If you’re watching your weight or have a hard time keeping your hunger in check in the morning, you likely have heard how important protein is. While it’s easy for most of us to get enough of the nutrient at lunch and dinner, breakfast can often be a struggle. Bagels, cereal, and smoothies don’t always pack a big protein punch. Not to mention, if you skip your morning meal, you’re not getting any protein at all.
Studies show that a high-protein breakfast habit has been linked to weight management or weight loss. This means you may eat less throughout the day, including in the evening. Protein also boosts alertness so you are productive and helps stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels so you have steady energy to face the day, she adds.
Registered dietitians say starting with at least 20 grams is a good goal for weight loss and hunger management. Ready to start your day off right? Try one of these high protein breakfasts next time you’re tempted to reach for the cereal box.
BLUEBERRY-ALMOND BAKED OATMEAL
Oatmeal on its own is a delicious breakfast full of fiber and whole grains, but you can round it out and amp up the nutrition by adding flax meal, chia seeds, soy or almond milk, or protein powder. That's right, you can stir flavored or unflavored protein powder right into your oatmeal. Top with blueberries and almonds for extra fiber, healthy fats, and vitamins.
Another option to increase the protein in your oatmeal is to add a couple of dollops of Greek yogurt. Sprinkle with cinnamon for extra flavor. This packs 11 grams of protein per serving and is easy to take on the road with you.
MINI EGG FRITTATAS
If eggs for breakfast sounds boring, try individual frittatas. Mix whole eggs and extra egg whites together with sautéed vegetables. For even more protein, add some turkey sausage or cheese. Simply pour the mixture into muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees until you can insert a knife in them and it comes out clean (in a standard-size muffin tin, that will be about 20 to 25 minutes). These are a perfect option if you're not a morning person, as they can be made ahead and then reheated quickly on your way out the door.
COTTAGE CHEESE BOWL
When it comes to increasing your protein intake, low-fat cottage cheese is an option many people overlook. The nutrition, taste, cost, and ease of preparation make it a great addition to your breakfast rotation. (Note: Low-fat cottage cheese has more protein per serving than full-fat, although both are great options.) We recommend filling a bowl with cottage cheese, mixing in some beans, and topping with tomatoes, paprika, salt, pepper.
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER PORRIDGE
Sometimes you just have to have something sweet for breakfast and with this simple dish you can have your protein and the taste you crave. Mix together cooked oats, natural peanut butter, dark cacao, and sweet banana. Top with yogurt or your choice of milk. YUM!
Start your morning off right with a simple parfait made of yogurt, berries and muesli. Muesli is a whole grain cereal often eaten uncooked. There are lots of variations, so pick one high in fiber and low in sugar. We suggest one containing barley, since it's got both fiber and protein.
Protein smoothies are a tried-and-true healthy breakfast, but vegans may feel left out of the smoothie love as they don't do whey or egg proteins. No problem! There are plenty of vegan-friendly protein powders. For example, try to blend brown rice and pea protein powder with coconut oil, flaxseed, pea protein milk, spinach, blueberries, and a small amount of stevia and cinnamon. This provides a healthy serving of protein along with vital fats, vitamins, fiber, and micronutrients. The taste factor doesn't disappoint, either!
CRUSTLESS MINI QUICHES
You can't go wrong with eggs and veggies in the morning, and you can get both in these grab-and-go crustless quiches. Simply mix eggs with any type of vegetables you like—chopped sweet potato, asparagus, kale, and red onion are some of our favorites—add seasonings like garlic, sea salt, parsley, and cilantro. Bake in the oven until you can insert a knife in them and it comes out clean. These are loaded with fiber, protein and an incredibly wide range of nutrients including vitamins A, C, E, K, B1, B2, B6, and B12, as well as folate and chromium.
In the world of protein powders, collagen deserves more love. Collagen powder is pure protein that's cheap, flavorless, and dissolves well in shakes. We suggest blending it with plant milk, berries, chia seeds, and nut butter. The best part? Collagen is no ordinary protein—it may help give you plump glowing skin, reduce joint pain, strengthen nails, hair and teeth, and can improve intestinal conditions and digestion.
AMPED-UP AVOCADO TOAST
Avocado toast is the trendiest breakfast food right now, and with good reason. It provides a healthy dose of fats and fiber. But it can be improved. Give yours a nutritional boost by adding an egg or two and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. This adds filling protein and B vitamins.
Now you can still have your favorite breakfast dish and get your protein too with this recipe. Simply blend until smooth 1/2 cup each of egg whites, oatmeal, and 1% cottage cheese along with 1 teaspoon baking soda. Cook the batter like a pancake. These pancakes may help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and contain lots of protein for the amount of calories. Plus, the finished product doesn't taste like eggs or cottage cheese!
BREAD PUDDING IN A MUG
Bread pudding is the ultimate comfort food in the morning, but it doesn't have to be a calorie bomb. Indulge with this healthy version from Harris-Pincus. Mix one egg, 2 tablespoons vanilla whey protein powder, a packet of stevia, and 2 tablespoons milk. Fold in a chopped apple and two slices of cubed whole-grain bread. Pour in a mug, and microwave for one minute. Top with syrup and cinnamon. Delish!
Whether you like sweet or savory, exotic or comforting, vegan or paleo, on-the-go or sitting down, there is something everyone will love on this list. Give it a try and let us know what you think!