Breakfast

18 Healthy Protein-Rich Breakfast Ideas and Recipes

18 Healthy Protein-Rich Breakfast Ideas and Recipes

The benefits of getting enough protein in your diet are well known: you’ll feel full longer and you may even lose weight. You’ve probably heard that a high-protein breakfast is helpful in keeping you full and stabilizing blood sugar. But maybe you’re not sure your current breakfast cuts it. For a food or drink to be considered “high in protein”, it must contain 20% protein. For example, if a breakfast has 400 calories, that would mean it would have to serve 20g of protein to put it in the high protein category. Breakfasts like these may seem hard to find, but you can easily find them once you know what to look for.

Eggs

The quintessential breakfast food, eggs not only bring protein to your meal, but they also provide essential nutrients, including choline for brain health and vitamin D for immunity. A medium egg contains 6g of protein in just 60 calories. And don’t skip the yellow! Nearly half of an egg’s protein is found in the yolk, along with a host of nutrients, including vitamin B12 and immune-supporting zinc. Eggs are endlessly versatile and can be scrambled, boiled, poached, fried, baked, and more. Even better, eggs provide the most economic form of animal protein.

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Asparagus and cheddar cheese mini frittatas

Frances Largeman Roth

Probably the easiest way to ensure you get almost 20g of protein at breakfast is to have two eggs on your plate. Omelets are a great way to make sure you’re not only getting the protein benefits, but also the veggies and fiber you need. This vegetarian omelette with cheese, spinach and cauliflower provides 20 g of protein, as well as about 2 g of fibre.

Vegetarian omelette with cheese, spinach and cauliflower

Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN

Dairy

Ever since Greek yogurt hit the market in the early 2000s, it has become a go-to choice for protein lovers. You can dress Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, granola and a little honey or add it to smoothies for a morning boost. A 5.3 ounce cup of Greek yogurt will give you 11g of protein, plus at least 100mg of bone-building calcium. Add an ounce of almonds and you’ll get an extra 6g, bringing you closer to that 20g goal. If you want to hit the top of that protein ladder, top your bowl of Greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon of chia seeds.

Two Orange Smoothie

Jenifoto/Getty

PB & Berry Breakfast Bowl

Joy Bauer

Greek yogurt isn’t the only choice in the dairy aisle with protein cred. Cottage cheese is the best when it comes to the amount of protein it provides per serving. Half a cup of cottage cheese packs 15-16g of protein in a tiny 90 calories. Top it with an ounce of toasted walnuts and you’ve got an extra 4g, giving you what you need to start your day off right. Add fresh berries for extra fiber and important nutrients. You can also use cottage cheese as an ingredient to boost the protein content of favorite breakfast foods like pancakes and waffles.

Healthy banana and cottage cheese pancakes

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Meet fish

While bacon makes everything better, it’s actually not a great source of protein, gracing your breakfast plate with just 6g of protein for two slices. You’ll do a little better if you opt for two classic breakfast sausage patties, which deliver 10g in two patties. Or you can opt for a plant-based option, like those from Beyond or Impossible, which will set you back 11 and 12g, respectively, for two patties. You can complete these pancakes with an egg or yogurt to reach your 20 g bar.

Could a New York deli be a real source of protein? Indeed, a sesame bagel with a schmear of cream cheese and 2 ounces of smoked salmon “lox” contains 25 g of protein. If you want to cut some calories, you can always wrap your salmon in a tortilla, but I can’t guarantee it will be as satisfying.

Plant Protein

Many of us are reducing the amount of animal protein in our diets for our health and that of our planet. And one of the smartest ways to get plenty of plant-based protein and reduce water intake is to cook with legumes (beans, lentils, and chickpeas), which require minimal water to grow. One of the benefits of legumes is that they provide a substantial amount of protein, along with a healthy dose of fiber, all in an easy-to-carry package. And when you buy them canned, there’s minimal prep, making them a superstar pantry staple!

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Lauren Salkeld

A breakfast burrito is about as easy to make as scrambled eggs. Throw a cup of black beans into a burrito with 2 tbsp grated Mexican cheese blend, dress it with salsa and you have a 20g protein breakfast in minutes. And don’t forget the hummus! It’s great on toast and can help boost your protein intake, with ¼ cup serving for 4g of protein.

Hummus

Kara Birnbaum / TODAY

Walnut seeds

Other plant protein powerhouses include nuts and seeds. While almonds are best for nuts at 6g per 1 ounce serving, peanuts (a legume) come in at just over 7g per serving. Swirling a tablespoon of nut butter in a bowl of oats or spreading it on a slice of toast is a great way to add a protein boost to any breakfast. For a breakfast that gets you 24-26g, you’ll want to spread 1 tbsp nut butter on 2 slices of high-protein bread (like Dave’s Killer Bread Good Seed or Ezekiel Bread). Who says toast isn’t a good breakfast option?

Almond butter

Alamy

Blend up a rich, delicious breakfast with Natalie Morales’ Easy Protein-Rich Breakfast Smoothie. It combines the protein power of peanut butter, flax seeds and protein powder for an even more awesome start to your day.

Natalie Morales High Protein Breakfast Smoothie

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protein powder

Protein powders are ubiquitous these days. There is no doubt that your Instagram feed is full of advertisements for various plant-based or whey protein powders. Once you find one you like, it’s a really convenient way to boost your morning protein levels.

For people like me who eat breakfast after training, the Workout Recovery Smoothie, with 25g of protein, is a great choice. This protein will help repair any micro tears that may have occurred during your sweat session. You can also use protein powder to give oatmeal, muffins, oatmeal and pancakes a boost.

Workout Recovery Smoothie

Mitch Mandel / Smoothies and Juices

You have plenty of options for a hearty, high-protein breakfast. Here’s how to make the most important meal of the day your most filling meal too!