8 High-Protein Breakfast Ideas to Kick the Day Off Right

4 min read
Need to kick off your day the right way? These dietitian-approved, high-protein breakfast ideas are just the ticket.
Need to kick off your day the right way? These dietitian-approved, high-protein breakfast ideas are just the ticket.

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Breakfast really sets the tone for the day, and consuming a high-quality protein first thing in the morning can be a big part of that. (No time to cook? Essential Protein has you covered—just mix it with water or add to your favorite smoothie.)

Why? Let us count the ways: For one, says Laura Burak, MS, RD, CDN, protein helps keep us satiated. “When breakfast is mostly made up of carbs (which are digested quickly), it can set you up for hunger swings for the rest of the day,” she says.*

“Including protein in your breakfast is like revving up your engine for the entire day,” she says. Keep reading for eight delicious, high-protein breakfast recipes, including some vegan and vegetarian options.*

Avocado toast topped with eggs

Instagram-worthy, tasty, and high in protein, avocado toast topped with a couple of eggs ticks all the boxes. “Eggs are by far one of the best breakfast foods you can include in your dishes to set you up for a balanced day of eating,” Burak says. “The protein and fat in eggs are a satisfying combo to help keep you feeling energized and full for hours.” Plus, the healthy fat and fiber from the avocado take things up a notch.* (1)

High-Protein Breakfast Ideas - Power Oats

Power oats

Oatmeal is a popular, vegan-friendly breakfast option when made with nut milk. However, on its own it can be kind of bland. That’s why Burak recommends giving your oatmeal a makeover by topping it with your favorite seeds, nuts, granola, and fresh fruits for volume, fat, protein, and other nutrients. The right combo can ultimately add up to a delicious, high-protein breakfast. Bonus: You can also make overnight oats to save you time in the morning. Is there anything better than waking up to your breakfast already made? We think not.*

Whole wheat English muffin with smoked salmon

“Smoked salmon provides 16 grams of protein for every 3 ounces, making it a great source of protein,” says Mascha Davis, MPH, RDN, founder of Nomadista Nutrition and author of Eat Your Vitamins. “A 3.5 ounce portion also includes about 2.3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.” Pro tip: Spread some cream cheese on it too for added flavor. * (2)

Veggie omelet with whole-grain toast

A veggie omelet is a great high-protein breakfast option for vegetarians and omnivores alike. “Two eggs provide 12 grams of protein and pairing that with some whole-grain toast will provide nutrition to help you to take on your day,” Davis says. The best part: the flavor combinations are endless—just throw in whatever vegetables you have in your refrigerator.* (3)

Black bean and veggie burrito

Not feeling a veggie omelet? Perhaps black beans and vegetables wrapped in a tortilla is more enticing as a morning meal. “This breakfast goes great with veggies like spinach, sweet potatoes, peppers, and onions,” Davis says. “The beans provide carbs and protein all in one. Plus, they are high in fiber.” * (4)

Nut butter toast

Whole grain toast topped with almond butter, seeds (hello, plant-based protein!), and berries is like an upgraded and grown-up version of the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we all love. “The fiber from the toast and berries coupled with the protein and fat from the nut butter and seeds provide a winning combo to keep you full and happy,” Burak says. For this combination, she recommends sprinkling heart-healthy seeds such as chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds.* (5,6)

High-Protein Breakfast Ideas—Veggie Scramble

Tofu scramble

“A tofu scramble made with tofu, turmeric and any other spices you want is the perfect protein-filled breakfast for vegans,” Davis says. “A common concern when adapting a vegan diet is that it's difficult to obtain adequate protein, but 1 cup of tofu provides 18 grams protein.” You can add in some vegetables to the scramble for extra fiber and flavor. * (7)

Protein smoothie

Can you ever go wrong with a breakfast smoothie? It’s quick and versatile, and very vegan-friendly. Burak recommends starting with your favorite fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, or mangos, and choice of milk (think oat, soy, or almond milk). Add in a high-quality, plant-based protein powder—ideally one that provides a complete amino acid profile, like Essential Protein—and you're good to go. If you need some recipe inspo, check out our streamlined, RD-approved guide to building a nutritionally balanced smoothie. Easy, healthy, and delicious—what more could you ask for?*


  1. Dreher, M. L., & Davenport, A. J. (2013). Hass avocado composition and potential health effects. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 53(7), 738–750.
  2. Office of Dietary Supplements - Omega-3 Fatty Acids. (n.d.). Retrieved from National Institutes of Health
  3. FoodData Central Search Results. (n.d.). Retrieved July 20, 2020, from the USDA
  4. Robertson, R. (n.d.). …Beans and Legumes… Retrieved from Healthline
  5. Thomas, R., & Gebhardt, S. (2010). Sunflower Seed Butter and Almond Butter as Nutrient-Rich Alternatives to Peanut Butter. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 110(9). doi:10.1016/j.jada.2010.06.189
  6. FoodData Central Search Results. Hemp Seeds Nutrition. Retrieved from USDA
  7. FoodData Central Search Results. Soybean Curd Nutrition. Retrieved from USDA


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