20 Easy High-Protein Breakfasts to Power Up Your Morning

Sunrise sustenance—activated.

By Edie Horstman
Sanetra Logno_high protein breakfast

Cutting right to the chase: most of us aren’t sure how much protein we *actually* need. On top of that, we’re unclear on easy ways to increase our daily intake—without derailing the busyness of our (already cramped) schedules. Fortunately, we have the scoop. We come armed with deets on this delicious and essential macronutrient. Plus, the 411 on breakfast. We’re answering all your questions: Is it the most important meal of the day? And what’s the best time to break your fast? Scroll for all your sunrise sustenance needs, including plenty of high protein breakfast inspo.

Featured image from our interview with Sanetra Longno.

Edie Horstman
Edie Horstman

Edie is the founder of nutrition coaching business, Wellness with Edie. With her background and expertise, she specializes in women’s health, including fertility, hormone balance, and postpartum wellness.

This Habit Isn’t Worth the Hype

Tend to ignore your morning hunger? Prefer chugging a cup of coffee instead? If so, you’re not exactly doing your longevity any favors. Said differently: skipping breakfast isn’t worth the hype. In fact, it undermines everything from your hormone health to your blood sugar levels. On the flip side, eating a balanced, high-protein breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism, providing fuel for your body to thrive. Additionally, it helps regulate cortisol. As a result, we aren’t running on adrenaline and we garner necessary brain power to slay the day.

Yogurt smoothie bowl.

Do you have to eat breakfast?

To maximize your energy, yes. And spoiler alert: a jolt of caffeine doesn’t count. Not withstanding your sleep chronotype, you need adequate morning nutrients—ideally, shortly after waking. Unfortunately, consistently skipping breakfast leaves you vulnerable to energy crashes, mood swings, and unwanted weight gain. However, prioritizing a healthy breakfast encourages long-term health. It’s also linked to better cognitive function and a lower risk of chronic illness, like heart disease. With that, here’s our gentle nudge to make breakfast a non-negotiable.

Easy morning breakfast board.

When is the best time to eat breakfast?

It’s not just about what you eat for breakfast. When you eat supports everything from happy hormones to muscular endurance. Across the board, eating within 30-90 minutes of rising is necessary for re-energizing and re-hydrating the body. You can’t drive your car without gas, so don’t ask your body to go anywhere without fuel. If you don’t currently wake up hungry, aim for something light to start: chia pudding, a brown rice cake with peanut butter and hemp seeds, or a hard-boiled egg with a few strawberries. And don’t forget to hydrate.

Coffee Connoisseurs, Unite

Need your coffee fix? We get it. However, for the sake of hormone balance and keeping cortisol within range, try to eat something small first—even a handful of cashews! Furthermore, consider adding a scoop of collagen, vegan vanilla protein powder, or whole milk to your mug. This will provide essential amino acids (building blocks for protein) and nutrients to start your day on a nourished note.

Woman cooking breakfast

The Power of Choosing Savory Over Sweet

In many ways, your breakfast sets the tone for the entire day. In fact, it can easily sway your cravings. It’s proven—both physically and psychologically—that if you eat a low-sugar breakfast, you’re more likely to reach for wholesome foods later on. For example, if you start with a bowl of sugary cereal, you’re more likely to crave refined carbs and sweets throughout the day. When in doubt, aim for something savory: protein (eggs, cottage cheese, skyr, turkey bacon, etc.), complex carbs (like sprouted grain toast), and satiating fats (i.e., avocado, ghee, nut butter, or smoked salmon).

Smoked salmon toast

How to Build a Healthy Breakfast

Ultimately, a healthy breakfast looks different for everyone—based on nutritional needs, lifestyle, culture, genetics, and cravings. Furthermore, how much food you need to feel satisfied and satiated is wholly unique. However, a good universal rule of thumb is this: a healthy breakfast contains high-quality protein, natural fats, complex carbs, and (bonus points!) fiber. What this looks like in practice:

  1. Incorporate a variety of food groups: produce, protein, starchy carbs, and healthy fats.
  2. Think in color: choose fruits and veggies with purple, blue, pink, red, orange, or green hues. These are all loaded with antioxidants.
  3. Include probiotics: yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut are all great options.

Healthy Breakfast Ingredients

These are a few of our favorites:

  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt (or skyr)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Berries
  • Papaya
  • Bananas
  • Sourdough English muffins
  • Oats
  • Nuts and seeds (walnuts, chia, flax, pumpkin, etc.)
  • Avocado
  • Micro greens
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell peppers
  • Smoked salmon
Fig smoothie

How much protein should you eat at breakfast?

As mentioned, all macronutrients—protein, carbs, and fat—are necessary for a well-rounded, healthy breakfast. However, to build a satiating morning meal, protein is top priority. To get the most bang for your nutrition buck, aim to consume around 30 grams of high-quality protein. This amount provides essential amino acids for muscle repair and growth, supports hormone regulation, and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.

Keep in mind you may need more protein to feel full and satiated! If you’re currently pregnant, nursing, an endurance athlete, or have specific strength goals, you may require upwards of 40 grams in your breakfast. Experiment to see what makes you feel your best (or work with a healthcare provider, physical trainer, or Registered Dietitian for personalized advice).

Breakfast grazing board - high protein breakfast

20 High-Protein Breakfasts

To spark creativity and inspiration, below are a variety of sweet and savory high protein breakfast ideas.

1. Breakfast Grazing Board. With toppings galore, this is a choose-your-own-adventure kind of breakfast. (That, of course, is loaded with protein-rich Greek yogurt!)

2. Spicy Mexican Baked Eggs. We can’t get enough of this flavorful baked egg skillet. And if you have your veggies prepped ahead of time, this totally passes as an easy weekday breakfast or brunch.

3. Chocolate Banana Almond Butter Smoothie. A high-protein breakfast that tastes like dessert? Sign us up.

4. Salmon Wasa Cracker Breakfast Toast. The perfect vehicle for spreadable goat cheese and smoked salmon, these toasts come together in minutes (literally). They satisfy morning protein needs and squash savory cravings.

5. Protein Pancakes. Rather than fall into a food coma after relishing a stack of pancakes, whip these up for a satiating, blood sugar-friendly start to the day. They check all the boxes. Plus, the batter can be made the night before.

Oatmeal quinoa power bowl - high protein breakfast

6. Oatmeal Quinoa Power Bowl. In the mood for a comforting breakfast? This power bowl fits the bill. Paired with fiber-rich oats, quinoa (a complete plant protein) gives this recipe a hearty twist. For even more satiation, whisk in a couple of egg whites while the mixture cooks.

7. Fig, Ginger, and Tahini Smoothie. This isn’t your typical breakfast smoothie—which your taste buds (and digestion) will appreciate. Thanks to the protein powder and ground flax, this hormone-balancing smoothie will keep you satiated and energized all morning.

8. Mushroom, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Frittata. Ah, the breakfast that keeps on giving. Cook once and enjoy all week! Pair with a side of turkey bacon, a cup of Greek yogurt, or a simple smoothie for ultimate fuel.

9. Tuna Nicoise Toast. We are currently crushing hard on tinned fish, and this loaded avocado toast is salty, satisfying, and packs a protein punch. Despite a modest ingredients list, this toast is incredibly flavorful.

10. Vegan Flatbread. Roasted carrot and red pepper hummus to break your fast? This recipe is a double-whammy. It’s an opportunity to clean out your fridge at the end of the week and it’s loaded with plant protein. Make this hummus ahead of time and slather it on a flatbread or in a breakfast sandwich.

Grain-free granola - high protein breakfast

11. Grain-Free Granola. Our latest obsession, this grain-free granola is protein-dense, thanks to the abundance of nuts and seeds. Crunchy and perfectly spiced, it’s a nourishing cereal alternative or yogurt bowl topping.

12. Breakfast Board. On busy weekday mornings, this breakfast board requires minimal effort, looks appetizing, and tastes delicious. Win, win, win. Toss a few hard-boiled eggs, cheese, nuts, and deli turkey on the board and you’re good to go.

13. Raspberry Chia Yogurt Pudding. Meal prep this breakfast in minutes. Yes, minutes. Let it rest in the fridge overnight and come morning, layer it with the yogurt, granola, and berries. Toss in your bag and seize the day.

14. Herb and Caramelized Onion Frittata. Caramelized onions meet chives, dill, cilantro, and parsley in this sweet yet savory recipe. To round out this delightful frittata, whip up these addicting pan roasted potatoes.

15. Kitchari. With a similar texture to porridge, kitchari makes for a comforting breakfast dish. If you haven’t tried it before, don’t be intimidated! All you need is two staple ingredients, a handful of spices, and 30 minutes. With Ayurvedic roots, this one-pot meal has warm and cozy vibes—perfect for a chilly weekday or weekend morning. Plus, it’s packed with plant protein.

Pumpkin overnight oats - high protein breakfast

16. Creamy Pumpkin Overnight Oats. Speaking of meal prep, it doesn’t get much easier than this overnight oats recipe. Although it gives fall vibes, we love pumpkin year-round. To load up on the protein, add a heaping scoop of vanilla protein powder to the mix and top with Greek yogurt and hemp seeds in the morning.

17. Savory Cottage Cheese Breakfast Bowl. If you’re a cottage cheese fanatic, you’ll love this nourishing breakfast bowl. Rich in protein, fiber, healthy fats, and flavor, it’s the best of all worlds. Plus, it’s very customizable. Swap the egg for smoked salmon, the greens for sautéed mushrooms, etc.

18. Power Greens Breakfast Bites. Enjoy those egg bites from Starbucks? You need to try these. Prep a batch ahead of time for a high-protein, grab-and-go breakfast option.

19. Healthy Oatmeal Cookies. Okay, these cookies aren’t packed with protein—per se—but they’re nutrient-dense and very filling. Crumble a couple on a bed of yogurt for a sweet yet tangy breakfast bowl. And if you want to add protein to the batter, be our guest! We suggest subbing half the whole wheat flour for a quarter cup of your favorite protein powder.

20. Spring Rice Salad. While you may not wake up craving a salad, this filling, fresh, and balanced meal is truly the breakfast of champions. And here’s the thing: if you’re making a pot of rice for dinner, you might as well utilize leftovers in the following day’s morning meal. You’ll be obsessed with this dish. Trust us.