Having a productive, positive day starts with a nutritious breakfast that’s packed with protein. (Sorry, toast. No hard feelings?) Here’s how to power up your morning meal and make every bite work harder.
Why You Need Protein At Breakfast
“Protein is so important in the morning because it helps jump-start your metabolism, fill you up, and fuel you for the day,” says dietitian Maggie Michalczyk, M.S., R.D.
“Beyond just helping you make it to lunch without snacking all morning, studies show that a protein-rich breakfast helps prevent you from overdoing it at meals later in the day,” Michalczyk says. “When I don’t eat a protein-rich breakfast, I feel hungrier throughout the day and am less likely to resist sugary snacks I wouldn’t usually eat.”
How To Make Your Breakfast Higher In Protein
You don’t have to tear into a steak to get the protein you need from your morning meal. In fact, it’s pretty easy to sneak extra protein into your breakfast.
1. Add a Hard-Boiled Egg
“Eggs are a good source of highly-bioavailable protein, which means your muscles can use that protein right away,” Michalczyk says.
In addition to six grams of protein a pop, eggs also provide vitamin D and choline, she adds. (Choline powers your brain, so you’ll be ready to rock and roll at the office all morning long.)
Not everyone’s got time in the a.m. to whip up a veggie omelet. That’s why hard-boiled eggs are a gift! Simply boil the night before, then peel and eat one with your bowl of cereal come morning.
2. Sprinkle Pumpkin Seeds
This plant-based source of protein is easy to sprinkle into smoothies, yogurt bowls, or oatmeal for an extra kick of protein. Every one-ounce serving provides an impressive five grams.
Related: The Right Way To Consume Protein
“Pumpkin seeds also contain fiber and magnesium, two things most Americans don’t get enough of,” Michalczyk says.
3. …Or Hemp Seeds
An even more impressive plant protein source, hemp seeds contain a whopping seven grams of protein per two tablespoons.
“I love adding hemp seeds to my breakfast because they add both protein and fiber,” says Michalczyk, who likes mixing them into peanut or almond butter.
You can also add hemp seeds to trail mix and smoothies when you’re in a rush, or mix them into baked breakfast treats.
4. A Dollop (or More) of Greek Yogurt
Michalczyk also enjoys upping her protein intake in the a.m. with creamy Greek yogurt.
“Greek yogurt is a great source of protein if you’re not lactose intolerant or avoiding dairy,” she says. “It easily provides 12 to 15 grams of protein per cup.”
Michalczyk suggests choosing a brand that uses simple ingredients and keeps sugar as low as possible. Opt for unsweetened, plain yogurt, and eat it with a bowl of fresh fruit or blend it into your smoothie.
5. Protein Powder
When you’re in a rush, protein powder helps you add some oomph to your breakfast quick.
“Most have around 20 grams of protein powder per scoop,” Michalczyk says. “Add a scoop to a fruit smoothie for more staying power.”
With so many protein powder options out there these days, Michalczyk recommends selecting whichever best fits your needs and lifestyle. If dairy-based proteins irritate your stomach, opt for a plant-based protein powder instead. Following a keto diet? Go for a keto-friendly protein.