Protein is one of the key macronutrients required by our body to function and thrive, with adequate protein intake ensuring growth, development and repair of tissues, enzymes, hormones and muscles. Yet many people have carbohydrate heavy diets, and lack their daily protein requirements.
Breakfast is one of the key meals in which we have the opportunity to improve our daily protein intake, stabilise appetite and fuel our bodies with sustained energy – yet this is often the time that protein goes amiss. Upping breakfast protein can be so simple: try these easy solutions for a more protein-balanced meal to start your day.
Frozen smoothie bowl
This is the taste of summer with all the goodness. Blend avocado, berries, banana, nut butter and a scoop of raw protein powder to up the plant protein and feel like you’re eating a dessert for breakfast.
For those who love warming foods to start their day, this is great for the amino acid (protein) content within the quinoa grain, but you can take it up a notch again by simply whisking an egg and stirring it through one to two minutes prior to taking the pot of porridge off the stove. The egg adds protein whilst also creating a deliciously custard like flavour.
Eggs, avocado and spinach
For your quick morning fry ups, fuel your body with egg protein, B vitamins, zinc, healthy fats from avocado and a good dose of iron and fibre from spinach.
Seed bread or snaps with almond butter, banana and cinnamon
A lighter breakfast that combines the amino acids present in seeds and almonds to give your body more of what it’s looking for. Banana and cinnamon – a natural blood sugar stabiliser - are a beautiful, sweet combination, but any seasonal fruits are great options.
"While legumes are a source of carbohydrate and protein, this is still preferable to a completely carb-heavy breakfast of simple toast or cereal."
Chia, nut and Coyo jar
This can be prepared the night before by soaking chia with almond milk and other add-ins to give more flavour. Then just top with nuts, seeds, and coconut yoghurt for a protein-rich breakfast to grab and go the next day.
Raw protein smoothie
Take the opportunity to include plenty of vegetables in your breakfast cup. While fruit smoothies may be delicious, they often lack the addition of a raw protein supplement and the amino acids, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients present in vegetables. Aim to include a scoop of good quality raw (brown rice or pea) protein, with veggies such as spinach, avocado, kale, cucumber and fresh herbs in your morning blend.
Beans, tomato and spices with vegetables
Make a flavoursome Mexi-style breakfast and boost your day with protein from legumes. While legumes are a source of carbohydrate and protein, this is still preferable to a completely carb-heavy breakfast of simple toast or cereal.
Sourdough or seed bread with hummus tomato and herbs
For the mornings you feel like toast but know you need to balance your plate with a touch more than carbohydrate. The main ingredient in hummus, chickpeas, will help take you there. While chickpeas are not as high in protein as eggs on toast, making this addition is a positive step in the right direction.
Sweet banana omelette
Or pancake, whichever you might prefer to call it, is the breakfast of champions. Simply whisk or blend together two eggs, one mashed banana, a dash of vanilla and fry as an omelette then eat as is or top with a few extra ingredients as you wish. It tastes like banana crepes but without the flour and dairy, which can cause digestive discomfort for some individuals.
Green bowl with smoked salmon
A weekend brunch or for those who love more savoury meals to charge their day. Smoked salmon, trout or gravlax are completely delicious and add an element of indulgence and protein to your breakfast plate.
Jacqueline Alwill is a qualified, practicing nutritionist, author of Seasons to Share and director at The Brown Paper Bag.