If you're focused on building or maintaining muscle — or, you're just after a satiating experience — try making protein the base of your breakfast in place of carbohydrates.
"A breakfast that is solely carbs, such as pancakes, will not keep you full for very long," says Dylan Murphy, RD, LDN and owner of Dylan Murphy Nutrition.
A better choice is a meal that's high in protein and fat, paired with a serving of carbs, she says. "This ensures you are eating a well-rounded meal that will keep you full and satisfied for several hours," Murphy notes.
Start your day on the right foot with these 10 tasty meal ideas — each provides about 20 grams or less total carbohydrates.
Are You Getting Enough Protein?
Since one large egg has 3.6 grams of protein and under a gram of carbs, according to the USDA, you'll find plenty of dishes that star this breakfast staple. But these recipes go beyond traditional, typical morning meals — you'll find unexpected preparations like savory yogurt, vegan hash and more on this list as well.
These delightful breakfasts are enough to make you look forward to the buzz of your alarm clock in the morning!
1. Middle Eastern Savory Yogurt Jar
- Calories: 334
- Carbs: 17 grams
- Protein: 27 grams
Yogurt with something sweet is a classic. It's common to serve it with a swirl of fruit or accompanied by a scoop of granola. But Greek yogurt is also delightful as part of a savory meal — in fact, in Middle Eastern countries, this is how the thick, creamy yogurt is traditionally served.
This rustic breakfast recipe uses Greek yogurt as the base — spicy, crunchy chickpeas top it, along with tangy feta cheese, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. "Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein, which means it will keep you full for a while," says Murphy.
Plus, the Greek yogurt means this bowl is also rich in probiotics — good-for-you bacteria that are beneficial for your gut health, Murphy points out.
Get the Middle Eastern Savory Yogurt Jar recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Portabella Egg Sandwich
- Calories: 359
- Carbs: 8 grams
- Protein: 24 grams
Try this twist on a classic egg-and-cheese breakfast sandwich: Instead of toast or an English muffin, the "bread" in this recipe is sautéed portabella mushroom caps.
Along with being low in calories, mushrooms may have an anti-cancer effect, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
For this breakfast sandwich, mushroom caps are stuffed with uncured organic ham, smoked mozzarella cheese and a pasture-raised egg. All together, it's a hearty breakfast dish that's meant to be eaten with a fork and knife.
Get the Portabella Egg Sandwich recipe and nutrition information here.
3. Vegan Curry Sunrise Scramble
- Calories: 302 calories
- Carbs: 13 grams
- Protein: 16 grams
Skip the eggs and go for a tofu scramble instead. There's so much taste, texture and eye appeal to this plate of vegan deliciousness, including the virgin coconut oil in which red onion is caramelized, and the hot Madras curry powder that gives the tofu a distinctive flavor and color pop.
Like eggs, a tofu scramble are a protein-rich breakfast option, says Murphy. And while this recipe includes grape tomatoes and spinach, you can sub in whichever veggies you have on hand.
"Tofu scrambles are a great way to get in some fiber-rich vegetables in the morning," Murphy says.
Get the Vegan Curry Sunrise Scramble recipe and nutritional info here.
4. Heirloom Tomato, Avocado and Goat Cheese Plate
- Calories: 295
- Carbs: 20 grams
- Protein: 10 grams
No need to whip out the skillet! This satisfying breakfast is a snap to prepare.
Since it only has a few ingredients, make sure to opt for high-quality cheese and fresh, ripe produce. To make it, start with seasonal heirloom tomatoes that haven't been refrigerated.
Top with fresh slices of creamy Hass avocado and crumbles of goat cheese. Sprinkle with white balsamic vinegar and full-bodied extra-virgin olive oil, along with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper for added flavor.
Get the Heirloom Tomato, Avocado and Goat Cheese Plate recipe and nutritional info here.
5. Tex-Mex Vegan Breakfast Hash
- Calories: 350
- Carbs: 20 grams
- Protein: 13 grams
Plant-lovers, rejoice: This hash includes no meat. And, in place of starchy potatoes, this Tex-Mex dish subs in protein-rich organic tofu.
Tofu is a complete protein, containing all nine of the essential amino acids that our body can't produce on its own, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Eating tofu is also linked to helping lower your risk of heart disease, according to a March 2020 study of 200,000 women that was published in Circulation.
Making this dish is a snap: Simply cook cut-up veggies and tofu alongside spices in a non-stick pan, then top with decadent chunks of avocado.
Get the Tex-Mex Vegan Breakfast Hash recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Grilled Vegetable Greek Yogurt
- Calories: 315
- Carbs: 20 grams
- Protein: 25 grams
Here's another savory way to enjoy yogurt in the morning. What you'll do first is give plain fat-free Greek yogurt a Mediterranean flavor upgrade by whisking it with extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
That olive oil is considered a "good fat" because it contains monounsaturated fats, which help lower bad cholesterol levels — which, in turn, is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, per the American Heart Association (AHA)
Once you've zhuzhed up your olive oil, top the mixture with your favorite grilled vegetables, such as bell peppers, red onion, cherry tomatoes or zucchini. As you can see, this morning meal is a terrific way to repurpose leftovers.
Get the Grilled Vegetable Greek Yogurt recipe and nutrition info here.
7. Egg Salad Tomato 'Bruschetta'
- Calories: 304
- Carbs: 7 grams
- Protein: 8 grams
Plan ahead by boiling a couple of eggs the evening before you plan to enjoy this appetizer-inspired breakfast. Better yet, cook up several eggs to have on hand for the next few days — doing this makes fixing breakfast extra speedy.
Serve up this egg salad on juicy, ripe tomato rounds. Eggs provide plenty of health benefits — in addition to being rich in protein, they provide 5 percent of your daily value of vitamin D, according to the USDA. Eggs are also rich in choline, which is an essential nutrient, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Get the Egg Salad Tomato 'Bruschetta' recipe and nutrition info here.
8. Sunny-Side-Up Breakfast Sausage
- Calories: 245
- Carbs: 3 grams
- Protein: 24 grams
Here's a turkey sausage patty that's fresh, preservative-free and full of flavor. Make your morning easier by prepping the sausage mixture the night before — then, all you'll have to do is brown up these big babies and top with an egg (sunny-side-up, fried or prepared however you prefer).
This meal delivers a double-whammy of protein. That's good news since protein is so important for your body.
"Protein is the building block of muscle, so it's important to have in all meals," Murphy says — that's particularly true for pre- and post-workout noshes, she notes.
Get the Sunny-Side-Up Breakfast Sausage recipe and nutrition info here.
9. Mesclun Egg Salad
- Calories: 350
- Carbs: 8 grams
- Protein: 18 grams
Salad for breakfast? Absolutely! Top off your greens with a couple of eggs for a protein-rich start to your day. The avocado delivers richness — plus, like olive oils, this veggie is full of healthy monounsaturated fats, per the AHA.
If you're short on time in the morning, you can roast the red bell pepper the night before or use a jarred version. You can also vary your egg preparation — while the fried eggs are delicious, so too are poached or hard-boiled eggs (which can easily be prepared beforehand).
Get the Mesclun Egg Salad recipe and nutrition info here.
10. Cajun Turkey and Greens Hot Cereal Bowl
- Calories: 387
- Carbs: 19 grams
- Protein: 30 grams
Think of this savory bowl as a cross between a hearty soup and oatmeal. Sound weird? Trust us: It's delicious — a protein-packed serving of flavorful comfort food.
The oats provide body and texture, helping you get more fiber (while keeping carbs in check) and hold the dish together. This bowl features lean turkey, baby kale, sun-dried tomatoes and a healthy dollop of cajun seasoning for a blast of heat and flavor.
Get the Cajun Turkey and Greens Hot Cereal Bowl recipe and nutritional info here.
- Mayo Clinic: "Prebiotics, Probiotics and Your Health"
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Mushrooms"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Do I Need to Worry About Eating ‘Complete’ Proteins?"
- Circulation: "Isoflavone Intake and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in US Men and Women"
- American Heart Association: "Monounsaturated Fat"
- USDA: "Eggs"
- National Institutes of Health: "Choline"