How to add more protein to your breakfast
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How to add more protein to your breakfast

As we’ve seen before, eating adequate protein at breakfast is a great strategy for improving body composition and maintaining muscle mass. In this article we explore how to add more protein to your breakfast.

Protein for breakfast

As discussed in a previous article, higher protein breakfasts can help with satiety and weight management.

Moreover, sports nutrition science points at an ideal dose of 0.25-0.30g of protein per kg of body weight per meal (including breakfast!) for building muscle.

High protein breakfasts

Breakfasts that can be naturally high in protein include:

  • Leftovers from dinner
  • Egg-based breakfasts (boiled/poached/fried/scrambled eggs, omelette, frittata)
  • Smoothie with milk, yoghurt and/or protein powder

However, if your breakfast looks like toast (with Vegemite, butter & jam or just butter), cereal/Weetbix, a banana or porridge, chances are you are not hitting adequate protein in your morning meal.

How to add more protein to your breakfast

Toast

If you enjoy having toast for breakfast, things are a little easier. You can replace the spreads with 2-3 eggs cooked your way. Don’t forget to add some veggies on the side. You can also swap your toast for a higher protein, higher fibre alternative.

If you follow a vegan diet, you can scramble some tofu or spread a good amount of hummus or peanut butter to your toast. Same as above, consider swapping your toast for a higher protein alternative.

Cereal or Weetbix

If you enjoy a bowl of cereal in the morning, consider using a higher protein milk. My favourite is The Complete Dairy, but there are other dairy and non-dairy options. Check the table below for a comparison in protein content. Also consider choosing a higher protein, higher fibre cereal if your current choice is not particularly high in either.

Milk Protein (g) per serving (250 mL) Protein (g) per 100 mL
Australias Own Organic Almond Unsweetened Protein Plus Milk 5.0 2.0
Dairy Farmers A2 Protein Full Cream Milk 8.5 3.4
Dairy Farmers A2 Protein Light Milk 8.8 3.5
Dairy Farmers A2 Protein Prebiotic 8.5 3.4
Sanitarium So Good High Protein Almond Milk 10.2 4.1
The Complete Dairy Full Cream Milk High Protein 15.0 6.0
The Complete Dairy Light Milk High Protein 15.0 6.0
Vitasoy Almond & Protein Unsweetened Milk 10.0 4.0
Vitasoy Oat Protein + Unsweetened Uht Milk 10.0 4.0
Vitasoy Soy & Protein Unsweetened Milk 10.0 4.0
Vitasoy Protein Plus 10.5 4.2

You can also make your own high protein milk by adding skim milk powder (or protein powder) to regular milk.

Finally, you can top your cereal with some high protein yoghurt (such as YoPro or Chobani Fit), nuts and/or seeds. Check out the table below for protein content in some high protein yoghurts.

Yoghurt Serving size (g) Protein (g) per serving (200g) Protein (g) per 100g
Chobani Fit Vanilla 170 15.5 9.1
Coles Yoghurt High Protein 200 15.0 7.5
Farmers Union Greek Style Protein Yoghurt 150 12.5 8.3
Woolworths High Protein Plain Yoghurt 200 20.5 10.3
YoPRO Plain 160 17.0 10.6
YoPRO Vanilla 160 15.2 9.5

Porridge

The advice for porridge is similar to that for cereal: you can use high protein milk and/or yoghurt and top your porridge with nuts, nut butter and/or seeds. The table below has the protein content in a standard serve size of 30 grams of nuts, seeds and peanut butter.

Protein (g) per serve (30g)
Almonds (raw) 5.9
Brazil nuts 4.3
Cashews (raw) 5.1
Hazelnuts (raw) 4.4
Macadamia nuts (raw) 2.8
Peanuts (raw) 7.4
Pecans (raw) 2.9
Pine nuts (raw) 3.9
Pistachios (raw) 5.9
Walnuts (raw) 4.3
Chia seeds 4.2
Flaxseeds 4.7
Poppy seeds 4.6
Pumpkin seeds 9.1
Sunflower seeds 6.8
Tahini 5.2
Natural peanut butter 7.3

On the topic of nut butters, one of my favourite brands makes protein peanut butter.

Fruit

You can eat your fruit with high protein yoghurt and/or peanut butter and/or nuts. You can also make a smoothie with protein powder, high protein milk, high protein yoghurt, or a combination. Adding protein to fruit not only makes the meal more satiating but also slows down the release of the natural sugars present in fruit.

Summary and recommendations

A higher protein breakfast can be beneficial for you if you are an athlete or just looking to improve your body composition (i.e. lose fat and gain muscle mass). If your current breakfast is low in protein (e.g. cereal or fruit), you can increase its protein content by adding high protein whole foods such as eggs, high protein milk/yoghurt and/or nuts/seeds.

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