The benefits of having enough protein in your diet are well known – you’ll feel full longer and may even lose weight. You’ve probably heard that a protein-packed breakfast helps keep you feeling full and stabilizes your blood sugar. But maybe you’re not sure if your current breakfast isn’t helping. For a food or drink to be considered “high protein”, it must contain 20% protein. For example, if breakfast contains 400 calories, this would mean that it must contain 20 grams of protein to be classified as high protein. These breakfasts may seem difficult, but you can easily find them if you know what to look for.
Eggs, the typical breakfast food, not only contain protein, but also contain essential nutrients, including choline for brain health and vitamin D for immunity. One medium egg contains 6g of protein in just 60 calories. And don’t miss the yolk! Nearly half of an egg’s protein is found in the yolk, as well as plenty of nutrients, including vitamin B12 and immune-supporting zinc. Eggs are endlessly versatile: they can be omeletted, boiled, boiled, fried, baked, and more. What’s more, eggs provide the most budget-friendly form of animal protein.
Probably the easiest way to make sure you’re getting around 20g of protein for breakfast is to put two eggs on your plate. Omelettes are a great way to make sure you’re not only getting the benefits of protein, but you’re also getting the veggies and fiber you need. This vegetarian omelet with cheese, spinach and cauliflower contains 20 g of protein and about 2 g of fiber.
Francis Largeman-Roth, RDN
Ever since it hit the market in the early 2000s, Greek yogurt has become a go-to item for those looking for protein. You can top Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, muesli and a dash of honey, or add it to a smoothie for an invigorating morning shake. One 5.3 oz cup of Greek yogurt will give you 11 g of protein, as well as at least 100 mg of bone-strengthening calcium. Add an ounce of almonds to it and you get an extra 6g, bringing you closer to your 20g goal. If you want to reach the top of that protein ladder, add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to a bowl of Greek yogurt.
Greek yogurt isn’t the only choice in the dairy department to be trusted for protein. Cottage cheese leads the way when it comes to the amount of protein it provides per serving. A half cup of cottage cheese boasts 15 to 16 grams of protein in a tiny 90 calories. Top with an ounce of toasted walnuts for an extra 4g, giving you just what you need to start your day right. Add fresh berries for more fiber and important nutrients. You can also use cottage cheese as an ingredient to boost the protein content of your favorite breakfasts like pancakes and waffles.
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
While bacon makes everything better, it’s actually not a great source of protein, gracing your breakfast plate with just 6g of protein per two slices. You’ll do better if you choose two classic breakfast sausage patties, which have 10 grams per two patties. Or you can opt for a plant-based option like Beyond or Impossible, which will net you 11g and 12g respectively for two patties. You can top these patties with egg or yogurt to reach the 20g mark.
Is it possible that your favorite New York deli could be a source of protein? Indeed, a bagel with sesame seeds, a slice of cream cheese and 2 ounces of lox smoked salmon contains 25 g of protein. If you’re looking to cut calories, you can always wrap salmon in a tortilla, but I can’t guarantee it will be as filling.
Many of us are reducing the amount of animal protein in our diets for both our health and the health of our planet. And one of the smartest ways to get plenty of plant-based protein and cut back on water is to cook with legumes (beans, lentils, and chickpeas), which require minimal water to grow. One of the benefits of legumes is that they contain a significant amount of protein as well as a hefty dose of fiber, all in a wallet-friendly package. And when you buy them canned, there is minimal preparation, making them a superstar pantry staple!
Breakfast burritos are as easy to make as scrambled eggs. Add a cup of black beans to a burrito with 2 tablespoons of shredded Mexican cheese, season 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: ¼ cup serving contains 4g of protein.
Kara Birnbaum / TODAY
Other plant protein powerhouses include nuts and seeds. While almonds are the best for nuts at 6 grams per 1 ounce serving, peanuts (legumes) have just over 7 grams per serving. Adding a tablespoon of nut butter to a bowl of oatmeal or spreading it on a slice of toast is a great way to add protein to any breakfast. For a breakfast that gives you 24 to 26 grams, you need to spread 1 tablespoon of nut butter on 2 slices of high protein bread (such as Dave’s Killer Bread Good Seed or Ezekiel bread). Who said toast isn’t the best breakfast option?
Prepare a hearty and delicious breakfast with Natalie Morales’ Easy Protein-Packed Breakfast Smoothie. It combines the protein power of peanut butter, flax seeds and protein powder for a great start to the day.
Powdered protein is ubiquitous these days. No doubt your Instagram feed is full of advertisements for various plant- or whey-based protein powders. Once you find one that you like, it will be a very convenient way to boost your morning protein levels.
For people like me who eat breakfast after a workout, the Workout Recovery Shake with 25g of protein is a great choice. This protein will help repair any micro-tears that may have occurred during a sweat session. You can also use protein powder to boost the effect of oatmeal, muffins, oatmeal, and pancakes.
Mitch Mandel / Smoothies and Juices
You have many options for a hearty, protein-rich breakfast. Here’s to making the most important meal of the day also the most satisfying!