If you spend a little time looking, the internet is filled with tons of opinions on carbs and fats. Dozens of low carb and low-fat diet litter the internet along with their cousins the high fat or high carb diets. One thing the experts agree on, along with science, is that protein is essential regardless of the current fad diet. It’s likely you don’t get enough protein if you aren’t planning your meals to include enough protein.
There are some drawbacks and side effects to consuming too much protein. If you eat a lot of extra protein while on a low carb diet, for instance, your liver may decide to turn some of the amino acids in the protein into sugar. This conversion may cause weight gain or contribute to other complications if you have certain infections, cancers, or diabetes.
Your body needs protein to repair muscles or increase the size of your muscles if you’re trying to gain muscle mass. Your brain needs protein to stay in shape and maintain some parts of your nervous system. The average person that doesn’t exercise often needs about .36 grams of protein per pound of body weight just to exist in their current state. You need more if you work out regularly.
The Benefits of Getting Enough Protein
You need to know your protein needs before embarking on a meal planning journey. The rule about .36 grams per pound of bodyweight only applies to people that have desk jobs and live mostly sedentary lives. A good rule to follow is allowing extra protein per hour of exercise each week. For instance, one hour of exercise equals ten percent more and three hours means 30 percent more protein.
Granted, that’s a very crude scale but adding ten percent more protein for each hour will keep your protein intake roughly on track without causing you to consume too much protein. If you’re a bodybuilder or trying to gain muscle mass, it gets more complicated, and you need to talk to a personal trainer or nutritionist to help you get the right amount of protein in each day.
Let’s look at the other reasons or benefits your body gets from protein, such as:
Protein comes with a lot of other benefits beyond what’s on our list, but the list should give you a good idea of why you need more protein. Most adults and kids do not get enough protein which may cause muscle loss since your body tends to cannibalize itself when it needs nutrients. The next big debatable topic is when to eat the most protein.
High Protein Breakfast Ideas and Recipes
Your body won’t store protein in any significant amounts, so you need to keep it supplied regularly. There’s no one rule to govern when you need to eat your high protein meals, but a good plan is eating protein after you wake up and before or right after you exercise. Your body needs protein to repair the damage from exercise, and it's starving after you've been asleep all night.
We’re not suggesting you eat the bulk of your protein intake for the day during breakfast or save it until you go to the gym. Plan all your meals to include protein but eating a high protein breakfast won’t hurt anything, nor will eating or drinking protein right after you finish up at the gym. Our goal right now is to give you some delicious ideas for a high protein breakfast. So, let’s get started.
Pumpkin Pie Protein Pancakes
This recipe will net you around eight three-inch pancakes. You can freeze any leftover pancakes or store them in your refrigerator for a couple of days. If you want to experiment a little, this recipe works as a muffin recipe as well. Thinner muffins work best to avoid burning them or failing to cook the center part of the dough.
Put all the ingredients into a bowl large enough to hold them while you whisk it all together. Don't mix the elements too long or it’ll get runny just like regular pancake mix. Heat your skillet over medium heat and cook these pancakes just like regular pancakes. You can eat them without any syrup or butter, and they taste great. However, a little butter and your favorite sugar-free syrup are ok as well.
Go Simple with Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt contains about 34 grams of protein per cup. It’s already packed with protein without the need for additional ingredients. However, adding fruit or nuts to your Greek yogurt may help it tastes better. Greek yogurt does not taste like other yogurts and those made from goat, or sheep milk may have a strong odor. Try some before you commit to buying a sack full.
It’s heavily debated whether eggs are good for you or not good for you. If you believe the hype, most people have decided eggs are okay for you if you don't eat the yolk. Unless you have high cholesterol, or your doctor recommends skipping the yolks, you’re probably safe eating it. That decision is between you and your doctor, but we do know the egg white is the healthiest part of an egg.
An egg white contains about 3.5 grams of protein and has almost limitless potential at breakfast time. Scramble a few egg whites with a little cheese or some vegetables or make a full-fledged omelet for breakfast. Eggs make a great high protein breakfast, and they’re quick and easy to prepare with almost no cooking talent at all.
Step up Your Egg Game with Frittata Muffins
These muffins will leave you satisfied every morning. They're easy to make, and you can keep them in the freezer for a month or the refrigerator for a few days. It makes life easier if you start every morning early since you can grab a couple of these and go. Just make a batch or two and store them for a quick breakfast or snack. Kids usually like them as well. You’ll get about six muffins per batch.
Beat the eggs and yogurt until they’re fluffy then add the remaining ingredients and mix it together. Use cupcake liners or spray a muffin pan with cooking spray and fill each slot about halfway with your mixture. This recipe makes about six to eight muffins usually, but we suggest doubling up if you enjoy these muffins. That way you’ll fill the whole pan and get more high protein breakfast muffins.
Bake the muffins for about 15 to 20 minutes. This muffin recipe is very flexible, and you should play around with it to find a version that everyone in your family loves. For instance, once the muffins get about three minutes from done, add some cheese to the top or mix in a little cheese before you bake them. Be careful adding ingredients like cheese since it may cause the muffins to be greasy.
Revisit Breakfast Toast
Toast is easy to make since it’s really just a matter of popping some bread in the oven or toaster for a few seconds. However, that’s possibly the most boring, bland breakfast we can think of, and there's no real protein content. So why not take your toast and spend an extra two minutes making it delicious and up the protein dose? We're glad you asked, here are a few ideas to get you started improving your toast.
First off, assume we mean 100 percent wholegrain bread when we say toast. That said, add some chopped avocado to your toast once you’ve browned it and top that with about four ounces of smoked salmon or lox. If you need a little more flavor, diced red onions and tomatoes go great with this toast recipe, and you only need about five minutes to prep and prepare the whole thing.
Blend cottage cheese with your favorite cream cheese and spread it on your toast. Take out the cream cheese and replace it with avocado if you want to skip the cream cheese. You can top this toast with tomatoes, or drizzle honey or sugar-free syrup over it if you left the cream cheese in and omitted the avocado. Depending on the spread you make, chopped almonds or cinnamon enhance this further.
You really can do a lot with toast if you get creative. If not, fall back to basic avocado toast but add four poached egg halves to the top. Our favorite twist on avocado toast is toast with a thin slice of breakfast ham that’s covered in chopped avocados. Go ahead and add the poached egg halves to this version as well. A slice of tomato on top might be a good idea too.
Our final toast idea takes a little more time to prepare, but it’s delicious. Shakshouka is a dish made by cooking a sauce that includes chili peppers, tomatoes, and onions. Add cumin, cayenne pepper, and paprika to taste then poach a few eggs in the sauce. Spoon the sauce along with an egg over a piece of toast and enjoy. Another version may include bell peppers and mushrooms if you want more flavor.
Bonus Side Items or Toppers that Add Protein to Your Breakfast
The recipes above work great as a fast, high protein breakfast. However, there are things you may want to add to your oatmeal, eggs, or yogurt that enhance their flavor and pack in some extra protein. For instance, nuts like almonds and peanuts taste great and add a little crunch to your meal. Chop or crush them before sprinkling a tablespoonful or two over your oatmeal or eggs.
Milk, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt can be added to scrambled eggs to perk them up a little and add even more protein to the meal. If you add cottage cheese to your scrambled eggs, whisk the mixture well to incorporate plenty of air into it, or the eggs may end up really runny. They get hard to cook at that point and may turn out chewy or even rubbery.
Put some meat in your eggs or keep trying new stuff on your avocado toast. For instance, four ounces of chicken, salmon, tuna, lean beef, or turkey breast adds protein to your breakfast along with a decent amount of flavor. The smoked varieties of these meats go better with avocado toast in our opinion. Sliced deli versions of these meats go great under frittata muffins as well.
Replace spinach with Brussel sprouts or broccoli in omelets and the frittata muffins. Both broccoli and Brussel sprouts have a respectable amount of protein in them, and they taste great. Their unique flavors add a lot to the taste of any recipe that usually calls for baby spinach. Go a little want if you want and add both along with spinach but be mindful of the amount of each that you add to any recipe.
Some Final Notes
Your body needs the right amount of protein each day to repair your muscles, keep your bones healthy, and make sure your brain is working at full speed. Starting your day with a high protein breakfast is one of the best ways to ensure your body has the protein it needs to keep you going. Every recipe and tip above tastes excellent, but experiment with your own versions using our framework.