Adding to its already sterling reputation, several high-quality studies have linked a protein-rich breakfast with numerous health benefits. Note, though, that the key is protein – a nutrient that is sorely lacking from common, carb-saturated breakfast items.
So, what are the best protein sources that you can easily incorporate into your breakfast routine? Here, in no particular order, is 10 of the best options.
While both whey powder and casein powder are fantastic, convenient ways to get complete protein into your system, casein has a unique property that makes it a solid breakfast choice: it clots up in your stomach. Since casein is the solid portion of milk, usually used to make cheese, it clumps up in your system and essentially forms a protein mass that keeps you fed for hours. All protein has the benefits of keeping you feeling full but this slow-release attribute of casein makes it particularly useful for the purposes of breaking your fast.
Like all animal-based proteins, eggs offer a complete supply of amino acids. An average egg contains about 6 grams of protein. In reality, all of the protein in this classic breakfast option is found in the white, with the yolk containing high levels of fat. There has been a considerable amount of controversy surrounding the type of fat found in eggs, however, so if you want to avoid it you can just have the whites.
This thinly-sliced fish is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with protein and highly beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. The fats, as great as they are, actually come in relatively low levels, making salmon a lean protein.
Similarly, tuna is rich in complete protein and low in fats. The fat that is supplied by tuna, however, is extremely good for you.
Yet another lean protein, chicken isn't normally considered a “breakfast food.” But maybe it should be. A cup of diced chicken breast will give you a massive 43g of protein and just 5g of fat.
Thanks to the straining process that thickens traditional yogurt into “Greek,” this version of the classic food has nearly double the protein – an impressive 20g, compared to just 10g of standard yogurt. As an added bonus, Greek yogurt has much fewer carbs. Be aware that Greek yogurt can be very high in fat unless you opt for the low- or no-fat varieties.
It's unusual for a plant protein to provide all the amino acids, but quinoa is one of the few. Unlike soy, however, quinoa manages to do that without the risk of allergies or adverse side effects. This grain can be prepared a number of ways, whether it's eaten like a cereal or baked into muffins, which makes it a very convenient option.
Although it's high in protein, breakfast sausage also tends to be fairly high in fat. Opt for chicken sausage or, if you must have pork, chose a reduced-fat version.
Ricotta, cottage and other cheeses are a good way to incorporate some quality protein into your breakfast but, again, be mindful of the fat content. Often, you can get some low-fat options without sacrificing flavor.
Virtually identical to chicken in nutrition, turkey gives you options. The flavor tends to be stronger and the texture is typically more dense – which may or may not be a good thing depending on your preferences.