19 High Protein Breakfasts That Keep You Full
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 leading dietitian Toby Amidor. "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.
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 foods for a high-protein breakfast
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
Read on to discover nearly three weeks' worth of mouthwatering high-protein breakfasts 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!
Greek Yogurt Parfait
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.
Black Bean Omelet
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.
Plant-Based Cashew Butter & Raspberry Smoothie
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: 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.
Breakfast Bento Box
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."
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
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.
Smoked Salmon Sandwich
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.
Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
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.
Spinach and Ham Quiche
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.
Peanut Butter and Banana Oatmeal
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.
Chorizo Breakfast Burrito
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: 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.
Overnight Chia Pudding
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.
Egg Sandwich With Pastrami and Swiss
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.
Smoked Salmon and Boursin Cheese Frittata
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.
Artichoke Feta Quiche
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.
Savory Chickpea Pancakes
Protein Punch: 20 grams
You'll Need: Canned chickpeas, extra virgin olive oil, yellow onion, rosemary, salt, mushrooms and asparagus
This Italian recipe eschews any sugar in place of a savory take on breakfast. You might call them pancakes, but the Italians call this recipe Farinata. Set your oven to 450 degrees. Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet with a tablespoon EVOO and half a diced onion to heat up. In a blender, blend a can of garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) with a pinch of salt. Once the pan is hot, pour chickpea batter directly into the pan on top of the onions (similar to what you'd do with a Dutch baby pancake). Sprinkle with rosemary and cook for about 10 minutes, turn the broiler on and toast the top for another 3 minutes. When it's ready, serve with sauteed mushrooms and asparagus. One bite and you'll be whipping up this high-protein breakfast every weekend.
But switching to chickpea flour from wheat flour has other health benefits, too. According to a recent study in Food Hydrocolloids, chickpea products could improve the way your body controls blood glucose levels, which is an efficient way to lower your risk of diabetes or to managing the condition.
Peanut Butter Overnight Oats
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.
Peanut Butter and Banana Toast with Chia Seeds
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!