By Isadora Baum
Your morning meal will either fuel or drain you based on how many nutrients you’re able to get within those few hours after waking up before your day truly begins. A high-protein breakfast can keep you fuller for longer and give your brain a boost. If you are tired of eating eggs, Non-eggy options include Greek yogurt with higher protein granola, high protein smoothies, or breakfast bowls made with oats or quinoa. Muffins are a portable option that make it easy to walk out the door energized and ready to tackle the day. For those following vegan or mostly plant-based styles of eating, plant-based protein are your friend.
Getting protein early in your day is definitely important. Kelly Jones MS, RD, CSSD, LDN. said “…many American breakfasts are low in overall energy and protein.” This is vitally important all the time, but, especially on a busy work day. “ While everyone is different, by starting your day with adequate energy and protein, you may be able to feel fuller for longer and build more regular eating patterns the rest of the day, potentially limiting overeating at night.” she said.
Here are a few ideas for a healthy breakfast that will keep your blood sugar stable and packs in protein, all without eggs.
“If you don’t eat scrambled eggs or are looking for a similar option to change things up, try a tofu scramble. Crumble firm tofu and sauté with some garlic powder, turmeric, a squeeze of lemon and fresh herbs before pairing with your favorite fruit,” says Jones. It can be just as delicious as an egg-based frittata or scramble. Try slicing tofu and filling a whole grain or grain-free wrap. With the addition of some avocado and perhaps a few crunchy veggies or fruit, some black beans you’ve got breakfast burritos. Make sure they are wrapped and folded at every end, so you can eat as a morning meal on-the-go.
Tofu makes for a quick high protein breakfast option for those who don’t eat animal protein and need a plant protein source. It’s also a good low carb option too.
Getting tired of Greek yogurt? Swap it out for another high protein breakfast food. “Cottage cheese packs in 12-13 grams of protein per half cup and is an easy vehicle for fruit and a sprinkle of your favorite granola or whole grain cereal to offer an easy on-the-go breakfast option,” says Jones. Plus, whether or not you go for a full fat or low fat option, you will still get a good source of protein and calcium.
Greek yogurt offers probiotics to improve gut health, so try Greek yogurt in a smoothie with a scoop of protein powder, fruit (fresh or frozen), and veggies like carrots or spinach, too. For a dairy-free yogurt smoothie, try almond milk Greek yogurt, which offers 12 grams of protein per serving, says Jones. “Add it as your protein source with a morning smoothie or stir in your favorite protein rich cereal,” she says. Be sure to read the yogurt’s label since there is a large variation of protein in alternative yogurts.
Oats and Peanut Butter
“Oat(meal) made with soymilk and topped with a tablespoon… of nut butter.” The most common addition is peanut butter but most nut butters are a good option too, but so many have lower protein than peanut butter. Add a tablespoon of and hemp hearts, (and you) will clock in at around 18 grams of protein,” says Jones. a tablespoon of chia seeds is another option that has healthy fats, too. “Not bad for an option you can throw together in a minute and let sit overnight in the fridge, or microwave in minutes,” she says.
Add peanut butter to a smoothie or to muffins for a high protein meal that’s portable and easy to make in bulk for meal prep in the week. You can mix it with sweet fruit like blueberry or banana for more fiber and antioxidants, as well as flavor.
Yes, you can and should enjoy fish for breakfast. “Smoked salmon is often forgotten unless you’re eating it on a bagel from a deli, but you can keep it on hand at home to pair with high fiber toast and avocado,” she says. Both the smoked salmon and the avocado offer healthy fats to fill you up for longer and better your heart health, too, she says. Spread extra-thick Greek yogurt on the toast and top with lox for a healthier version of a bagel and lox.
Protein Powder for a Smoothie
“Protein powder can have a place in a healthy diet when you’re looking for a quick protein boost as you’re running out the door,” Kelly says. However, she does not recommend protein powder as your regular, go-to option.
She suggested that for protein powders, you read the ingredients in detail. “Just choose options that are 3rd party tested to ensure they don’t contain banned substances,” she said. “ Look out for artificial sweeteners and flavors on the ingredient lists,” she explains. Whey is the common option available for protein powders but if you cannot tolerate lactose, get GI discomfort or simply don’t like whey, try soy based protein powders, or dried egg white based or go for a plant source, like pea protein powder, which has become increasingly popular.