34 High-Protein Breakfast Ideas for All-Day Energy, According to Dietitians

These options are packed with this macronutrient (and other essential vitamins and minerals!) you need to start your day.

high protein breakfast

If you find yourself hungry in the morning, then you probably already know how important starting your day with a high-protein breakfast is. It’s easy enough for most of us to get enough of the nutrient at lunch and dinner, but breakfast, meanwhile, is a different story. Considering bagels, cereal, and fruit-heavy smoothies don’t always pack a protein punch, you may be looking for some new high-protein breakfast ideas.

Even worse, if you skip your morning meal, you’re not getting any protein at all. Breakfast really is as important as it’s chalked up to be—and it’s a great way to fit extra protein into your diet. Here’s what to look for in high-protein breakfasts, plus how much you really need to power through your day.

Why is protein important at breakfast?

Protein makes you feel satiated and gives you the energy you need to function, making it ideal for the first meal of the day. When you eat in the morning, you’re essentially coming out of a multi-hour fast, says Danielle Levy-Wolins, R.D., in-house dietitian at meal-delivery service Thistle. Protein offers up long-lasting energy when we need it most, preventing our bodies from running on empty.

Eating protein in the morning can also affect overall health. “In numerous studies, a high-protein breakfast habit has been linked to weight management or weight loss,” says Cynthia Sass, R.D., C.S.S.D., a New York City- and Los Angeles-based performance nutritionist. “Protein is filling, and triggers the release of satiety hormones that blunt appetite.”

In other words, filling up on protein at breakfast may mean you eat less all day long, including in the evening. Protein also repairs and builds your muscles, boosts your alertness, and helps stabilise your blood sugar and insulin levels, meaning you’ll have the focus and energy to face the day, she adds.

How much protein do you need at breakfast?

The ideal amount of protein at breakfast is about 30 grams, according to a 2018 review by nutrition researchers at Purdue University. However, registered dietitians like Sass say that 15 to 20 grams at breakfast is a good goal for weight loss and hunger management. These meals are great if you want your looking for a filling meal that will help you stay energised all day. Just keep in mind your personal goals and calorie needs for the day. (For instance, do you have an intense workout scheduled? You may need to take in more calories.)

Levy-Wolins recommends starting with at least 15 grams of protein at every meal if you’re hoping to see results at the gym. An even intake of protein throughout the day “provides the most support of muscle mass maintenance,” she explains, pointing to a separate 2018 review. “This is equivalent to two hard boiled eggs or a half cup of oatmeal and 2 tablespoons of nut butter.”

Ready to start your day off right? If you’re looking for something more fulfilling then try one of these dietitian-approved high-protein breakfasts next time you’re tempted to reach for the cereal box.

high protein breakfast peanut butter banana pancakes recipe high protein breakfast

Mike Garten

  1. Peanut Butter-Banana Pancakes

Yep, a stack of pancakes can actually pack in protein. Fifteen grams of protein from peanut butter, combined with the fibre and nutrients from bananas, ensure that you’ll feel full until lunch. For an extra boost of protein, skip the syrup and serve with yoghurt and chopped nuts, plus extra bananas and honey.

Get the recipe from Prevention »

high protein breakfast blueberry mixed nut parfait


2. Blueberry-and-Mixed Nut Parfait

Fruit-forward breakfasts can actually be chock-full of protein. Just ask this simple parfait, which provides an unbelievable 22 grams of protein. Topped with nuts, seeds, and spices, it’s everything you could want in a morning meal.

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high protein breakfast sandwiches recipe
  • 3. Egg-and-Cheese Sandwiches

This breakfast staple packs in 19 grams of protein per serving—and it’s actually pretty easy to make at home. We especially like these morning sandwiches because they’re easy to make ahead and just reheat in the morning. They even freeze up to three weeks, meaning you can make a batch of these portable, protein-powered sandwiches well in advance.

Get the recipe from Prevention»

high protein breakfast idea millet breakfast bowl

4. Millet Breakfast Bowl

“This is perfect if you’re tired of oatmeal,” Jones says. Millet is an ancient whole grain that produces a hearty texture somewhere between oatmeal and rice pudding. It’s easy to find in most grocery stores, and topped with berries, mint, chia seeds, and sliced almonds, it’s an irresistible, healthy breakfast. (For extra protein, swirl in some protein powder or pair with an egg on the side!)

Get the recipe from Prevention»

high protein breakfast healthy mother's day brunch recipes

Brian Woodcock

5. Roasted Mushroom and Bacon Dutch Baby

Does anything beat a giant pancake topped with mushrooms, bacon, and herbs? We don’t think so. This brunch dish includes 15 grams of protein, but just 352 calories—a godsend for when you’re craving something rich that won’t ruin your lunch or dinner.

Get the recipe from Prevention»

high protein breakfast recipes salmon eggs

Charles Masters

6. Salmon Hash With Sunny-Side-Up Eggs

There’s a reason salmon shows up so many times on this list: On top of being loaded with protein, it’s also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and nutrients like vitamin B12. Paired with veggies and eggs, the result is a nutrition powerhouse, packing in a whopping 37 grams of protein at less than 400 calories per serving for this filling hash.

Get the recipe from Prevention »

high protein breakfast sheet pan egg tacos

Mike Garten

7. Sheet Pan Egg Tacos

Need to feed a crowd? These adorable little tacos can’t be beat for breakfast (or dinner, if you’d like). Just two of them pack 25 grams of protein, and your morning meal will be anything but boring. Tomatillos, jalapeño, sharp cheddar, fresh cilantro, and lime juice will certainly liven up your healthy weekend brunch.

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high protein breakfast shakshuka

8. Shakshuka

This Mediterranean breakfast staple comes together super quickly with just a few spices, fresh tomatoes, and protein-packed eggs. Each serving has 14 grams of protein, and serves the entire family right out of the pan. Just be sure to serve with some crusty bread for optimal dipping.

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high protein breakfast smoothie

9. Protein-Packed Smoothie

Many smoothies with just fruit are—delicious, yes, but not very filling or protein-packed. “To maximise protein and create more balance, add a scoop of protein powder,” Hultin says. Look for a protein powder with no more than 5 grams of sugar, Kubal recommends, and unsweetened is best since the fruit provides plenty of flavour. Throw in a handful of greens and some nut butter or hemp seeds for more protein and healthy fats.

Get the recipe from Prevention»

high protein breakfast grain bowl with sautéed spinach

Mike Garten

10. Grain Bowl With Sautéed Spinach

This nutrient-packed bowl is a stellar choice to start the day. Avocado, egg, grains, and tomato provide tons of protein, healthy fats, and fibre—not to mention an incredible 14 grams of protein per serving (add an extra egg to make it 20!).

Get the recipe from Prevention»

high protein breakfast tacos

11. Scrambled Egg and Bean Tacos

With 29 grams of the nutrient per two tacos (thanks to a delicious combo of eggs and black beans), this is one of the most protein-rich breakfasts on the list. And although they look like something you might order at an upscale restaurant, they take just 15 minutes to throw together.

Get the recipe from Prevention»

high protein breakfast pizza

Chris Court

12. Sunny-Side-Up Pizza

This breakfast pizza includes an impressive 22 grams of protein, breezing past the 15 to 20 for beginners suggested by Levy-Wolins. It’s got all the hallmarks of a great pie—melted Gruyère, sweet ham, crunchy crust—but with plenty of greens served right on top. It’s dinner for breakfast (or breakfast for dinner) done right.

Get the recipe from Prevention»

high protein breakfast overnight oats

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13. Overnight Oats

Next time you make your favourite overnight oats, stir in a scoop of protein powder, Levy-Wolins says. Combine the oats and plain or flavoured protein powder, then add water or unsweetened nut milk. Stir until well combined. Let the oats soak in the fridge until the morning, then top with berries, pumpkin seeds, or nut butter for an extra boost of protein.

high protein breakfast omelette with avocado

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14. Avocado Omelet

Eggs are a no-brainer for protein. Sass suggests mixing in veggies and herbs and topping with avocado for healthy fats, which will boost the satiety factor. Using three eggs will give you about 19 grams of protein, so fold in some cheese, black beans, or meat if you want to get closer to 30 grams

high protein breakfast pudding or smoothie with chia seeds, vegetarian food

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15. Chia Seed Pudding

Chia seeds are loaded with fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, and they’re even a complete vegetarian protein. Still, only one tablespoon of chia seeds gets you less than 5 grams of the muscle-building nutrient, so amp up your morning chia with soy milk and crushed almonds to get closer to 15 grams. To boost protein (and thickness!) even further, stir in your favourite protein powder.

high protein breakfast raspberries with cottage cheese

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16. Cottage Cheese Bowl

Cottage cheese is a great start to the day. Half a cup of 1 percent cottage cheese has 14 grams of protein and only about 80 calories, so one portion is super protein-packed. “Combine with chopped or shredded veggies like spinach, bell pepper, tomatoes, zucchini, and red onion, and mix with EVOO-based dairy-free pesto. Chill overnight and grab to go in the a.m.,” Sass says. If you prefer a sweeter breakfast, top with fibre-rich berries instead.

high protein breakfast oatmeal

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17. Amped-Up Oatmeal

By itself, oatmeal isn’t high in protein. But you can easily increase that amount. “Make it with one cup of nonfat or low-fat milk, 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter, and chia seeds,” says Keri Gans, R.D.N., nutritionist and author of The Small Change Diet. Add some berries or a banana on top if you crave something sweet in the morning.

high protein breakfast diner breakfast

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18. DIY Diner Breakfast

“Some mornings I find myself craving a traditional ‘egg platter’ type of meal that you find in most diners,” says Georgia Rounder, R.D.N., C.D.N. To make your own (without the grease some diners cook in), she suggests scrambling two eggs and cooking a link of organic chicken sausage. Toast a slice of whole-grain bread topped with jam, add a cup of joe, and you have a DIY diner meal.

high protein breakfast sweet potato

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19. Sweet Potato With Nut Butter

Sweet potatoes with two tablespoons of nut butter are a delicious, low-calorie dish—especially during brunch. “With the sweet potato, you’re getting a great source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals,” says Jerlyn Jones, R.D.N., L.D., owner of The Lifestyle Dietitian. “Always look for unsalted nut butter.” For even more protein, sprinkle them with seeds, cheese, or other toppings.

high protein breakfast tofu scramble

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20. Tofu Scramble

Perfect for vegans and meat-eaters alike, tofu can mimic eggs with a little doctoring up. “Crumble a block of tofu in a pan and scramble it like you would eggs, adding your favourite veggies, herbs, and spices for flavour,” says Ginger Hultin, R.D., a Seattle-based spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Half of the recipe gives you about 22 grams of protein. Extra-firm tofu tends to work best, and if you have time to press it first, go for it. Your scramble will still be yummy if you don’t press it, though.

high protein breakfast coconut milk sweet quinoa porridge

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21. Breakfast Quinoa

Although you can have it savoury in the morning too, quinoa also makes a good sweet breakfast if you’re sick of oats. “This whole grain contains 12 grams of protein in just 1/2 cup uncooked,” says Hultin, who recommends adding in more protein by topping with nuts, seeds, and soy milk (which contains about 8 grams in one cup). Plus, it’s fairly quick to cook, or you can make it the night before and reheat in the morning.

high protein breakfast greek yogurt

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22. Greek Yoghurt Parfait

With 20-plus grams of protein per cup, there’s good reason this thick, creamy yoghurt is a go-to breakfast. “Yogurt parfaits are hands-down one of my favourite high-protein breakfasts,” Rounder says. She tops plain, full-fat Greek yoghurt with whatever toppings she’s in the mood for—usually a combination of walnuts (for added protein and healthy fat), berries (for fibre), a few spoonfuls of granola (for crunch), and a drizzle of honey (extra sweetness!).

high protein breakfast egg muffins with spinach and bacon

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23. Egg Muffins

Muffins don’t have to be loaded with sugar and empty carbs. Rethink your omelette so you can take it on the go and make egg muffins, says dietitian Amy Kubal, R.D.N. Since one egg has about 6 grams of protein, mix in some turkey or ricotta cheese in addition to veggies, she adds. If you’re eating at home, you can also top them with cottage cheese or Greek yoghurt and salsa for extra protein and flavour.

high protein breakfast breakfast burrito

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24. Breakfast Burrito

Jones is a fan of breakfast burritos because they’re so easy to customise. All you really need is eggs and whole-grain or corn tortillas, and anything else you add is up to you. She loves to add black or pinto beans for a boost of protein, plus any vegetables you happen to have, including tomatoes, spinach, peppers, onions, and sliced avocados.

high protein breakfast toast with avocado and egg

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25. Egg and Avocado Toast

Avocado toast is still trendy, but just toast and avocado don’t add up to a ton of protein. An easy solution: Add two eggs, cooked however you like. “Throw them on top of a piece of whole-grain bread, avocado, and some Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel Seasoning for an extra kick,” Rounder says.

high protein breakfast mango banana smoothie bowl

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26. Non-Dairy Yoghurt Parfait

Greek yoghurt enjoyed its time in the spotlight, and now there are many plant-based yoghurts that have a good amount of protein. For instance, there’s Kite Hill’s almond milk “Greek” yoghurt with 11 grams of protein and Silk’s plain soy milk yogurt alternative with 10 grams of protein. “Aim for an unsweetened variety so you can mix in your own fruit,” Hultin says. “Then maximise protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids by adding in flax, chia, or hemp seeds.”

high protein breakfast mixed green salad

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27. Breakfast Salad

It’s not a traditional morning meal for most Americans, but a salad is great any time of day and helps you get in those veggies first thing in the morning. “Stir an EVOO-balsamic dressing into canned wild salmon. Place the salmon over a bed of greens along with a scoop of lentils and a sprinkle of chopped nuts,” Sass suggests. Plus, it’s easy to prep the night before if you want to take it on the go.

high protein breakfast roasted potato breakfast bowl

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28. Potato and Black Bean Breakfast Bowl

Craving something savoury in the morning? Jones recommends a breakfast bowl with a base of roasted sweet potato and any kind of beans (with plenty of seasonings like curry or nutmeg), which is bursting with plant-based protein and fibre. Add avocado, blood orange, spinach, nuts, or anything else that sounds good to you.

high protein breakfast cinnamon and sugar toast with cottage cheese

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29. Cottage Cheese Toast

Switch up your morning slice by topping whole-grain bread with a few spoonfuls of cottage cheese instead of your go-to cream cheese or avocado. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon, a drizzle of honey, and a handful of nuts for extra crunch and protein. This combo is super versatile, so if you prefer savoury toast, you can top it with veggies and nuts instead.

high protein breakfast farmer's cheese with fruit breakfast

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30. Farmer’s Cheese With Fruit

This is one of the easiest breakfasts to prepare, on top of being rich in protein and flavour. “Farmer’s cheese is a type of cheese that’s low-fat, low-calorie, and has a firmer texture than cottage cheese,” Jones says. “It’s also packed with probiotics.” To add some natural sweetness and fibre, top it with fresh blueberries, mango, papaya, or other fruit.

high protein breakfast mini breakfast pizzas


31. Mini Breakfast Pizzas

This is a great portable, protein-packed breakfast option. “All you need is a whole-grain English muffin, eggs, pizza sauce, shredded cheese, and maybe some oregano,” Jones says. Scramble the eggs, pile your toppings onto the English muffin, and pop it in the oven for a few minutes.

high protein breakfast homemade bagel and lox with cream cheese and dill

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32. Bagel With Lox

A bagel breakfast doesn’t have to be carb overload. It’s all about portions and proper toppings. “Top either half a whole-wheat bagel or whole-grain crackers with smoked salmon, a tablespoon of whipped cream cheese, capers, and some salt and pepper for a high-protein breakfast that always hits the spot,” Rounder says.

high protein breakfast lentil soup breakfast

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33. Breakfast Lentil Soup

Outside of America, Jones says, soup is a common breakfast, especially for those who prefer a savoury, filling start. Use either dry or canned lentils as a base, and add chopped carrots, chopped celery, chickpeas, fire-roasted tomatoes, herbs, and anything else you’d like in the mix. Jones especially loves a high-fibre lentil soup because the lentils will keep you full until lunchtime.

high protein breakfast toast with salmon

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34. Salmon Avocado Toast

If you’re not in the mood for eggs, try 100 grams of smoked salmon, or lox, which has about 20 grams of protein. “Top 100 percent whole-grain bread with tofu-scallion cream cheese, lox, avocado, and diced red onion and tomato,” Gans suggests.

From: Prevention US

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