Breakfast is your opportunity to start the day right, and adding protein to your plate may be your best bet when it comes to staying satiated throughout the morning.
A high-protein breakfast has been linked to weight loss because the macronutrient helps increase muscle mass, burn calories and may even nix your desire to snack at night, according to the American Society for Nutrition.
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That said, you have to be picky about your protein sources. Instead of reaching for a bacon, egg and cheese for breakfast, you may want to opt for plant-based proteins more often.
A study that followed over 70,000 adults found that replacing red meat or processed meat with plant protein is associated with lower total, cancer-related and heart-related deaths, according to the August 2019 results in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine (JAMA).
To help you live a healthier life, wake up to these hearty breakfasts that star plant proteins. All of these veggie-based breakfasts contain more than 6 grams of protein, which is the amount in one large egg.
1. Meatless Mexican-Inspired Breakfast Wrap
- Protein: 20 grams
Tofu isn't just a good option for vegetarians or vegans: It's also a great way to get more plant protein into your day. And when you're eating it taco-style, you really can't go wrong.
"As a vegetarian dietitian, I'm a big fan of tofu," Amy Gorin, RDN, of Amy Gorin Nutrition. "It offers an excellent amount of complete protein: You'll get 22 grams in a half-cup of extra-firm tofu."
Plus, there are so many delicious ways to enjoy tofu. "You can add it to a tofu scramble, or you can even blend soft tofu into a smoothie," Gorin says.
Get the Meatless Mexican-Inspired Breakfast Wrap recipe and nutrition info here.
2. 5-Ingredient Vegan Pancakes
- Protein: 10 grams
If you've got a sweet tooth, look no further than these delicious vegan pancakes from Veggies Save the Day. Because the batter is made with mashed bananas, they have a naturally sweet taste and decadent texture that will level up your morning. These also make a great gluten-free option for anyone avoiding gluten.
And thanks to the almond yogurt alternative in these vegan pancakes, a serving will give you 10 grams of satiating protein. You'll also get some gut-healthy fiber, calcium and iron.
Get the 5-Ingredient Vegan Pancakes recipe and nutrition info at Veggies Save the Day.
3. Steel-Cut Oatmeal Berry Breakfast Bake
- Protein: 11 grams
You may not immediately think to eat quinoa for breakfast because it's usually paired with savory flavors, but it's time to start expanding your horizons. As a whole-grain, gluten-free source of complete protein, quinoa is a great choice for those with celiac disease, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
This breakfast bake gives you the familiar oats you love at breakfast and adds in the plant protein you need. Top it with fresh raspberries, coconut flakes and warm cinnamon for a hearty morning meal.
Get the Steel-Cut Oatmeal Berry Breakfast Bake recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Pesto Tofu Scramble
- Protein: 13 grams
Once you get around to trying this tofu scramble that's livened up with a dollop of aromatic pesto, you might start craving breakfast for dinner. This recipe is not only a delicious alternative to plain and boring scrambled eggs, but it's also completely vegan.
But don't let the vegan label make you think it lacks protein: This pesto-infused tofu scramble will give you 13 grams per serving. Eat it alongside whole-grain toast for a well-balanced start to your day.
Get the Pesto Tofu Scramble recipe and nutrition info at Veggies Save the Day.
5. Breakfast Biscuits With Banana and Nut Butter
- Protein: 19 grams
Nut butters of all kinds (not just peanut!) make a great source of protein for plant-based eaters.
"I like almond butter, as it is a bit higher in calcium and iron and lower in saturated fat than peanut butter," says Melissa Altman-Traub, RDN. "The majority of the fat in nut butter is heart-healthy unsaturated fats, and they also provide vitamin E and magnesium, which many people don't get enough of."
This whole-grain toast topped with nut butter and bananas makes for a perfectly satisfying breakfast that's equipped with a good balance of healthy carbs, protein and fats.
Get the Breakfast Biscuits With Banana and Nut Butter recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Easy Blackberry Smoothie
- Protein: 20 grams
If you're short on time but need a nutritious breakfast that's full of plant nutrition and protein, blend up this blackberry smoothie from Eating Bird Food.
This smoothie has a tart, sweet flavor thanks to the combination of bananas, black berries and Greek yogurt (which adds protein, too). You can add any of your favorite protein powders to this smoothie, and one with vanilla flavoring is recommended.
Get the Easy Blackberry Smoothie recipe and nutrition info from Eating Bird Food.
7. Quinoa and Chia Almond Yogurt
- Protein: 14 grams
Whole-grain quinoa and nutrient-rich chia seeds are a winning combination in this unusual yogurt parfait. Not only is this yogurt breakfast high in protein, but it's also gluten- and dairy-free, making it ideal for those with sensitive tummys or dietary restrictions.
Chia seeds add omega-3 fats, protein and fiber to the meal, making it an ideal start to your day. Plus, you can always bump up the nutrients and flavor of this plant-based breakfast recipe by simply adding fresh sliced fruit or berries.
Get the Quinoa and Chia Almond Yogurt recipe and nutrition info here.
8. Vegan Breakfast Casserole
- Protein: 9 grams
If you're looking for a plant-based protein breakfast casserole that you can make in a big batch and save for later, try your hand at this one from Veggies Save the Day.
It's loaded with plant nutrition and boasts some seriously vibrant flavor thanks to ingredients like onion, garlic, peppers, mushrooms and spices like turmeric and nutritional yeast.
All of these plant-based ingredients not only give this recipe a good amount of protein, but they also provide antioxidants and other micronutrients your body needs.
Get the Vegan Breakfast Casserole recipe and nutrition info at Veggies Save the Day.
9. Chia Pudding
- Protein: 9 grams
Chia seeds are made up of 18 to 24 percent protein, according to June 2019 research in Nutrients. They also boast high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and gut-healthy fiber, making them a great breakfast staple.
This chia pudding is a plant-based protein dream. Almond milk adds protein while the addition of silky tofu offers both protein and a creamy, decadent texture.
"Chia seeds have high nutritional value and expand when they absorb moisture, offering a gelatinous consistency to your recipes. You may also enjoy them in smoothies, oatmeal and sprinkled over yogurt," says Shahzadi Devje, RD.
Get the Chia Pudding recipe and nutrition info here.
10. Teff Breakfast Bowl
- Protein: 11 grams
About the size of a poppy seed, teff is too small to mill, so it's always technically a whole grain. A single cup of teff will give you almost 10 grams of protein, as well as other nutrients like fiber, calcium and iron.
"Including a variety of grains in your diet will help you get important nutrients your body needs, and teff is another whole-grain breakfast option that can be prepared as a porridge," says Kristen Smith, RD, founder of 360 Family Nutrition.
Get the Teff Breakfast Bowl recipe and nutrition info here.
- JAMA Internal Medicine: "Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality"
- Nutrients: "Breakfast in Human Nutrition: The International Breakfast Research Initiative"
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Quinoa"
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Nut and Peanut Butter Consumption and The Risk of Esophageal and Gastric Cancer Subtypes"
- USDA: "Black Beans, Cooked, Boiled, Without Salt"
- Nutrients: "The Chemical Composition and Nutritional Value of Chia Seeds—Current State of Knowledge"
- USDA: "Teff, Cooked"
- American Society for Nutrition: "Protein, It's What’s for Breakfast"