One of the biggest challenges to eating enough protein at breakfast is either not liking eggs or getting tired of eating them every day. That’s why we teamed up with dietitians and nutrition experts to learn exactly what high-protein breakfasts that aren’t eggs they recommend. You can find these products at the store right now and start fueling your mornings with more balance.
As a dietitian, I’ve been accused of being the “protein police,” and while I understand that everybody seems to be harping on the benefits of protein, it is for good reason. Protein helps keep us full, stabilizes our blood sugar levels, and can even reduce cravings at night. In particular, protein at breakfast tends to be an important part of setting yourself up for success for the day. Some research even shows that a high-protein breakfast can reduce hunger and cravings at night and reduce the overall energy intake we consume in a day.
The best high-protein breakfasts that aren’t eggs, according to experts
While sausage is delicious, eating it every day can rack up some serious calories and saturated fat that may not support your health. Applegate makes a delicious chicken sausage that is lower in total fat and calories compared to traditional options. I love their chicken maple sausage for a quick, high-protein breakfast side that you can microwave and eat in a pinch.
Previously known for their chickpea pasta products, Banza has released a high-protein, high-fiber frozen waffle line. With 10 g of protein per serving of two, these are hard to beat compared to traditional waffles. Try topping this with a drizzle of peanut butter, Chia seeds, and honey for a balanced breakfast that contains everything you need for long-lasting energy: protein, fiber, and healthy carbs.
Cottage cheese is having a moment, and I love it as a protein base for your breakfast. It’s a fantastic high-protein food that’s perfect for breakfast, adds Lindsey Janeiro, RD of Nutrition to Fit and Healthy*ish Recipes. “Good Culture’s low-fat cottage cheese contains a whopping 14 grams of protein per half-cup serving,” she adds. “One of my favorite things about using cottage cheese at breakfast is how versatile it is: You can scoop it over whole grain toast, enjoy it sweet with fruit or savory with marinated tomatoes, stir it into scrambled eggs, or blend some into a smoothie. You can also buy individual containers of cottage cheese for a convenient, on-the-go protein source.”
These almond flour-based protein pancakes are easy to make ahead and have a plant-forward, protein-packed breakfast option ready to heat up in the mornings. “A serving size of these plant-based pancakes will add 11 grams of protein to your morning meal. They are also a good source of potassium and iron, providing 10 percent of the daily value of each nutrient,” says Kiran Campbell, RD.
If you like Lox, you can enjoy the benefits of a protein-packed breakfast option with the added benefit of healthy fats for your heart. “One of my favorite savory breakfast meals is smoked salmon, with a smear of mashed avocado, on top of a toasted whole wheat bagel,” offers Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and board-certified sports dietitian. “Smoked salmon is ready to eat, provides a high-quality source of protein, is loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3s DHA and EPA and immune-supporting vitamin D.”
“I always choose wild sockeye salmon out of Alaska, as it’s guaranteed to be wild and sustainable, and sockeye tends to have more vitamin D than other types of salmon,” she says. “Just consuming a bagel with cream cheese for example doesn’t pack enough protein to keep you full for longer, but when you add smoked salmon on top, you bump up your protein at that meal, will stay full for longer, and reap its nutrient-dense benefits at the same time.”
Sometimes you just want a bowl of cereal in the morning, but you don’t want to feel hungry right after eating. High-protein cereals offer the perfect solution to enjoying your favorite comfort breakfast foods without the sugar crash.
Look for brands that contain at least 8g of protein per serving and are made from a variety of whole grains, nuts, and seeds for added fiber, says New Jersey based dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES, author of 2-Day Diabetes Diet. For example, Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Organic Sprouted Grain Cereal incorporates almonds, pulses, and sprouted grains for a nutrition-packed breakfast with 8g of fiber per serving, she adds.
With 26g of protein per serving, you can’t go wrong with a premade protein shake that tastes like chocolate milk. Fairlife makes its drinks from real milk that it filters until it’s low in carbohydrates and high in protein. The best part? The taste!
Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein in the morning as an alternative to eggs. Great in smoothies, yogurt bowls, or on its own if you’re in a pinch, Oikos Pro contains more protein than most yogurt brands on grocery shelves.
“It’s packed with 20g of high-quality dairy protein which is a lot for a little 5.3 oz cup, says Amanda Blechman, RD, CDN, director of health and scientific affairs at Danone North America. “I love it as an easy and convenient breakfast addition, and I like to add some granola and nuts for crunch, plus berries for a little added nutrition without any prep.”
Kodiak has made a name for itself in the breakfast foods grocery aisle with products like its protein pancake mixes and frozen protein waffles. Their Oatmeal Power Cup offers a solid 14g of protein that you can quickly heat up in the microwave when you just add water.
“These single-serve oatmeal cups are made with 100-percent rolled oats and added pea protein and whey protein isolate for more protein,” explains Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND award-winning nutrition expert and Wall Street Journal best-selling author of Up Your Veggies: Flexitarian Recipes for the Whole Family. It’s a perfect breakfast to tote to work, bring to a hotel, or even a college dorm.” In addition to the 14g of protein, each cup provides 230 calories and 4g of fiber, she adds.