Whether you’re a food tracker or not, it’s no secret that getting adequate protein is crucial for satisfying meals and overall health. You may have also heard that including protein at every meal is important. Skipping protein throughout the day and consuming a large portion of it during dinner won’t yield the same benefits as evenly distributing protein intake across all meals and snacks. Breakfast offers a great opportunity to sneak in extra protein and start the day off right.
Interestingly, eating sufficient protein in the morning is especially important. Marisa Moore, RDN, explains that a protein-packed breakfast not only leaves you satisfied but may also help curb hunger throughout the day.
Now, how much protein should you aim for at breakfast? “Protein needs vary based on factors like height, weight, physical activity, and health status,” says Moore. As a general guideline, healthy, sedentary adults should aim for 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily. Active individuals, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those on a diet may require more. Ideally, each breakfast should include at least 15 grams of protein, with most meals ranging from 20 to 30 grams.
Boosting protein content in breakfast can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. While eggs are an easy option, here are eight creative ways to sneak more protein into your morning meal:
Boost Your Smoothies:
Smoothies are a fantastic way to incorporate protein. Add Greek yogurt or cottage cheese to your morning blend for thickness and creaminess without unnecessary sugar. Nonfat Greek yogurt adds tanginess to fruity green smoothies and packs about 17 grams of protein per 6-ounce serving. Nonfat cottage cheese transforms berry-based smoothies into cheesecake-like treats, providing about 20 grams of protein per 6 ounces.
Greek yogurt and cottage cheese work well with both sweet and savory ingredients. Pair them with fruits, nuts, granola, or even pesto for a satisfying and versatile breakfast. Try serving leftover roasted veggies over Greek yogurt with a dollop of pesto or top cottage cheese with chopped heirloom tomatoes, basil, and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Opt for Overnight Oats:
Traditional oats lack protein when prepared with water or minimal milk. Opt for overnight oats made with protein-rich Greek yogurt, resulting in a creamy and satisfying consistency. Customize your overnight oats with different fruits, nuts, seeds, and sweeteners. You can also try spiced apple overnight oats with 21 grams of protein, enriched with almond butter and walnuts.
Add Protein Powder:
If you enjoy protein powder, it’s an effortless way to enhance protein content in oats and smoothies. Pair it with flavorful ingredients to avoid an overpowering taste. Coffee-infused overnight oats provide an extra caffeine kick and 21 grams of protein. Smoothies with pineapple, coconut, or cocoa make excellent candidates for a scoop of protein powder.
Try Liquid Egg Whites:
If you prefer warm oatmeal over overnight oats, here’s a trick. Cook your stovetop oatmeal as usual, then stir in 1/3 cup of egg whites for every 1/2 cup of oats. Heat everything together until the mixture thickens, resulting in a fluffy texture without altering the flavor.
Give Tofu a Shot:
Scrambled tofu is a fantastic egg substitute for vegans or anyone seeking a breakfast variation. Add vegetables and swap cheese for nutritional yeast, which provides umami flavor and protein with fewer calories than traditional cheese. Golden tofu scramble with turmeric offers 20 grams of protein per serving and adds a delightful twist to your morning.
Make Grab and Go Egg Muffins:
Egg muffins are quick, heat-and-eat breakfast options. Mix beaten eggs or egg whites with veggies, cheese, meat, quinoa, herbs, and pour the mixture into a muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes at 375°F (191ºC). Cooked egg muffins can be refrigerated for up to four days and reheated or enjoyed cold. Explore different flavor combinations and enjoy hassle-free breakfasts.
Think Outside the Breakfast Food Box:
Don’t limit yourself to traditional breakfast foods. Feel free to have leftover fish or chicken with vegetables or experiment with unconventional breakfast options. Protein from meat can have a place in your morning routine. Explore diverse breakfast choices and embrace the most important protein source out there.
By incorporating these tips and recipes, you can easily boost your protein intake at breakfast and enjoy a healthy start to your day. Remember, a protein-packed breakfast sets the tone for overall satisfaction and supports your fitness goals. Start your morning right by sneaking in that extra protein and experiencing the benefits of a well-rounded breakfast.