Are you working towards a weight loss goal and seeing no results? What about starting an exercise routine and seeing no gains? Well, you’ll probably see the most success by starting off your day with a high-protein breakfast.
“Most folks get in their protein during lunch and dinner and forget about breakfast,” says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian on our medical expert board. “This means you’re cutting out an important food group that not only provides the macronutrient protein, but also many nutrients that often come with it.”
Considering Americans at all phases of life are under-consuming iron as well as fiber, the benefits of starting your day off with protein go beyond protein itself, says Amidor.
She also points out that protein takes longer to digest and therefore makes you feel more satiated. “Adding protein to your breakfast can help get you through that mid-morning hunger since it can help keep you feeling fuller for longer,” Amidor notes.
And research supports the notion that a high-protein breakfast aids weight loss. One study found that participants who ate a high-protein breakfast with just 12 grams of protein lost more weight than the group that consumed a low-protein breakfast.
To reap the same weight loss benefits, we discuss the benefits of a high-protein breakfast, the best protein breakfast foods, and high-protein breakfast recipes that all have more than 12 grams of protein per meal, making them filling breakfast ideas.
The benefits of eating a high-protein breakfast
What kind of benefits are you looking at when you start your day with a protein-packed meal? For starters, protein is filling. As your body breaks down protein into amino acids, one of these amino acids (phenylalanine) triggers an increase in levels of the gut hormone peptide YY. This hormone then sends a signal to the brain that you’ve eaten your fill, enhancing satiety as well as promoting weight loss.
That’s not all. Protein also slows down the body’s absorption of carbohydrates, which helps keep blood sugar levels even-keeled. Not only does this reduce hunger, but it also wards off fat storage to help you get toned.
The best high-protein breakfast foods
The best high-protein breakfasts start with protein-rich foods. Our recipes below feature high-protein breakfast foods such as:
- lean pork or chicken sausage
- turkey bacon
- black beans
- Greek yogurt
- cottage cheese
- nut butter
- protein powder
- low-fat cheese
- smoked salmon
- chia seeds
Read on to discover nearly a month’s worth of mouthwatering high-protein breakfast ideas that deliver exactly what your body needs for breakfast. Combine that with these best-ever ways to boost your metabolism and you’ll reach your body goals in no time!
Protein Punch: 24 grams
You’ll Need: Greek yogurt, Ezekiel bread, capers, red onion, baby greens, tomato, smoked salmon, salt and pepper
Instead of scarfing down a 400-calorie bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, switch to a slice of protein-filled Ezekiel Bread (it has 4 grams of protein per slice) that’s smothered with Greek yogurt and topped with your favorite bagel toppings—including smoked salmon! This simple yet tasty combo will give you 24 grams of protein for a fraction of the calories! It doesn’t get much better than that.
Get our recipe for our Smoked Salmon Sandwich.
Protein Punch: 21 grams
You’ll Need: Frozen blueberries, sugar, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, white whole wheat flour, lemon, baking soda, salt
Using yogurt and cottage cheese to make these pancakes does two things: It brings extra protein to the breakfast table, and it helps produce the lightest, moistest pancakes you’ve ever tasted. Plus, once you try this simple and healthy blueberry compote, you’ll never go back to lackluster syrup again. Can you think of any maple syrup that’s grocery or farmer’s market bought that’s also a superfood? Exactly—case closed.
Get our recipe for Protein-Packed Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.
Protein Punch: 10 grams
You’ll Need: Frozen pie shell, olive oil, garlic, spinach, cooked ham, shredded swiss or Gruyère cheese, eggs, milk, half-and-half, salt, nutmeg
The quiche is the ultimate culinary chameleon. Not only can you make it with dozens of different flavor combinations, but it’s also as good for breakfast with a cup of coffee as it is for dinner with a glass of red wine. Plus, between the eggs, the cooked ham, and the shredded cheese, this quiche is protein-packed for your morning.
Get our recipe for our Spinach and Ham Quiche.
Protein Punch: 14 grams
You’ll Need: Oats, salt, bananas, peanut butter, almonds, agave syrup
We love this oatmeal with peanut butter and banana recipe for its good-for-you ingredients. It makes a healthy morning meal you can have ready in minutes. Adding two tablespoons of peanut butter to this recipe gives this oatmeal bowl the protein boost you’re looking for in the morning.
“One tablespoon of peanut butter provides about 90-100 calories, 4 grams of protein, and 8 grams of fat. Much of the fat is the heart-healthy unsaturated kind which also helps you feel full along with the protein,” says Amidor.
However, the quality of your peanut butter will also make a huge nutritional difference. Amidor recommends looking for the real deal made from peanuts and salt and skipping the reduced-fat varieties which tend to have the same calories or contain added sugars and artery-clogging saturated fats.
Get our recipe for Peanut Butter and Banana Oatmeal.
Protein Punch: 41 grams
You’ll Need: Eggs, milk, chorizo, black beans, shredded taco cheese, avocado, salsa, burrito shells, hot sauce
Breakfast burritos (or breakfast tacos) tend to have the same types of ingredients. Scrambled eggs, maybe some small bits of potato, and typically a few slices of bacon. But you know what takes that burrito to the next level? Swapping out the bacon for chorizo. For an even more protein-packed breakfast, choose a high fiber whole grain wrap, like those from Angelic Bakehouse. Their 7-Grain Sprouted Grain wraps are only 100 calories and boast 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.
Get our recipe for Chorizo Breakfast Burritos.
Protein Punch: About 19 grams
You’ll Need: Eggs, turkey breast, tomato, guacamole, your cheese of choice, and a whole wheat English muffin
This high-protein breakfast sandwich is so delicious you’ll want to chow down on it every single morning. You’ll get about 6 grams of protein from the eggs, a little over 5 grams from the turkey, about 3 in a slice of American cheese, and 5 grams in these whole wheat English muffins.
Get our recipe for Sunrise Sandwich.
Protein Punch: 10 grams
You’ll Need: Chia seeds, coconut milk, nonfat Greek yogurt, maple syrup, salt, fresh mango, coconut chips, macademia nuts
When you’re sick of plain yogurt, try chia pudding. The dish provides an easy, spoonable way to get tons of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. And did we mention there are a ton of different ways to flavor this basic recipe? It practically guarantees you’ll never tire your taste buds.
Get our recipe for Overnight Chia Pudding.
Protein Punch: 26 grams
You’ll Need: Sweet potato, green bell pepper, eggs, turkey sausage, olive oil, and paprika
This hash is packed full of protein and flavor from the sweet potatoes and sausage, and it’s easy to reheat later on in the week. If you plan on using leftovers, just set the hash aside before adding the eggs and place the leftovers in the fridge. If you aren’t a fan of turkey sausage, chicken sausage is a great alternative as well.
Get our recipe for Turkey-Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash.
Protein Punch: 24 grams
You’ll Need: 2% Plain Greek Yogurt, fresh strawberries and blueberries, sugar, mint leaves, granola
Not only is this recipe great for breakfast, but it’s so decadent, you could even enjoy it for dessert! The protein in this recipe comes from two sources: the homemade granola contains 4 grams of protein per serving while 7 ounces of Greek yogurt contains 20 grams of protein.
“Greek yogurt has double the protein compared to traditional yogurt due to the straining process,” says Amidor. “In addition, it is low in lactose and a fermented food which provides live, active cultures that may act as probiotics and keep the gastrointestinal system healthy.” All the more reason to dig in!
Get our recipe for Greek Yogurt Parfaits.
Protein Payout: 24 grams
You’ll Need: Black beans, eggs, feta cheese, salsa, avocado, cumin, lime, hot sauce, salt, pepper
Use up that can of black beans and benefit from their high-protein content with this easy-to-make southwest omelet. This recipe makes about four servings, so if you’re just cooking for one, simply prep the ingredients and cook an omelet in the morning to start your day on the right foot. To reap the most flab-incinerating benefits, be sure to consume the entire egg—not just the whites. The yellow is filled with choline, a nutrient that has been proven to reduce body fat and BMI.
Get our recipe for Black Bean Omelets.
Protein Punch: 15 grams
You’ll Need: Frozen raspberries, cottage cheese, cashew butter, Pacific Foods Cashew Original Plant-Based Beverage, a scoop of protein powder for weight loss
Yep, you can have your favorite childhood sandwich without the bread! This satiating smoothie is a great on-the-go breakfast option that’s reminiscent of a PB&J sandwich. It packs a powerful punch of protein, fiber, essential fats, and vital nutrients that support good health. Not to mention, berries are one of the best sources of polyphenols—a group of fat-blocking compounds.
Get our recipe for our Plant-Based Cashew Butter & Raspberry Smoothie.
Protein Punch: About 21 grams
You’ll Need: Corn tortillas, eggs, canned black beans, tomato, onion, garlic, chipotle pepper, cilantro, lime, and cumin
Huevos Rancheros is a traditional Mexican dish that can provide you with a protein boost, especially for those who are looking for a meatless dish. You’ll get the majority of your protein from the black beans and eggs, but most popular corn tortillas come with a couple of grams as well.
Get our recipe for Huevos Rancheros.
Protein Punch: 22 grams
You’ll Need: 1 hard-boiled egg, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 ounce almonds, berries, cucumbers
If you don’t like to eat first thing in the morning, a bento box is a great option. It allows you to graze through the early hours and offers up a solid dose of energy. Simply pack up a hard-boiled egg, half a cup of cottage cheese (with some cucumbers for dipping), half an ounce of almonds, and a side of berries to hit the nutritional mark.
“Cottage cheese is an underappreciated food,” says Amidor. “One-half cup of low-fat cottage cheese contains 90 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 16 grams of protein—that’s as much protein as you’ll find in two ounces of cooked chicken! All that protein means a small serving will keep you feeling full because protein takes longer to digest.”
Here’s How to Make Hard-Boiled Eggs.
Protein Punch: 30 grams
You’ll Need: Eggs, ham, whole wheat English muffins, salsa, butter, low-fat jack or cheddar cheese
Start with the ultimate breakfast bread—the fiber-dense whole-wheat English muffin—as your base and salsa as your sauce, then add eggs, ham, and cheese for flavor, substance, and plenty of protein. It beats an 800-calorie breakfast sandwich any day, and you get to tell everyone you know that you had pizza for breakfast.
Get our recipe for Breakfast Pizzas.
Protein Punch: 18 grams
You’ll Need: Frozen banana, pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, vanilla extract, flax seeds, almond milk, plant-based protein powder
Skip the pumpkin spice latte and whip up this filling smoothie. Protein powder does most of the heavy lifting in this high-protein breakfast.
Get our recipe for our Pumpkin Spice Smoothie.
Protein Punch: 5 grams
You’ll Need: Cashew butter, maple syrup, whole wheat bread, red apple, ground cinnamon
Need a quick high-protein breakfast you can throw together before heading out the door? Let nut butter—like cashew butter—do the work for you. Simply spread it on a piece of whole-wheat toast and top with an apple for a sweet and savory breakfast that still gives you that protein boost you’re looking for.
Get our recipe for Maple-Cashew-Apple Toast.
Protein Punch: 27 grams
You’ll Need: Butter, pastrami, eggs, milk, salt, pepper, low-fat Swiss cheese, whole-wheat English muffins
While most breakfast sandwiches are filled with protein-packed meat, that doesn’t always mean those ingredient choices are the best in terms of calories or even your daily energy. In this recipe, we choose our ingredients with more care. The combination of pastrami and Swiss has long been confined to the realm of the lunchtime deli counter, but we think it works beautifully with soft scrambled eggs—especially because pastrami trounces both sausage and bacon in the calorie department. Give it a try.
Get our recipe for our Egg Sandwich With Pastrami and Swiss.
Protein Punch: 10 grams
You’ll Need: Eggs, 2% milk, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, turkey or chicken sausage, salt, pepper, frozen pie crust
Most quiches suffer the burden of excessive amounts of heavy cream and cheese. This quiche dispenses with the heavy dose of dairy fat and instead gets its flavor and substance from antioxidant-dense sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and lean protein-packed chicken sausage.
Get our recipe for Artichoke Feta Quiche.
Protein Punch: 12 grams
You’ll Need: Rolled-cut oats, milk, peanut butter, maple syrup, chia seeds
Need an easy protein-packed breakfast for those busy mornings when you’re on-the-go? Overnight oats are perfect for that! This easy peanut butter overnight oats recipe is versatile. Top it with whatever toppings you want—fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, and whatever else your heart desires. We have even more options with our list of overnight oat recipes!
Get our recipe for Peanut Butter Overnight Oats.
Protein Punch: 22 grams
You’ll Need: Ezekiel toast, peanut butter, chia seeds, honey, banana
Elvis would be proud. Not only does peanut butter’s high protein content help you gain muscle mass, but eating the legume may also help boost your metabolism. To make our favorite sandwich, divide 3 tablespoons of peanut butter between two slices of toast. Top with sliced banana, a teaspoon of chia seeds, and lightly coat with honey. Eat it at home or take it on the go!
Protein Punch: About 16 grams
You’ll Need: Eggs, Andouille sausage, mushrooms, goat cheese, onions, chives or scallions, and olive oil
Frittatas are easy to make and personalize based on your flavor preferences. This one in particular uses Andouille sausage, a classic French sausage found in a lot of cajun recipes. If you’re looking for a bit of a leaner protein or are trying to watch you red meat consumption, you can replace the Andouille with a turkey sausage, or this Smoked Andouille Chicken Sausage.
Get our recipe for Sausage and Mushroom Frittata.
Protein Punch: 25 grams
You’ll Need: Red potatoes, cremini mushrooms, banana peppers, onions, Italian seasoning, Italian-style chicken sausage, kale, asiago cheese, and eggs
This Italian Hash is the perfect savory, high-protein breakfast for those days when you need a bit of extra fuel to get by. The combination of chicken sausage, eggs, potatoes, and cheese give you 25 grams of protein with very little added sugar, and you’ll also get a boost of fiber from the kale and other veggies.
Get our recipe for Italian Hash.
Protein Punch: 16 grams
You’ll Need: Eggs, garlic, chicken broth, kale, olive oil, pork, fennel seeds, cayenne, thyme, dried sage, onion powder, garlic powder
If you’re following a Keto eating plan, or simply want a lower-carb way to start your day, this egg, sausage, and kale combo is the perfect protein boost for you. It may require a bit of work at the beginning to prepare the pork sausage, but the results are worth it. Plus, you can pop these in the fridge or freezer for a quick breakfast at any time.
Get our recipe for Frizzled Eggs and Sausage.
Protein Punch: 22 grams
You’ll Need: Cloud bread, Monterey Jack cheese, no-sugar added bacon, guacamole, and salsa or pica de gallo
Needing to go low-carb doesn’t have to mean the end of your favorite breakfast sandwich. This high-protein breakfast uses homemade cloud bread (click the recipe to learn how to make it), bacon, cheese, and guacamole to give you the mouth-watering flavors of a breakfast sandwich, but without the carb-heavy bread.
Get our recipe for Keto Breakfast Sandwich.
Protein Punch: About 23 grams
You’ll Need: Cassava Tortillas (or other grain-free tortillas), eggs, canned black beans, Lightlife Plant-Based Ground, onion, red bell pepper, cheddar cheese.
You can go grain-free and plant-based and still pack in enough protein for breakfast. This recipe uses cassava tortillas, which have 1 gram of protein, and Lightlife Plant-Based Ground “meat,” which packs in 20 grams of protein per serving! This goes to show that while chicken or turkey sausage is a great way to get protein in the morning, you don’t always have to turn to meat products to reach your protein goals.
Get our recipe for Grain-Free Breakfast Burrito.
Protein Punch: 27 grams
You’ll Need: Field Roast Chef’s Signature Burger, avocado, egg, tomato, and onion
Speaking of high-protein plant-based products, the Field Roast veggie burger comes with 21 grams per patty. You can leave this recipe as is and go bun-less, or you can add in a whole grain bun like this one for more protein and a boost of fiber as well.
Get our recipe for Breakfast Veggie Burger.
Protein Punch: About 17 grams
You’ll Need: Asparagus, smoked salmon, goat cheese, eggs, fat-free milk, and butter
Eggs are such a great way to get a protein-packed start to your day, but making plain scrambled eggs can get old after a while. Thankfully this recipe gives you a boost of protein in a unique way, especially if you have some smoked salmon in the fridge that you don’t know what to do with.
Get our recipe for Salmon Scrambled Eggs.
Protein Punch: 16 grams
You’ll Need: Eggs, 2% milk, light sour cream, kosher salt, pepper, diced red onion, light Boursin cheese, smoked salmon, extra-virgin olive oil, chives
It’s no secret that eggs are the classic protein-packing breakfast many people turn to each day to kickstart their morning. While mastering the art of creating the perfect scramble is always commendable, there are plenty of other ways to cook up eggs for an even more filling meal. That’s where our smoked salmon frittata with Boursin cheese comes into play. This recipe is easy to make and ready in just a few minutes.
Get our recipe for Healthy Smoked Salmon and Boursin Cheese Frittata.
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, build muscle, or simply just have enough energy to conquer the day without hunger pangs distracting you, starting off the day with a protein-packed breakfast is key. With the help of some key high-protein breakfast foods—like Greek yogurt, nut butters, low-fat meats, cottage cheese, and more—you can get at least 20 grams of protein in before the clock strikes noon. Keep these protein breakfast ideas bookmarked to have filling breakfast ideas at the click of a mouse!