bodybuilding Oatmeal Recipes

2. Egg Casserole With Hash Browns

egg casserole with hash browns
Egg Casserole With Hash Browns

If you don’t have a lot of time and need something that you can meal prep in advance, this is the best recipe for you. You can store this in the fridge, which can last up to 3 days. 

Its high calorie and high protein contents are ideal for bodybuilders in a bulking phase. If you are still missing some additional calories, you can always add some avocado on the side or even more olive oil. 

However, if you are in a cutting phase, make certain modifications like replacing the sausage with a lean protein (like chicken) and add more veggies (mushroom, tomato, zucchini, or broccoli) to increase volume and fullness. 

Calories and Macros

  • Portion size: 1 square
  • Servings: 6
  • Calories: 481
  • Carbs: 20.0 g 
  • Protein: 28.0 g
  • Fat: 31.0 g

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Breakfast sausage – low salt
  • Garlic minced
  • Onions minced
  • Bell peppers
  • Eggs
  • Dried parsley
  • Dried basil
  • Pepper
  • Frozen shredded hash browns thawed
  • Cheddar cheese

Click for the full recipe on TheCleanEatingCouple.com.

3. Banana Pudding Protein Shake

banana pudding protein shake
Banana Pudding Protein Shake

This banana pudding protein shake is ideal for those with a sweet tooth. It is ideal to have on the go for those who don’t have much time to have breakfast sitting down. 

Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and calcium. A good calcium intake is essential for having good bone health

Additionally, bananas and yogurt are excellent sources of potassium which is an essential nutrient to prevent muscle cramps

Calories and Macros

  • Portion size: 1 shake
  • Servings: 1
  • Calories: 388
  • Carbs: 56.0 g 
  • Protein: 34.0 g
  • Fat: 4.0 g

Ingredients

  • Vanilla protein powder
  • Banana
  • Vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt
  • Shredded coconut
  • Instant vanilla pudding mix

Directions

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

2. Add any desired toppings.

Click for the full recipe

4. Coffee Protein Shake

coffee protein shake
Coffee Protein Shake

Having a cup of coffee is an excellent way of increasing your energy levels first thing in the morning. It can also improve your performance at the gym. 

While some brands of protein powders have caffeine, sometimes they don’t provide the caloric or macro intake that we need. This coffee protein shake can provide you with a good amount of protein (29 g), with a moderate amount of calories (429 kcal). 

This protein shake is ideal for those in a cutting phase. Nonetheless, you might still want to add other high-energy-dense foods like more peanut butter or even shredded coconut flakes for those in bulking phases. 

Calories and Macros

  • Portion size: 1 shake
  • Servings: 1
  • Calories: 429
  • Carbs: 54.0 g 
  • Protein: 29.0 g
  • Fat: 13.0 g

Ingredients

  • Cold brewed coffee
  • Milk (unsweetened almond)
  • Banana
  • Peanut butter
  • Ground flax seeds
  • Vanilla extract
  • Vanilla protein powder

Click for the full recipe on NataliesHealth.com.

5. Scrambled Eggs With Veggies And Cheese

scrambled eggs with veggies and cheese
Scrambled Eggs With Veggies And Cheese

For a healthy and filling recipe, you need to try these scrambled eggs with veggies and cheese while you are cutting. Its high protein, veggie, and healthy fat content make it a great way to have a high protein and low-carb breakfast. 

Now, this doesn’t mean that if you are in a bulking phase, you cannot have them. You can add sweet potatoes, avocado, or even more olive oil to increase the caloric content of your meal. 

Eggs are not only a nutritious protein source, but they are also high in choline. Choline is essential to keep good brain and muscle function. Additionally, they help transport cholesterol and fat in the body, making it less likely to build up.  

Related Article: Can You Eat Whole Eggs While Cutting?

Calories and Macros

  • Portion size: 1 scrambled egg
  • Servings: 1
  • Calories: 313
  • Carbs: 12.0 g 
  • Protein: 22.0 g
  • Fat: 18.0 g

Ingredients

  • Eggs
  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Bell pepper
  • Spinach
  • Shredded cheese

Directions

1. Whip egg until slightly bubbly and season.

2. Saute onion and bell pepper for 3-4 minutes.

3. Pour egg mixture over veggies and add spinach and cheese.

4. Cook them until you get the desired doneness.

Click for the full recipe

Related Article: 60g Protein Meal: 12 Ideas for Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

6. Vegan Tofu Scramble

vegan tofu scramble
Vegan Tofu Scramble

Increasing your protein intake while doing a plant-based diet might be challenging. A vegan tofu scramble can help you achieve your necessary protein requirements without relying on protein powders. 

One of the common problems in a plant-based diet is that plant protein doesn’t have all the amino acids your body needs. Protein is composed of amino acids. Some are produced by the body (nonessential), while others need to be obtained from the diet (essential).

The benefit of tofu is that it is a plant source since it has all the amino acids that your body needs.  

The combination of spices (turmeric, black peppers, cumin, and coriander) has strong antioxidant properties that help reduce inflammation in your body. This means that this recipe will give you the necessary protein, but it will also make sure that you have better muscle recovery due to its anti-inflammatory properties. 

It might be low in calories compared to what a bodybuilder might need, but you can make the adjustments necessary by adding carb sources like quinoa, sweet potatoes, or rice. 

Calories and Macros

  • Portion size: 1 tofu scramble
  • Servings: 1
  • Calories: 280
  • Carbs: 7.0 g 
  • Protein: 22.0 g
  • Fat: 18.0 g

Ingredients

  • Tofu firm
  • Olive Oil
  • Green Onion stalks 
  • Black Pepper
  • Cumin ground
  • Coriander Seeds ground
  • Turmeric Ground aka Curcuma
  • Salt

Click for the full recipe on MasalaHerb.com.

7. Cottage Cheese Protein Pudding

cottage cheese protein pudding
Cottage Cheese Protein Pudding

Who wouldn’t love a dessert for breakfast? With this recipe, you can get a protein-packed breakfast ideal for those with a sweet tooth. 

One of the benefits of this recipe is its use of cocoa powder. There are several benefits that you can obtain from this powerful ingredient. 

Studies have shown that it can improve your gut microbiome (the healthy bacteria found in your gut). It has flavonoids (antioxidants) that help reduce inflammation in the body. Finally, cocoa powder can improve your mood, setting you up to have a good mood early in the morning. 

Calories and Macros

  • Portion size: 1 pudding
  • Servings: 1
  • Calories: 296
  • Carbs: 30.0 g 
  • Protein: 17.0 g
  • Fat: 13.0 g

Ingredients

Directions

1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. 

2. Pour into a bowl and top with desired ingredients. 

Click for the full recipe

8. Weight Gain Protein Smoothie

weight gain protein smoothie
weight gain protein smoothie

A smoothie is a great way to increase your calories without taking too much space in your stomach. Often, when my bodybuilder clients have a hard time reaching their intake, the most common thing I recommend is high-calorie smoothies. 

This breakfast smoothie provides you with 1,000 calories in one serving, ideal for those looking to bulk. Its strawberry and spinach content are excellent sources of vitamin C. This helps boost your immune system and reduce your inflammation in the body, thanks to its antioxidant properties. 

Calories and Macros

  • Portion size: 1 smoothie
  • Servings: 1
  • Calories: 1008
  • Carbs: 95.0 g 
  • Protein: 45.5 g
  • Fat: 58.4 g

Ingredients

  • Full-fat coconut milk
  • Banana
  • Strawberries
  • Peanut butter (or nut or seed butter)
  • Cocoa powder
  • Unsweetened protein powder
  • Baby spinach
  • Dates

Click for the full recipe on CleanEatingKitchen.com.

9. Protein Powder Chia Pudding

protein powder chia pudding
Protein Powder Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats cannot be produced in our bodies, which means we need to get them through our diets. 

A study showed that when supplementing with omega-3, medical students decreased their anxiety levels by 20%. 

An increase in stress leads to higher cortisol levels, which means that it can affect protein and carb metabolism, generating weaker muscle. Thus, if you are in a stressful situation and want a way to preserve your muscles, adding chia seeds (or any other omega-3 sources) can help decrease stress in your body. 

Calories and Macros

  • Portion size: 1 pudding
  • Servings: 1
  • Calories: 318
  • Carbs: 18.0 g 
  • Protein: 32.0 g
  • Fat: 11.0 g

Ingredients

  • Vanilla protein powder
  • Almond milk
  • Chia seeds
  • Honey (or any other desired sweetener)
  • Fruit or other desired toppings

Directions

1. Combine the almond milk and protein powder in a blender until smooth.

2. Pour into a cup and mix in the honey and chia seeds.

3. Chill for at least 2 hours.

4. Add desired toppings.

Click for the full recipe

10. Anabolic French Toast

anabolic french toast
Anabolic French Toast

A flexible recipe is always a lifesaver for bodybuilders. This means that you can adapt the recipe depending on which you are at bulking, cutting, or maintenance. The anabolic french toast is a perfect example of a flexible recipe. You can modify it to increase the calories or make it fit your macros. 

Besides being macro-friendly, adding cinnamon to the mix can help you decrease inflammation due to its high antioxidant content. 

Calories and Macros

  • Portion size: 4 french toasts
  • Servings: 1
  • Calories: 356
  • Carbs: 29.0 g 
  • Protein: 16.0 g
  • Fat: 19.0 g

Ingredients

  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Milk of choice (see notes for options)
  • Sugar-free syrup
  • Vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon 
  • Salt
  • Bread of choice
  • Butter or oil (for pan)

Click for the full recipe on AubreysKitchen.com.

11. Egg White French Toast

egg white french toast
Egg White French Toast

Fiber plays an important role in having a healthy diet. It plays an even bigger role for those in a cutting phase since it helps increase fullness levels. 

A study revised that people who had an extra 14 g of fiber per day saw a weight reduction of 2 kg in 4 months. This without having any other changes in their lifestyles and their diets. 

Thus, for a bodybuilder in a cutting phase, where you need to decrease your caloric consumption without feeling hungry during the day, this recipe can help you. 

Calories and Macros

  • Portion size: 1 recipe
  • Servings: 1
  • Calories: 241
  • Carbs: 30.0 g 
  • Protein: 23.0 g
  • Fat: 3.0 g

Ingredients

  • Egg whites
  • Plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Whole-wheat bread

Directions

1. Whisk together egg whites, yogurt, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt in a bowl

2. Soak each piece of bread in the egg white mixture for 1-2 minutes on each side

3. Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium heat with cooking spray

4. Place the soaked bread in the skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides. 

5. Top with fruit or any other toppings.

Click for the full recipe

12. Cookie Dough Protein Bars

cookie dough protein bars
Cookie Dough Protein Bars

Maca powder is a superfood with several benefits. The most prominent benefits are seen in increasing libido and fertility outcomes in men. 

However, it seems to also have benefits in mood and energy. In a study done on 175 people, they took black maca powder for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, 80% of the people reported an increase in their mood and energy compared to those that took the placebo. 

This recipe allows you to make it in advance, which is a benefit for those looking to meal prep and have everything ready to eat the next day. 

Calories and Macros

  • Portion size: 1 bar
  • Servings: 1
  • Calories: 285
  • Carbs: 14.0 g 
  • Protein: 14.0 g
  • Fat: 21.0 g

Ingredients

  • Creamy almond butter
  • Coconut oil melted
  • Maple syrup
  • Protein powder vanilla flavored
  • Coconut flour
  • Ground flax seeds
  • Maca powder
  • Cacao nibs or chocolate chips

Click for the full recipe on NataliesHealth.com.

13. Egg White Omelet

egg white omelet
Egg White Omelet

One of the most common problems I hear in my consultation is that people often have a hard time adding veggies to their diets. Veggies are a great source of fiber (which helps reduce cholesterol levels, improve gut health, and increase fullness levels). Also, they provide essential nutrients (vitamins and minerals) that your body needs. 

An egg white omelet is a great way of adding veggies first thing in the morning. This can help increase your fullness levels throughout the day, making you less likely to feel hungry and be on track with your daily calories. 

Related Article:  Why Do Bodybuilders Eat Egg Whites Only (5 Reasons)

Calories and Macros

  • Portion size: 1 omelette
  • Servings: 1
  • Calories: 201
  • Carbs: 5.0 g 
  • Protein: 22.0 g
  • Fat: 9.0 g

Ingredients

  • Egg whites
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell pepper
  • Spinach
  • Goat cheese

Directions

1. Cook veggies in a skillet over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes until soft.

2. Whisk together egg whites

3. Remove sauteed veggies from the pan and pour in egg whites. Place veggies and goat cheese on one side of the pan.

4. After 1-2 minutes, flip one side of the omelet on top of the veggies and cheese, creating a half-moon. Let cook for 1-2 minutes, then flip over.

5. Remove from pan.

Click for the full recipe

14. Cheese Cauliflower Waffles

Cheese Cauliflower Waffles

Cauliflower has the benefit of being low in calories and high in fiber, which is ideal for those bodybuilders following a ketogenic diet, or that are in a cutting phase. Thanks to its high fiber content, you can feel full for longer even when you are cutting down on yout calories. 

If you are in a bulking phase, you can always modify this recipe by adding a carb source like sweet potato to increase the carb content and the calories it provides. 

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that you can make them in advance and place them in the freezer. This way they can last longer and you only need to take them out and reheat them. 

Calories and Macros

  • Portion size: ¼ recipe
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: 216
  • Carbs: 8.0 g 
  • Protein: 16.0 g
  • Fat: 13.0 g

Ingredients

  • Cauliflower crumbles
  • Eggs
  • All-purpose, whole wheat, oat, or almond flour
  • Baking powder
  • Coarse salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Cheddar cheese

Click for the full recipe on TheHealthyEpicurean.com.

15. Egg White Protein Shake

egg white protein shake
Egg White Protein Shake

One of the benefits of this recipe is that it comes with three high-quality protein sources. Whey, greek yogurt, and egg whites provide you with all the essential amino acids your body needs to help repair and grow your muscles. 

It is a source of biotin, which helps in your tissue growth and repair. Additionally, its high calcium content helps in bone health. 

If you want to increase the caloric content, you can add some oatmeal of chia seeds to make it a bulking shake. 

Calories and Macros

  • Portion size: 1 shake
  • Servings: 1
  • Calories: 495
  • Carbs: 42.0 g 
  • Protein: 45.0 g
  • Fat: 18.0 g

Ingredients

  • Egg whites
  • Whey protein powder
  • Non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Peanut butter
  • Blueberries
  • Banana
  • Ice
  • Water

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. 

Click for the full recipe

Related Article: 30g Protein Meal: 20 Ideas for Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Tips To Consider For Breakfast If You Are A Bodybuilder

tips to consider for breakfast if you are a bodybuilder

Consider The Workout Timing

The recipe that you decide to use depends on when you will work out. For example, if you are having breakfast and then you are working out, you might want a lighter breakfast like the banana pudding shake (without so much Greek yogurt). That way, you get a good dose of carbs, and it won’t be so hard to digest. 

On the other hand, if you are having breakfast after your workout, you might want to focus on one that is higher in protein and carbs to help with muscle recovery. For example, you might want to have the egg white oatmeal omelet. 

Related Articles: 

Choose The Best Cooking Method

If you don’t have a lot of time in the morning, an easy-to-make recipe is the best option. For example, the cookie dough protein bars can be made in advance and have them ready to eat in the morning. 

If you are away or on a trip where you don’t have a kitchen with you, a shake might be a good option that doesn’t require any cooking. 

Related Article: 50g Protein Meal: 15 Ideas for Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Make The Necessary Adjustments

Finally, make the necessary adjustments according to your goal. If you are in a bulking phase and the recipe doesn’t have enough calories, you can always add high-energy dense foods like oils, nuts, nut butter, and sugars. 

On the other hand, if you are in a cutting phase, you might want to cut back on certain foods to decrease the caloric content. 

Have a FeastGood Nutrition Coach help you get results faster than trying to stick it out alone


About The Author

Brenda Peralta

Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist.  In addition to being an author for FeastGood.com, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.