Eat Empowered

35 Simple Ways to Get Protein in at Breakfast if You Don’t Eat Eggs

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Starting your day with adequate protein is a must. For one, the macronutrient keeps us satisfied for a long time, which lowers our risk of getting hangry and overeating later in the day.

Eating enough protein is also important for maintaining lean muscle mass, supporting immune function and balancing our blood sugar levels.

Wondering how to get protein on your breakfast plate apart from eating an omelet every day? We’ve got you covered. Read on for 35 (yes, 35!) high-protein breakfast foods that aren’t eggs.

1. Hemp Seeds

We love that hemp seeds pack a serious punch of plant-based protein. Just 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds deliver 9 grams of protein. Add them to your a.m. smoothie or oatmeal.

2. Greek Yogurt

All yogurt serves up protein, but strained options like Greek yogurt or Icelandic skyr are the highest in protein. Opt for an unsweetened version to avoid added sugars, then incorporate your own natural sweeteners, like fresh fruit and cinnamon. You’ll get more than 20 grams of protein per one-cup serving, depending on the brand. Not a huge fan of Greek yogurt straight up? Use it in a recipe, like our Healthy Protein Banana Bread instead.

3. Cow’s Milk

Dairy often gets a bad rap, but it’s a nourishing source of key nutrients such as potassium, calcium and protein for those who tolerate it well. Bonus points if you’re able to buy organic or grass-fed dairy. Add it to oatmeal, or keep it old school and drink it straight up out of a glass.

4. Chia Seeds

Talk about small but mighty. Chia seeds offer heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids as well as plant protein. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contains 4 grams of protein, about two-thirds the amount you’ll get from one egg. Sprinkle them on your smoothie or make our Yerba Mate Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding for a cozy, creamy treat.

5. Black Beans

Packed with soluble fiber, beans are the perfect pick for those looking to kick start digestion first thing in the morning. Sauté 1/2 cup of black beans into a spicy tofu scramble for a protein boost.

Chilli con carne with red pepper and black beans in a black dish on a gingham cloth

6. Quinoa

Quinoa is the perfect whole food swap for ultra-processed breakfast cereals. One cup of cooked quinoa contains about 8 grams of protein—and, unlike most cereals, no added sugars.

RELATED: Banana Quinoa Breakfast Cups

7. Tofu

Looking to switch up your usual egg scramble? Try tofu. We love sautéing crumbled tofu with colorful veggies such as bell peppers, onions and spinach for a high-protein, egg-free breakfast. Don’t forget to add anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric, black pepper, cumin and garlic.

8. Nut Butter

Nut butters hold a special spot in our hearts. Whether you’re a PB lover or an almond butter addict, opt for natural nut butters made from just one ingredient: nuts. One serving (which is 2 tablespoons) can put about 8 grams of protein on your plate. Don’t miss these 12 Mouth-Watering and Good-For-You Peanut Butter Recipes.

9. Walnuts

Rich in heart-healthy omega-3s, walnuts are the perfect combination of good-for-you fats plus protein. Sprinkle them on top of your Greek yogurt or oatmeal for a high-protein start to the day.

10. Hummus

Give cream cheese a rest and spread hummus on a sprouted-grain English muffin instead for a savory, protein-packed addition to your morning. Here are The 5 Healthiest, Tastiest Hummus Brands.

Classic Hummus made from Chickpeas in White Bowl, Carrot and Cucumber Sticks nearby, Wooden Rustic Background, top view

11. Collagen Peptides

Collagen peptides are broken down so they’re easier for your body to absorb. While there’s no guarantee that collagen will bring you younger-looking skin stat, there’s no doubt that it’s a solid source of protein. Try this Beauty Boosting Berry Collagen Smoothie.

RELATED: Why You Want to Eat These Beauty-Boosting, Collagen-Rich Foods, Starting Today!

12. Whey Protein Powder

If you’re pressed for time in the morning, a protein shake is the easiest way to get in 20+ grams of protein stat. Here are the 8 Best Protein Powders, including whey protein powder.

13. Soy Milk

Of all the alternative milks, soy milk tends to be the highest in protein. One cup of soy milk can serve up an impressive 8 grams of protein, the same amount as a glass of cow’s milk.

14. Tempeh

Not only is tempeh a source of gut-friendly probiotics, but it’s also packed with plant-based protein. We love experimenting with new options, like a tempeh breakfast hash or tempeh bacon. Not familiar with the ingredient? Check out our guide to tempeh here.

15. Chicken Sausage

While we generally recommend reducing your intake of processed meats, sometimes a breakfast sausage craving comes on strong. When that happens, opt for a leaner and organic version, such as chicken sausage, and pair it with a fiber-rich side, such as sautéed or roasted root veggies, for a balanced breakfast.

Grilled Turkey Sausages Served With Snow Peas And Broccoli On Plate, Closeup View, Selective Focus

16. Turkey Bacon

If tempeh bacon isn’t for you, try turkey bacon (in moderation). Just make sure there are no added nitrates and nitrites. One 2-ounce serving can provide 17 grams of protein, per the Cleveland Clinic.

17. Smoked Salmon

Smoked Salmon Toast is another stellar way to start the day with omega-3s. Just be sure to meet your a.m. water goals (think: one glass of H2O pre-coffee and one glass with breakfast) since smoked salmon is high in sodium.

18. Cottage Cheese

Real talk: cottage cheese is underrated. It’s tasty, it’s versatile, and it’s a great source of protein. Just one 1/2-cup serving can provide about 12 grams. Go the savory route with a drizzle of olive oil, diced cucumbers and a couple crumbled pita chips on top, or keep it sweet with fresh fruit, cinnamon and a bit of raw honey.

19. Oats

Oats on their own aren’t high in protein, but you can easily prep a batch of overnight oats or oatmeal with high-protein ingredients added to the mix, such as Greek yogurt, collagen peptides, or hemp seeds thrown in. Don’t miss these 3 Creative, Delicious Ways to Dress Up Overnight Oats using high-protein ingredients, such as chia seeds and macadamia nuts.

20. Protein Pancakes

Classic pancakes are typically carb-heavy, but simple tweaks—like adding cottage cheese or Greek yogurt to the batter—can turn them into a protein-powered, blood sugar-friendly breakfast.

RELATED: Oatmeal Pancakes

Protein pancakes topped with banana, syrup and glazed pecans. Healthy diet flapjacks.

21. Smoothies

Smoothies may be the easiest way to include protein on the go. Check out these 20 Protein Smoothie Recipes. No chewing necessary.

22. Grain-Free Granola

Make your granola more filling (and protein-rich!) by ditching the grains. This Grain-Free Lavender Honey Granola is full of satiating ingredients such as pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews and walnuts.

23. Nut and Seed Bread

One of our favorite recipes of all time, this grain-free Nut and Seed Bread is the ultimate high-protein alternative for your typical morning toast. Slather it with some
cottage cheese and refined, sugar-free jam for a seriously satisfying start to the day.

24. Ricotta Cheese

Just one cup of ricotta cheese can bring more than 20 grams of protein to the table. Go for part-skim ricotta if you’re looking for a lower-fat option.

25. Buckwheat Flour

We love that buckwheat flour is naturally gluten-free and high in protein. Try these Blueberry Buckwheat Muffins for a nourishing twist on a classic.

Jar with buckwheat flour on table and bread as background

26. Pumpkin Seeds

Also known as pepitas, pumpkin seeds provide protein as well as important micronutrients, such as magnesium. Incorporating them into your morning can be as simple as eating a handful alongside your latte, an easy option for anyone who doesn’t typically eat breakfast.

RELATED: 3 Edible Seeds That Make Awesome Snacks

27. Tahini

We love swapping classic nut butters such as peanut butter for a creamy spoonful or two of tahini. Just 2 tablespoons of tahini can provide 6 grams of protein. Try it over a sweet potato for a sweet-and-savory breakfast fix.

28. Spirulina

The algae flavor isn’t for everyone, but spirulina is a surprisingly rich source of plant-based protein. Just 1 tablespoon delivers an impressive 4 grams of protein. Add it to a loaded green smoothie to mask its naturally, erm, fishy flavor.

29. Nutritional Yeast

Sprinkle nutritional yeast on top of your morning scramble or avocado toast for a boost of energy-supportive B vitamins and vegan-friendly protein.

30. Chickpea Flour

Swap all-purpose flour for chickpea flour in morning staples such as pancakes or waffles—the legume-based ingredient will provide more protein and fiber per serving.

RELATED: The 6 Best Gluten-Free Flours

31. Kefir

Rich in gut-friendly probiotics, kefir is a great high-protein alternative to classic yogurts. The fermented milk drink can provide nearly 10 grams of protein per one-cup serving.

Close up of kefir grains being strained.

32. Dairy-Free Yogurt

Most vegan yogurts are lacking in protein, but brands such as Kite Hill and Siggi’s have recently come out with dairy-free yogurts that can pack about 10 grams of protein per serving. Just be mindful of the added sugar content of flavored yogurts. We recommend opting for unsweetened varieties and adding your own toppings.

33. Flax Seeds

While they aren’t sky-high in protein, flax seeds do offer up a couple grams of the macronutrient, plus anti-inflammatory omega-3s. Add ground flax to your yogurt or oatmeal— the whole seeds can be hard for the body to break down during digestion.

34. Breakfast Cereals

High-protein, low-carb products like Magic Spoon and Three Wishes are flipping the cereal aisle upside down. The brands offer keto-friendly breakfast cereals with anywhere from 8 to 13 grams of protein per serving.

35. Brazil Nuts

One-quarter cup of Brazil nuts delivers nearly 5 grams of protein. Also nice: the creamy nuts are a stellar source of selenium, a key micronutrient for thyroid health. Add them to Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or oatmeal to amp up your morning nourishment.

Brazil nuts in a glass cup on a wooden table. View from above. Proteinaceous. Tasty and healthy.

(Images: Shutterstock)

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