8 High-Protein Breakfast Ideas

A protein-packed breakfast can satisfy your appetite and help you eat healthier all day long. Here’s how to make your favorite morning meals more nutritious and more filling.

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Your morning meal may not contain enough protein.

Your morning meal may not contain enough protein.Stockbyte/Thinkstock
According to interesting research published in the International Journal of Obesity, participants who ate a protein-packed breakfast ate 26 percent fewer calories at lunch than those who ate a calorically identical meal with less protein. The nutrient helps your gut release peptide YY, a hormone that nudges your brain to realize, “Hey, I’m full.” The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein for women over age 19 is 46 grams; for men, it’s 56 grams. Here are easy and delicious high-protein breakfast ideas.

Basic breakfast: Bowl of cereal with milk

Basic breakfast: Bowl of cereal with milk  Happy Hemp
High-protein idea: Some cereals are loaded with protein, and some have very little. Some good options: Kashi GoLean Original, which has 13 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber per serving; Bear Naked Fit Almond Crisp, which has 7 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber; and Barbara's Bakery High Fiber Original, which has 5 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber per serving. See a list on FitSugar.com of healthy options that contain at least 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber per serving. For even more of a boost, sprinkle an ounce of dry-roasted sunflower seeds for 5 more grams of protein as well as the anti-aging vitamin E.

Basic breakfast: Egg and cheese on a roll

Basic breakfast: Egg and cheese on a roll  Hemera/Thinkstock
High-protein idea: Choose a breakfast burrito with beans, or try this easy recipe from HuffingtonPost.com for 25 grams of protein in your morning meal from the eggs and beans. Fill a corn tortilla with two scrambled eggs, 1/4 cup diced sautéed onions, and 1/4 cup of black beans. Then top with a tablespoon of pico de gallo (or more to taste).

Basic breakfast: Butter or jelly on toast

Basic breakfast: Butter or jelly on toast iStock/Thinkstock
High-protein idea: Swap butter for 2 tablespoons of peanut butter or almond butter, which adds about 8 grams of protein to your meal. Since processed nut butters can be sneaky sources of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients, look for a super-short ingredient list (like the nut, and maybe some salt, according to SELF.com).

Basic breakfast: Yogurt

Basic breakfast: Yogurt iStock/Thinkstock
High-protein idea: Trade a 6 ounce nonfat yogurt for a Greek yogurt version to get in about 6 more grams of protein per serving (for a total of 14 grams). Make your breakfast even healthier by adding fiber-rich berries to naturally sweeten your meal, and sprinkle on seeds, nuts, or high-protein, high-fiber cereal to increase the amount of protein even more.

Basic breakfast: Oatmeal made with water

Basic breakfast: Oatmeal made with water iStock/Thinkstock
High-protein idea: Swap water for skim milk (8 grams of protein per cup) and sprinkle on some chopped nuts to help you feel full until lunch. Try this apple walnut oatmeal from USNews.com: Cook 3/4 cups of dry oatmeal with 1 1/4 cup of skim milk. Add 1 chopped apple and 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with honey. Total: 24 grams of protein.

Basic breakfast: Smoothie with milk or yogurt

Basic breakfast: Smoothie with milk or yogurt iStock/Thinkstock
High-protein idea: Swap the milk and yogurt in your smoothie for kefir, a cultured probiotic beverage (like drinkable yogurt). One cup of plain nonfat kefir contains 11 grams of protein, more than the 9 grams in one cup of nonfat plain yogurt and the 8 grams in one cup of nonfat milk. 

Basic breakfast: Homemade muffin

Basic breakfast: Homemade muffin iStock/Thinkstock
High-protein idea: Try baking these High-Protein Banana Oat Muffins from MensFitness.com, which contain 8 grams of protein per muffin. (Did we mention they are also less than 100 calories and have only one gram of fat?) It’s a much healthier alternative to bakery muffins, which can have anywhere from 300 to 500 calories per serving and are usually high in fat, sugar, and sodium. To further amp up the protein of your homemade goods, spread a split muffin with a tablespoon of peanut butter (for 4 more grams of protein) and enjoy it with a cup of fat-free milk (for 8 additional grams).

Basic breakfast: Banana on the run

Basic breakfast: Banana on the run iStock/Thinkstock
High-protein idea: Nothing beats a banana for grab-and-go portability, but add a protein-rich dairy source, like a single-serving cup of cottage cheese, and you’ll add a whopping 28 grams of protein to your morning meal. Cottage cheese is also a good way to sneak in some calcium and vitamin A.

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