A healthy morning meal includes protein, not pastries. When you’re not in the mood for yet another omelet, try one of these recipes instead.
When you picture a healthy, high-protein breakfast, eggs are likely the star ingredient. And for good reason: They’re cheap, easy to make, and available everywhere. Plus, a single egg delivers about six grams of belly-filling protein.
That last point is especially appealing, as research shows packing protein into your morning meal (ideally 30 to 35 grams) can set you up for a whole day of healthy eating.
The reason: Protein boosts satiety. And if you’re feeling satisfied, you’re less likely to graze all morning, says Christine Rosenbloom, Ph.D., R.D.N., author of Food and Fitness After 50.
But you don’t have to lean on eggs every day. In fact, you can still eat some of your favorite breakfasts (pancakes, anyone?) with some simple healthy tweaks. The six no-egg recipes below all contain at least 20 grams of protein per serving, and all come recommended by top nutrition experts. Enjoy!
Unless otherwise noted, each recipe makes one serving.
High-Protein Breakfast #1: Strawberry-Kiwi Yogurt Parfaits
You probably don’t associate parfaits with protein, but this option from Toby Amidor, R.D., author of The Easy 5-Ingredient Healthy Cookbook, includes 23 grams of protein per serving. Plus, perfecting the dish is easier than it looks. With the recipe below, you’ll have four picture-perfect servings.
Photo credit: Hélène Dujardin
- 1 cup (about 8 large) strawberries, hulled and diced
- 2 kiwis, peeled and diced
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed or 100% orange juice
- 1 container (32 ounces) vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt
- ½ cup almonds, chopped
- 4 small parfait glasses or jars
What to do: Place the strawberries and kiwis in a small bowl. Add the orange juice, and toss. In each of four parfait glasses, layer ¼ cup yogurt, 2 tablespoons fruit mixture, and 1 tablespoon almonds. Repeat for a second layer. Serve, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
High-Protein Breakfast #2: Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
Quinoa bowls aren’t just for lunch. This recipe from Mike Roussell, Ph.D., author of The Six Pillars of Nutrition, contains 30 grams of high-quality protein. That’s the amount he recommends eating at each meal to help build and repair muscles, slowing the natural decline of muscle mass that happens with age.
- Pinch chia seeds (½ ounce if you want to measure)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 7 ounces plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup quinoa, cooked
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
- 3 tablespoons sliced almonds
- ¼ cup sliced kiwi
- ⅓ cup blackberries
What to do: Add chia seeds and honey to yogurt, and let sit for 5 minutes. Add other ingredients and enjoy.
High-Protein Breakfast #3: Berry Blast Super Shake
Pull out your blender for a breakfast shake filled with healthy carbs, good fats, fruits, and vegetables, says Brian St. Pierre, R.D., C.S.C.S, director of performance nutrition at Precision Nutrition. This single-serving blend delivers about 30 grams of protein, he says. And you have options: When one flavor gets boring, simply switch up your ingredients.
- 6 ounces water, iced green tea, or your favorite milk
- 1 scoop vanilla or strawberry protein powder
- 1 cup (or a fist-sized portion) spinach
- 1 to 2 ounces (or a cupped handful) frozen mixed berries
- 1 tablespoon (or a thumb-sized portion) walnuts
- 2 tablespoons plain yogurt as a topper (optional)
What to do: Combine liquid of choice, protein powder, spinach, berries, and walnuts to blender. Process until smooth. Serve in glass, and top with yogurt, if using.
High-Protein Breakfast #4: Cottage Cheese Bowl
“This delicious combination of sweet, tart, and savory flavors brings in 21 grams of protein,” says Michelle Dudash, R.D.N., creator of 4Real Food Reboot. “The variety of crunchy, juicy, and creamy textures will spruce up your morning too.”
The best part: This dish is ready in five minutes flat.
- ¾ cup cottage cheese
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- 2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- Tiny drizzle real maple syrup
What to do: Top cottage cheese with blueberries, almonds, cinnamon, and maple syrup.
High-Protein Breakfast #5: Banana Pecan Pancakes
These pancakes, which pack 29 grams of protein per serving (two pancakes), are a favorite make-ahead meal for California-based certified sports nutritionist Matt Fitzgerald. His suggestion: “Double the batch, and store pancakes in freezer bags to be reheated in the toaster.” This recipe makes four large pancakes, which is two servings.
- 1 cup oats
- 1 cup egg whites
- ½ cup 1% cottage cheese
- 1 banana
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Cooking spray or ½ teaspoon butter
- ¼ cup pecans, chopped
What to do: Combine oats, egg whites, cottage cheese, banana, and vanilla in a blender, and process until completely smooth. Add baking powder, and process two to three seconds to mix in.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray or butter. Pour in about a quarter of the batter to make a 7-inch pancake, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon pecans. Cook until the bottom of the pancake is golden brown, then flip and cook the other side for a few minutes. Repeat with remaining pancakes.
High-Protein Breakfast #6: Mocha Shake
This tasty shake delivers a whopping 50 grams of protein! It’s also about 591 calories, so if you’re trying to lose weight (or just prefer a lighter breakfast), nutritional consultant Alan Aragon, M.S., suggests drinking half for breakfast and saving the rest for another meal or snack. The recipe below makes a 24- to 28-ounce serving.
- 2 scoops chocolate protein powder (Aragon loves Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard 100% Whey)
- 1 frozen banana
- 12 to 14 ounces cooled coffee (either freshly brewed and cooled down with ice or precooled in the fridge)
- ¼ cup (or a handful) walnuts
- 1 cup ice
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
What to do: Add all ingredients to the blender, and mix until smooth.
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