03 Apr 7+ High-Protein Breakfasts to Kickstart Your Day
A high-protein breakfast can help you kickstart your day with enough energy to smash your workouts, accomplish your goals, and make it to lunch without getting hangry. Protein is essential for a healthy breakfast, with benefits ranging from controlling your cravings to helping your muscles grow.
If you’re looking for some easy high-protein breakfast ideas to make sure you’re getting plenty of protein, you’ve come to the right place. Along with meal options, we’ve highlighted the benefits of adding protein to your morning meal and some tips for keeping your nutrients balanced.
High-Protein Breakfast Ideas: 7 Options You’ll Actually Crave
Starting your day with a protein-packed breakfast doesn’t have to be a headache. We’ve highlighted seven easy breakfast options you can make quickly in the morning or prep in advance to save time. And if you want to pack extra protein into your day, you can pick one idea for breakfast and another for brunch.
Keep reading to find the perfect options to increase your protein intake — whether you’re eating keto, low-fat, or gluten-free.
1. Frittata or Quiche
Frittatas and quiches are an ultra-easy and tasty way to add protein, fiber, fats, and nutrients to your breakfast. If you break it down, a frittata is scrambled eggs poured over the filling and baked until the eggs are set, and quiche is the same thing on top of a crust. You can make either one in a cast-iron skillet, a pie pan, or a muffin tin. (On-the-go egg muffins, anyone?)
Here are some ways to customize your frittata or quiche:
- Add chopped veggies like bell peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onion, garlic, broccoli, or spinach
- Add more protein sources like feta, ricotta, or cottage cheese, lean meats, tofu, or grains like quinoa
- Use egg whites instead of whole eggs for a low-fat option
- Instead of a homemade crust or pie crust, use a tortilla as the crust for your quiche
Tip: You might want to make your frittata or quiche the night before to save time, as they take 30-45 minutes to cook.
2. Omelet or Scramble
Omelets and scrambles offer another quick and easy way to whip up a high-protein breakfast. You can use whole eggs, egg whites, and vegan egg substitutes for either option. If you’re making scrambles, you can also opt for a tofu scramble. This is an excellent low-carb, vegan, or keto option that won’t take long to make in the morning, especially if you chop ingredients the night before.
Here are some ways to customize your omelet or scramble:
- Add chopped veggies like bell peppers, spinach, kale, sweet potato, and scallions
- Boost the protein content with lean meats, meat substitutes, or cheese
- Serve as a breakfast bowl with black beans or chickpeas on the side for extra protein and fiber
- Serve with sliced avocado for a dose of healthy fat
- For a scramble, use whole-grain tortillas to make tacos or a breakfast burrito with a scramble; for an omelet, slice in half and serve between toast for a breakfast sandwich
3. Yogurt or Cottage Cheese Cup
A yogurt or cottage cheese cup is a healthy breakfast option that tastes a bit like dessert. You can top Greek yogurt or cottage cheese with fruits and grains for a quick and easy breakfast or layer in ingredients for a parfait-style treat. If you like meal prep, you can make multiple yogurt or cottage cheese cups in advance to make breakfast even quicker.
Here are some ways to customize your yogurt or cottage cheese cup:
- Add your choice of chopped fruit, berries, nuts, seeds, applesauce, jam, frozen fruit, dark chocolate, or cacao nibs for flavor and nutrients
- Serve with a bagel or a piece of toast topped with peanut butter, cream cheese, or mashed avocado
- Layer or top with healthy, sugar-free granola for extra fiber
4. Protein Pancakes or Waffles
Many pancake and waffle recipes incorporate protein powder for extra protein. You can make these high-protein breakfasts reasonably quick in the morning, but they’re also great for meal prep if you make them the night before. Bonus: You can serve them with other high-protein options on top or the side to pack more protein into your breakfast.
Here are some ways to customize your pancakes or waffles:
- Use a sugar-free berry compote instead of syrup to keep your breakfast healthy
- Top with ricotta, peanut butter, cream cheese, fresh fruit, nuts, or seeds for flavor
- Serve turkey sausage, avocado toast, or hard boiled eggs on the side
5. Protein Smoothie or Shake
Protein smoothies and shakes are classic high-protein breakfast options that make good use of protein powders and supplements. You can make them quickly using a blender or shaker bottle and customize them however you want.
Here are some ways to customize your protein shake or smoothie:
- Add ingredients like nut butter, frozen fruit, chia seeds, ground flaxseed, cocoa powder, cinnamon, sea salt, or tart cherry extract for extra nutrients and flavor
- Use oat, soy, or almond milk and plant-based protein powder for a vegan protein shake
- Serve as a high-protein combo by adding hardboiled eggs or a bagel topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon on the side
If you want to make something different from your usual high-protein breakfast, try shakshuka. This North African dish is made with poached eggs simmered in seasoned tomato sauce, and you can customize it however you’d like. Since the eggs are poached, they’ll have less fat than fried eggs without sacrificing protein.
Here are some ways to customize your shakshuka:
- Use whatever veggies and seasonings you have on hand to make this an easy, day-to-day recipe
- Add ground sausage or chickpeas to the tomato sauce for an extra source of protein
- Serve with a whole grain bagel or a couple of slices of toast for more fiber
7. Overnight Oats or Chia Seed Pudding
This high-protein breakfast is a meal prepper’s dream — overnight oats and chia seed pudding let you prep grab-and-go breakfasts in advance. Whether you’re using chia seeds or oats, you can add high-protein ingredients to oats and get your macros right.
Here are some ways to customize your oats or chia seed pudding:
- Add chopped fruits like apples, bananas, and mangos, or frozen berries
- Mix in protein powder, cottage cheese, nut butter, or Greek yogurt for extra protein
- Top with granola, nuts, or seeds for extra fiber and healthy fats
- Flavor with ingredients like cinnamon, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, sea salt, or tart cherry extract
Tip: Try making your overnight oats or chia seed pudding in mason jars so they’re portable and easy to seal.
Other High-Protein Breakfast Ideas
Eating the same thing every morning gets boring, so be sure to mix things up to keep it interesting and diversify the nutrients you’re feeding your body. Here are some more high-protein breakfast ideas to help you create a meal plan you’ll love:
- Egg and sausage sandwich on a whole-grain bagel
- Avocado toast topped with fried eggs and veggies
- Bagel topped with cottage cheese
- Egg, meat, and potato breakfast burrito
- Savory oatmeal topped with egg
- Leftovers from dinner (e.g., chicken and brown rice, lean beef with potatoes, etc.)
- Protein bars
- BLT sandwich with turkey bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, and an optional egg for more protein
- Turkey bacon and fried eggs
Benefits of High Protein Breakfasts
Eating a high-protein breakfast is associated with a range of health benefits. And it’s not just for bodybuilders and athletes — everyone can enjoy the perks of a balanced breakfast with plenty of protein. Here are some of the benefits of a high-protein breakfast:
- Increased muscle mass and muscle health
- Higher energy expenditure
- Improved satiety and less frequent cravings at night
- Fewer blood sugar spikes
These benefits can help those looking to lose or maintain weight thanks to the effect on satiety, cravings, and energy expenditure. Plus, they’ll help individuals maintain or increase muscle mass thanks to increased muscle growth and health. Stabilizing blood sugar is good for everyone because it reduces the risk of health problems like heart and kidney disease and may improve your mood.
Focus on Bioavailability
Eating a high-protein breakfast is essential if you’d like to take advantage of these health benefits. Still, you’ll want to consider bioavailability if you rely on protein supplements instead of whole foods. Protein bioavailability refers to your body’s ability to absorb and deliver protein to various systems. Non-optimized protein powders often have low bioavailability, meaning you might not actually get the protein you see on the label.
To ensure you get supplements with high bioavailability, choose protein powders that use Ingredient Optimized (io) proteins. These optimized protein supplements are formulated for higher bioavailability so your body can absorb more protein from every serving.
Balance Protein with Fats and Carbs
A nutritious breakfast is more than protein-rich foods — your body also needs healthy fats and carbs to get going in the morning. You’ll want to base the grams of protein, fats, and carbs on your personal meal plan. If you don’t have a meal plan, a dietitian can help you figure out the right balance for your goals.
If you’re not sure how to balance your breakfast, you might start with the following recommendations from the Institute of Medicine:
- Carbohydrates: 45%-65% of calories
- Protein: 10%-35% of calories
- Fat: 20%-35% of calories
Use a nutrient or calorie calculator to keep track of the calories you eat each day and what percentage of them comes from each of the three main macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fats). It’s best to ask your doctor or dietitian for advice on how many calories you should eat daily based on your health, weight, and goals.
Mix It Up and Start Your Day Strong
With so many high-protein breakfast options, try new things and mix it up when possible. For example, if you prefer protein supplements, you might experiment with different flavors and recipes that use protein powder.
You could alternate between Chocolate Brownie ioWhey Protein and Banana Bread Plantein and Snickerdoodle Clean Meal for your protein shakes. Or you could use them in pancakes, waffles, overnight oats, chia seed pudding, and other dishes so you’re never stuck eating the same thing week after week.
Remember to look for supplements that use proteins formulated with Ingredient Optimized powders. Here’s an overview of where to find io products to make it easier to find what you want and help your body use the protein it needs.