The #1 Best High Protein Breakfast, Says Dietitian
Ever feel like you eat breakfast but end up feeling hungry again by 11 a.m.? It might be because you're not eating the right breakfast. If you look down at your bowl, and it's full of rice cereal, or you check out what you're holding in your hand and it's a bagel with butter, those are both signs that you're going to be hungry again in a couple of hours—maybe even less.
That problem can be solved with just one change: add a little protein. Protein isn't just useful for building muscle, it can also support satiety and keep you full for much longer. But if you're new to protein-rich breakfasts, you may need a little direction for what to make to get the most of your meal. That's why we asked Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian nutritionist for Zhou Nutrition and member of our Eat This, Not That! Medical Expert Board, for her favorite high-protein breakfast, and she said eggs. Yes, eggs!
"They're a classic breakfast food for good reason: Eggs are an economical and nutritious choice that gives breakfast a natural boost of nutrients," she says.
Why the best high-protein breakfast is eggs.
Eggs are inexpensive and nutrient-dense. Remember that old advertising campaign that proclaimed eggs as "the perfect food?" It wasn't far off the mark.
At only 70 calories each, these nutrition bombs are loaded with cell-strengthening vitamins and minerals, and good fats, as well as 6 grams of muscle-repairing/building protein. With no sugar and zero carbs, eggs pretty much check all the boxes for a top-notch weight-loss food.
What's more, "eggs help promote satiety," says Manaker, "and the data show that energy intake following an egg breakfast is significantly less versus consuming a non-egg breakfast."
The research Manaker points to is a 2020 Australian study where overweight and obese people were given one of two breakfasts, either eggs and toast or cereal with milk and orange juice, over the course of two days separated by a week. The researchers found that when the participants ate the egg breakfast, they consumed around 300 calories less at lunch than the cereal eaters did. The high-protein eaters also reported feeling less hungry four hours after the meal than when they breakfasted on mostly carbohydrates. Also, their cravings for sweets were greatly reduced after the high-protein meal.
How to have a balanced high-protein breakfast.
Manaker says her go-to breakfast is an omelet made with two eggs, sauteed vegetables, and cheese. "Since only 1 in 10 Americans meet the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables, finding ways to get veggies into a meal is always a good idea," she says. "And the cheese adds some additional protein along with bone-building calcium."
Manaker rounds out her breakfast with whole-grain toast, which adds fiber and carbs, a cup of green tea for caffeine and antioxidants, and ½ of a grapefruit for key vitamins like folate and vitamin C. But eggs are the star of breakfast because they are so full of nutrition, including nutrients that are often under-consumed. One nutrient Manaker says 90% of Americans don't get enough of is choline. "Egg yolks are one of the best sources of this nutrient which supports brain health."
What about yogurt?
Manaker also prefers eggs over that other breakfast staple: yogurt.
"Greek yogurt is a source of protein and calcium, and it does contain live cultures which support gut health, but many of the foods added to Greek yogurt can be low in nutrients or high in calories," she says. "Additions like granola and honey can make a good-for-you food like Greek yogurt become a sugar bomb."
If you would like to grab a yogurt, make sure it's one of these 15 Best Low-Sugar Yogurts, Approved by Dietitians.
For more healthy eating news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read this next: