20 High-Protein Breakfast Ideas


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Most Americans aren’t getting enough protein at breakfast. That’s a problem, according to the American Society for Nutrition, which says that high-protein breakfasts are associated with a long list of benefits, including improved muscle health, weight loss, and blood sugar control. “Although breakfast may be the most frequently skipped meal in America, it continues to live up to its reputation as the most important meal of the day,” food science expert Aubree Hawley writes for the organization. 

But hitting 20 to 30 grams of protein in the morning is hard. That’s where we come in with 20 protein-rich breakfast options, featuring affordable and nutritional superstars like eggs, greek yogurt, and nut butter.

Note: We’ve pulled nutritional information directly from each recipe when available. Actual values will vary.

Scrambled eggs, omelets, delicious morning breakfastPhoto credit: Maria_Lapina/istockphoto

1. Scrambled Eggs

Calories: 251 | Protein: 15 grams

We’ll start with an affordable classic that’ll provide a protein boost no matter how it’s prepared: scrambled eggs. But if you want your scramble to taste great — in addition to furnishing 6 grams of protein per egg — follow this top-rated recipe, which uses half-and-half and herbs to elevate this breakfast staple.

Recipe: BellyFull

Breakfast BurritoPhoto credit: Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

2. Healthy Breakfast Burrito

Calories: 321 | Protein: 20.3 grams

A breakfast burrito is a cheap, self-contained protein vessel that you can prepare ahead of time, making it a great choice for rushed commuters. This variation has a good balance of meat, veggies, eggs, and egg whites, packing just over 20 grams of protein per burrito. And like any good recipe site, Kim’s Cravings includes ideas for vegetarian and gluten-free modifications.

Recipe: Kim’s Cravings

Woman making healthy breakfast in kitchenPhoto credit: alvarez/istockphoto

3. Easy Vegan High-Protein Breakfast Bowl

Calories: 580 | Protein: 23 grams

You don’t have to eat meat or dairy to hit your protein goals. Exhibit A: This plant-based bowl is a protein-packed breakfast that relies on oats, soy milk, nuts, and seeds to provide 23 grams of protein per serving. It also comes together in just five minutes.

Recipe: 2sharemyjoy

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omeletPhoto credit: karma_pema/istockphoto

4. High-Protein Zucchini Omelet for One

Calories: 283 | Protein: 31 grams

With a cup of veggies and a whopping 36 grams of protein per serving, this vegetarian-friendly omelet is a healthy, filling choice for a morning meal. As you might imagine, eggs and egg whites are the stars of the show here, though the dish is extra flavorful thanks to parmesan, red onion, and zucchini.

Recipe: Skinnytaste

Related: 13 Simple Ways to Cook Eggs

Shakshuka in pan on kitchen counter.Photo credit: Anastasia Dobrusina/istockphoto

5. Healthy Shakshuka

Calories: 342 | Protein: 21 grams

This North African poached egg dish is a breakfast classic in Israel. BBC Good Food’s healthy version packs a protein punch while also including plenty of vegetables, such as red onion, red pepper, and cherry tomatoes.

Recipe: BBC Good Food

Related: Start Your Morning Right: 25 Easy Breakfast Casseroles

Vegan banana with strawberry smoothiePhoto credit: Poly Isepan/istockphoto

6. Strawberry Protein Smoothie

Calories: 309 | Protein: 21 grams

If you don’t enjoy cooking and want a quick, healthy, and cheap protein delivery system, you don't have to reach for a protein bar. Instead, consider starting your day with a smoothie. This one has just a few ingredients — protein powder, milk, greek yogurt, and fruit — and yet it boasts 21 grams of protein. Of course, feel free to go rogue and make your own smoothie. Vegan? Substitute dairy products with plant-based alternatives. Need more protein? Add more protein powder.

Recipe: Feel Good Foodie

Related: 22 Easy Ninja Blender Recipes, From Soups to Smoothies

Sandwich with avocado and Poached Egg. Wholemeal Bread Toast sliced avocado and egg with cup of coffee for healthy breakfast or snack, copy spacePhoto credit: Koval Nadiya/istockphoto

7. Avocado Toast With Egg

Calories: 229 | Protein: 12 grams

Avocado toast doesn’t have to cost $15 a slice. If you make this simple dish at home, it’s a low-cost, healthy way to get protein, especially when you add an egg. Have two pieces to get 24 grams of protein.

Recipe: Skinnytaste

Egg muffins ( bites) and spinach leaves  in a plate on a gray backgroundPhoto credit: MurzikNata/istockphoto

8. Egg Bites With Bacon and Gruyere

Calories: 151 | Protein: 10 grams

Whether you need a high-protein snack or a healthy breakfast, this Starbucks copycat recipe will let you enjoy high-protein, low-carb egg bites without spending $5 every morning (even if the Starbucks egg bites are one of the healthier fast-food breakfasts out there). Just note that you’ll probably have to meal prep these, though luckily they save in the fridge for up to three days and in the freezer for up to two months.

Recipe: Once Upon a Chef

Hot 7 Grain Breakfast Cereal With Yogurt and Fresh FruitPhoto credit: LauriPatterson/istockphoto

9. Yogurt Bowl 

Calories: 331 | Protein: 40.5 grams

This isn’t your typical yogurt bowl. Thanks to a generous helping of protein powder, greek yogurt, and peanut butter, it’s got over 40 grams of protein. On top of bodybuilder levels of protein, you’ll benefit from healthy fats and a big dose of calcium.

Recipe: Eat the Gains

Healthy breakfast - cottage cheese with banana and berries in a bowl on the table.Photo credit: MurzikNata/istockphoto

10. Cottage Cheese Breakfast Bowls

Calories: varies | Protein: varies 

In a roundup of affordable meals, Budget Bytes serves up six ways to make cottage cheese breakfast bowls , all of which are affordable and full of protein. The recipes range from savory to sweet, with some based on fruits and others centering on vegetables and eggs.

Recipe: Budget Bytes

Peanut-butter banana oat smoothie on rustic wood with scattered ingredientsPhoto credit: jenifoto/istockphoto

11. Vegan Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

Calories: 286 | Protein: 16.8 grams

Again, you can’t go wrong with a protein smoothie, especially when it’s got nutritious ingredients like kale and hemp seeds. Beyond the list of clean ingredients, we also love that it accommodates a wide range of diets, as it’s gluten- and dairy-free.

Recipe: Diabetes Strong

Smoked Salmon BagelPhoto credit: kajakiki/istockphoto

12. Smoked Salmon Bagel

Calories: 577 | Protein: 26 grams

There’s a reason the American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish per week. Not only is it a good source of protein, but it’s also one of the few foods that contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. That’s why this lox bagel — loaded with cream cheese, cucumbers, capers, and more — is an obvious choice for a protein-focused breakfast. The downside is that it is fairly fatty and caloric, though you can cut back by using low-fat schmear.

Recipe: Feel Good Foodie

Assorted BagelsPhoto credit: chandlerphoto/istockphoto

13. Protein Bagels

Calories: 183 | Protein: 11 grams

And if you’re really trying to load up on protein, then you can make your breakfast sandwich with homemade protein bagels. Infused with Greek yogurt, each one comes with 11 grams of protein.

Recipe: Cooking With Ayeh

Cheese Frittata with Asparagus and ProsciuttoPhoto credit: LauriPatterson/istockphoto

14. High-Protein Veggie Frittata

Calories: 134 | Protein: 11.2 grams

The beauty of a frittata is that you can throw pretty much anything in it — vegetables, meats, cheeses — and you’ll end up with a filling breakfast on the cheap. This recipe aims to pack in as much protein as possible with egg whites, cottage cheese, and turkey bacon. Unfortunately, however, it’s something you’ll probably have to make ahead of time, as it takes around 50 minutes to assemble and cook.

Recipe: Erin Lives Whole

Two Basic Chia Seed Pudding in Glass Cups with Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, and Blackberries, with Two Spoons on a Blue-Lined White Napkin, on the RightPhoto credit: AnjelikaGr/shutterstock

15. Protein Chia Pudding

Calories: 243 | Protein: 19 grams

Add chia seeds to your list of protein-packed superfoods because these little guys are nutritional powerhouses. Like fish, they’ve got omega-3 fatty acids — not to mention a healthy dose of protein and fiber. And they’ve even been shown to improve blood sugar management. This pudding is a great way to incorporate chia seeds into your diet.

Recipe: Eating Bird Food

Huevos Rancheros are Mexican Eggs breakfast, guacamole and pico de gallo isolated on whitePhoto credit: MEDITERRANEAN/istockphoto

16. Healthy Huevos Rancheros

Calories: 360 | Protein: 16 grams

This filling Mexican breakfast was traditionally served to ranchers (hence the name) after a strenuous bout of early morning work. Naturally, then, it's going to be hearty and full of protein, featuring eggs, beans, and avocados.

Recipe: Hurry the Food Up

Boiled  eggs on wooden board with pepper flakesPhoto credit: ToscaWhi/istockphoto

17. Hard-Boiled Eggs

Calories: 78 | Protein: 6 grams

Look, as easy as they are to make, this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning hard-boiled eggs. They’re portable, easy to make, and each one comes with 6 grams of protein. And since they save for up to a week in the fridge, they’re great for time-poor commuters who might otherwise settle for high-protein fast food instead of cooking at home.

Recipe: Love and Lemons

QuichePhoto credit: Lesya Dolyuk/shutterstock

18. Easy Quiche

Calories: 299 | Protein: 15 grams

We chose this recipe for two reasons. First, it’s easy, using a premade pie crust to keep prep time to a minimum. And second, it’s got 15 grams of protein per serving on account of the ham, eggs, and milk.

Recipe: Spend With Pennies

Cooked Oatmeal with Blueberries and Slices of Banana in a Steel Blue Bowl, on a Steel Blue Napkin with a SpoonPhoto credit: Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

19. Protein Oatmeal

Calories: 335 | Protein: 32 grams

Kickstart your mornings with this thick, creamy protein oatmeal recipe. Each serving is loaded with over 30 grams of protein for sustained energy. Easily customizable and perfect for busy weekdays, this oatmeal is not just delicious but also a practical, cheap breakfast solution.

Recipe: The Big Man’s World

Macro closeup side view of stack of buttermilk pancakes on plate as traditional breakfast brunch dessertPhoto credit: ablokhin/istockphoto

20. Protein Pancakes

Calories: 258 | Protein: 32 grams

You probably didn’t expect to see pancakes on this list, but thanks to two scoops of whey protein and Greek yogurt, these fluffy flapjacks have 32 grams of protein per serving. If topping them with syrup feels wrong, opt for something healthier, such as warmed-up peanut butter, melted dark chocolate, or a homemade compote.

Recipe: Healthy Recipes Blog

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