Eggs aren’t your only option.
People who eat protein-rich breakfasts have a lot going for their health. Along with improved insulin sensitivity, they’re more likely to have more balanced glucose levels. Plus, they’re often leaner than those who don’t eat breakfast, says Melanie Murphy Richter, M.S., R.D.N., and instructor of nutrition physiology at University of California Irvine.
“We go through a mini fast every night when we sleep. When we fast, our bodies tap into the glucose stores from our liver and our muscles to maintain our energy while we sleep. This means that our body will inevitably dip into our muscle reserves to maintain our energy while we sleep,” she says.
Eating a protein-rich breakfast within the first hour or two of waking will ensure that you are preserving your lean body tissue, which in turn helps you to lose weight and improve your overall body structure. Consuming enough protein first thing in the morning will keep you more full and satisfied throughout the day.
That means less excess snacking—which balances overall blood sugar levels to keep moods stable, and reduces overall cravings, especially for sugar and sweets. “Studies have shown that participants who ate a high protein breakfast were also more likely to have reduced visceral fat (weight that develops around the center of the body), which has been strongly linked to an increase in chronic disease including obesity, insulin resistance, heart disease and overall metabolic syndrome,” says Murphy Richter.
Plus, it’s best to spread our protein intake throughout the day rather than forcing it all in at lunch and dinner. It “helps to ensure that we meet our protein needs and that we are supplying a steady stream of protein over the course of a day,” says Rima Kleiner, M.S., R.D. Protein helps to keep blood sugar—and, therefore, energy—levels stable.
To help, we’ve rounded up 20 high protein breakfast ideas to supercharge your day.
Turmeric smoked salmon breakfast bowl
Rima Kleiner, M.S., R.D., blogger at Dish on Fish calls this meal a hearty and tasty way to break your nighttime fast.
“It is loaded with dietary fiber from quinoa, protein from the smoked salmon and eggs, anti-inflammatory properties from the turmeric, and heart-healthy fats from the salmon, avocado and hemp seeds,” she says. “Thanks to all the nutrient-rich foods in this breakfast, this bowl is a great way to set the tone early for a healthy day.” Get the recipe here.
Protein banana pancakes
“These delicious banana protein pancakes can be whipped together in the blender in a matter of minutes for a quick and easy breakfast,” says Elysia Cartlidge, R.D., a dietitian and blogger at Haute & Healthy Living. “With 20 grams of protein for four pancakes, this recipe makes for such a filling and satisfying breakfast that you’ll definitely want to eat on repeat!” Get the recipe here.
Take a whole grain wrap, add two eggs, two slices of avocado, some cheese, greens, and hot sauce. Easy.
Apple pie overnight oats
These oats have seven grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein, to keep you feeling full and satisfied all morning long.” Grab the recipe here, and if you like it as part of your regular breakfast rotation, try swapping in different fruits like bananas or blueberries for a different flavor profile to keep things interesting.
Flatbread breakfast panini
“A breakfast with 29 grams of protein? Yes, please,” says Amy Gorin, R.D., dietitian and owner of Plant-Based Eats in Stamford, Connecticut. “This easy breakfast sandwich gets its protein from eggs and mozzarella. Plus, you get veggies for extra nutrients, including filling fiber.” Get the recipe here.
That’s 1 serving of Mary’s Gone Crackers Super Seed Everything Crackers with ½ cup of sliced cherry tomatoes, ½ cup of sliced cucumber, and 1 cup cottage cheese.
“I love a good bagel and cream cheese, but it really messes with my blood sugar due to the glycemic load and I feel really hungry just an hour after I have it,” says Morey, who recommends this combo “to get a similar but more sustaining experience.” Here, she swaps a bagel for whole grain crackers and cream cheese for cottage cheese, which is higher in protein than cream cheese. And “add some fresh tomato and cucumber to start [the] day with some bonus veggies.”
Protein oats with nuts and berries
Oatmeal is a fantastic heart-healthy breakfast with plenty of fiber, and adding a few key ingredients can really up the protein content. “Take your morning meal to the next level with these power protein oats, filled with fiber, healthy carbs, and 17 grams of protein per bowl,” says Heather Mangieri, R.D., a dietitian based in Imperial, Pennsylvania. These oats have extra protein from milk, Greek yogurt, and peanut butter. Get the recipe here.
Per bowl: 270 calories, 10 g fat (1 g saturated), 35 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 17 g protein
Dairy-Free egg casserole with sausage and vegetables
If you want a flavorful egg breakfast without having to dirty a single pan in the morning, try a make-ahead egg casserole. “Fresh vegetables, lean turkey sausage, and eggs come together to create a savory and balanced meal,” says Chelsea Jackle, R.D., dietitian and blogger at Chelsea Dishes. This make-ahead dish is perfect for meal prep. Get the recipe here.
Copycat starbucks egg bites
Love those little sous vide egg bites from Starbucks but can’t justify spending so much on them every morning? Julie Kay Andrews, R.D., chef, dietitian, and blogger at The Healthy Epicurean, recommends making your own. “These easy, make-ahead copycat Starbucks egg bites are the perfect protein-filled breakfast,” she says. “3 cups contain 21 grams of protein. Add whatever veggies and meat you like, they’re totally customizable.” Get the recipe here.
Simple oatmeal protein cookies
Oatmeal cookies for breakfast? Yep! “Oatmeal protein cookies are easy, vegan, & gluten-free,” says Megan Byrd, R.D. blogger at The Oregon Dietitian. “Using peanut butter, flax, & cinnamon, they make a yummy, and healthy breakfast option.” Get the recipe.
Easy tofu scramble
“Tofu is a versatile source of plant protein that can be enjoyed at any meal, including breakfast,” says Jess DeGore, R.D., owner of Dietitian Jess Nutrition. “A tofu scramble can be customized with any seasonings and veggies while still packing protein and other beneficial nutrients.” Get the recipe.
Easy egg & crab muffins
Another seafood-centric breakfast from Kleiner. “Egg muffins are easy to prep ahead so they’re ready when you need to grab a healthy breakfast and go. These Easy Egg & Crab Muffins are rich in protein thanks to the egg, crab and cottage cheese, vitamin C from the red pepper and important nutrients like B vitamins and selenium in the crab,” she says. “Plus, they whip up in less than 30 minutes. If you’re looking for an easy-to-prep high-protein breakfast, these egg and crab muffins are a no-brainer. Perfect for a grab-and-go on the way to work or a post-workout snack, these muffins will fuel you up and keep you feeling fuller longer.” Get the recipe here.
Yogurt parfait with hemp hearts and berries
Murphy Richter calls this “a wonderful high-protein, vegan breakfast option that touts 25g of plant-based protein, tons of Omega-3 fatty acids to aid in optimal brain and skin health, as well as a big dose of antioxidants to support overall immunity and anti-inflammation.” She recommends using Siggi’s Coconut Yogurt with three tablespoons of Hemp Hearts plus a handful of blackberries and raspberries for a delicious start to your day.
Vegan breakfast bowl
Murphy Richter is a fan of this “incredibly fibrous and filling way to begin your day.” To make, Add ½ cup of black beans, ½ cup of cooked quinoa, ½ cup of sautéed zucchini and ½ cup of sautéed spinach with one tablespoon of olive oil. Add seasonings like salt, pepper, paprika or garlic powder for added flavor, says Murphy Richter.
Cashew protein energy breakfast balls
This is an “easy breakfast that you can prepare ahead of time,” says Murphy Richter. “They are not only filling and satisfyingly sweet, but also full of polyunsaturated fats and insoluble fiber for long-lasting energy,” she says. See the recipe here.
Vegan breakfast burrito
Craving a breakfast burrito that’s actually good for you? This vegan burrito is a great option for you if you want to bulk following the plant-based diet, says Ashley Harpst, R.D., owner of Go for the Gold Nutrition.
To assemble, combine ½ cup of black beans, 1 teaspoon of chili powder, ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ cup of extra-firm water packed tofu, drained, and crumbled, one tablespoon of cilantro, one tablespoon of sliced red onions, and two slices of avocado in one large flour tortilla. “The carbs and protein in this burrito are a great way to jumpstart your day with a satisfying meal and build muscle,” says Harpst.
Protein-Packed breakfast PB & J
For a “nostalgic” and “nutrient-dense” breakfast, Murphy Richter says to mash ½ cup of fresh mixed berries with one tablespoon of honey and one tablespoon of chia seeds until it’s a nice jelly consistency. Then spread around three tablespoons of peanut butter on two slices of sprouted Ezekiel bread, and top it with your jelly mixture plus one tablespoon of hemp hearts. This meal “supports muscle synthesis and sustained energy throughout the day,” adds Murphy Richter.
Potato power bowl
Harpst says the combination of vegetables and protein in this potato power bowl are balanced and filling. “The 20 grams of protein in this meal will help kick start the muscle-building process,” she adds. To make, combine one large potato, ¼ sliced avocado, two hard-boiled eggs, ½ cup of cooked edamame, ¼ cup of sliced red onion, ¼ cup of peppers, one teaspoon of black pepper, one 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon of salt.
Avocado toast with pumpkin seeds
For this protein-packed meal, mash ½ of a ripe avocado onto one slice of sprouted Ezekial bread. Add one tablespoon of raw pumpkin seeds, one tablespoon of hemp hearts, and a drizzle of lemon on top with paprika and salt.
“Feel free to add an egg on top for even more protein if you want,” says Murphy Richter, noting that this breakfast is filled with healthy fats, plant-based fiber and protein that is sure to keep you full for several hours, which keeps your mind sharp and your energy high.
Everything salmon and egg breakfast hand pies
For a great portable protein-rich meal, Kleiner suggests these hand pies. “Thanks to the salmon, eggs and cheddar cheese, one hand pie provides about 19.5 grams of complete protein,” she says. “An added bonus—the salmon provides a healthy dose omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart, brain, immune, eye and skin health,” she says, adding that you can whip up a batch of these ahead of time, freeze or refrigerate them, and then pop in the microwave when ready to eat. Get the recipe here.