10 high protein breakfast foods
Protein is one of the 3 macro-nutrients and is vital for good health. Numerous studies have shown that it helps to boost metabolism, improves muscle mass, assists with weight management, stabilises blood sugar levels and maintains strong bones.
Including protein rich foods in your breakfast is definitely recommended because doing so will keep you feeling satisfied for longer and ensure that you start the day off feeling energetic.
Here are some excellent high protein foods to eat first thing in the morning.
Eggs have often been considered to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. This is because they are packed full of nutrients; if you take a look at their nutritional profile you will notice that they provide you with a wide range of vitamins & minerals, including vitamins A, D, E & B12, iron, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
Eggs are also rich in high quality protein. Additionally, they contain all 9 essential amino acids, making them a complete protein source. This is very important because our bodies are unable to synthesise these amino acids, so they must be obtained from the diet.
A large sized egg has roughly 6 g of protein (for only 78 calories). Both the egg white and yolk contain protein but if you are watching your calorie intake like a hawk and are trying to limit cholesterol consumption, eating egg whites is your best bet.
Eggs are super versatile and can be prepared in lots of ways, including boiling, frying, scrambling and baking.
2. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is prepared by straining ordinary yogurt, which gets rid of much of the liquid whey. This results in a thicker yogurt that contains more protein and fewer carbs (including lactose).
If you tolerate dairy products well, Greek yogurt is an excellent breakfast choice. A cups worth will provide you with 16 g of protein and 195 calories. It is also a source of calcium and gut friendly bacteria.
To reap the benefits that it offers, it is important to consume high quality Greek yogurt. Before making a purchase, be sure to read nutrition labels and opt for brands that have little or no added sugar. Alternatively, you can make your own Greek yogurt at home by straining ordinary homemade yogurt through some cheesecloth.
Greek yogurt on its own is not very exciting, but combining it with a variety of fruits, nuts and seeds makes it much more appealing.
3. Cottage cheese
Like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese is obtained from milk and is high in protein. A cup of low fat cottage cheese has only around 160 calories but 28 g of protein. Much of the protein found in cottage cheese is in the form of casein, which is digested slowly by the body.
Cottage cheese has quite a distinct and overpowering flavour which is enjoyed by some but despised by others. If you fit into the latter group, combining it with sweet fruits such as bananas, mango, pineapple and strawberries can improve its taste considerably.
Besides eating it on its own, cottage cheese can also be used in a variety of breakfast recipes, some of which you can find here.
Quinoa is a grain that is high in both protein and nutrients. A cup of cooked quinoa has 8 g of protein, 5 g of dietary fiber and plenty of minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus and manganese. It is also an excellent source of powerful antioxidants such as quercetin and kaempferol.
One aspect of quinoa that makes it highly appealing is that it is a complete protein source. This means it is a great choice for vegetarians & vegans because not many plant based foods are complete protein sources.
To prepare quinoa, you first need to soak and rinse it in water to get rid of its bitter outer layer. Once this is done, you want to cook it in simmering water for 12 – 15 minutes, until it is nice and fluffy.
5. Whey protein
Whey protein is extremely popular among athletes and bodybuilders. One of the primary reasons for this is because it is an excellent source of very high quality protein, which is much more easily digested and absorbed by the body when compared to other types.
Whey protein is highly filling and appears to be more satiating than casein or soy. This is useful if you are monitoring calorie intake and are trying to eat as little as possible.
Besides helping to promote muscle growth, some studies have found that it may lower blood pressure, help moderate blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation.
When it comes to choosing a whey protein brand, you are spoilt for choice. The important thing to remember is to opt for a protein powder that doesn’t have a lot of added sugar.
Whey protein can be enjoyed in a number of ways. Our ‘Post Workout Petrol‘ and ‘Packed With Proatein‘ are two examples of filling smoothies you can have for breakfast that incorporate whey protein. It can also be used to prepare protein rich pancakes, muffins and other breakfast foods.
6. High quality lean meat & fish
Meat is one of the best sources of protein out there. However, the problem with many types of breakfast meats such as bacon and sausages is that they have been highly processed. This unfortunately means that they are linked with certain diseases, including cancer.
The meat that you should aim to eat is the kind that has undergone little or no processing. Great examples include organic chicken and turkey. These meats can be incorporated into omelettes, wraps, sandwiches and bakes.
Another very popular breakfast food is salmon. It can be prepared in lots of different ways to be enjoyed at breakfast time. Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which decrease inflammation, reduce the risk of cancer and lower blood pressure. A 3 ounce serving of salmon has 17 g of protein.
7. Nut & seed butters
Peanut butter is one of the best known nut butters (even though peanuts are technically a legume), however there are also other types available such as almond, cashew and pumpkin seed butters.
All of these butters are high in protein; as an example, two tablespoons of almond butter has 7 g of protein. Nut butters are also generally highly nutritious, containing significant amounts of vitamins & minerals.
One thing to keep in mind is that whilst these butters are high in protein, they are also high in calories (mainly because of the large amounts of fat they contain). The same two tablespoons of almond butter mentioned above has 200 calories. For this reason, it is important to eat these butters in moderation if you are monitoring calorie consumption.
Nut butters can be added to smoothies and oatmeal, spread over toast or eaten together with fruit.
8. Chia seeds
Even though the vast majority of nuts and seeds are high in protein, chia seeds are special because they are the key ingredient needed to prepare chia pudding, a breakfast dish that is becoming increasingly popular.
Making the pudding is incredibly simple; all you need to do is soak 3 or 4 tablespoons of chia seeds in a liquid of your choice (usually ordinary or almond milk) and allow the mixture to sit in your fridge for a few hours.
During this time, the chia seeds will absorb the liquid to form a thick gel like substance. This can then be combined with fruit, cacao powder and honey to form a lovely pudding. There are countless chia pudding recipes on the web to choose from.
An ounce of chia seeds has 5 g of protein and 10 g of dietary fiber, which makes it very filling.
Beans come in many forms, with varieties including black turtle beans, kidney beans and Lima beans. All of these are very nutritious and high in protein; a cup of cooked kidney beans has 15 g of protein.
At breakfast time, beans can be eaten in a number of ways. For example, they can used as a filling for breakfast wraps or used to make patties for breakfast sandwiches.
Despite their potent nutritional profiles, beans can be toxic if they are not prepared correctly. For this reason, it is generally suggested that they are soaked overnight and cooked in boiling water for at least 10 minutes before they are eaten.
Tofu is a soy based food, prepared from condensed soy milk that is pressed into solid blocks. Soy based foods are a highly controversial subject. Supporters of soy will tell you that it brings with it many health benefits, whereas non-supporters state that it should be avoided entirely. On the whole, tofu seems to be quite beneficial for most people.
One thing is certain however: tofu is a good source of protein, with a 100 g serving providing you with 8 g of protein. Tofu eaten on its own is pretty much tasteless. It does however absorb flavours very well, so can be prepared in a variety of ways. One such method is to scramble it with vegetables, like you would do with eggs.