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
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|
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)|
|Macadamia nuts (raw)||2.8|
|Pine nuts (raw)||3.9|
|Natural peanut butter||7.3|
On the topic of nut butters, one of my favourite brands makes protein peanut butter.
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.