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Breakfast Foods That Are Healthy Sources of Protein

Benefits of adding protein to your breakfast

The importance of eating a diet rich in protein cannot be underscored enough. Protein is such a vital nutrient that the health and well-being of the human body suffers when it is lacking. Not only is protein essential to helping the body rebuild and restore itself, but a diet rich in protein aids in the building of muscle and bone.

Beginning each day by eating healthy sources of protein for breakfast is a great way to make sure your body gets off to a good start.

Additional health-pleasing benefits of protein include keeping the body feeling full longer, as well as staying energized. Protein literally takes longer for the body to digest than unhealthier sources of food, helping to keep pangs of hunger at bay. For people trying to either lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, increasing protein intake while decreasing bad fats has been proven effective.

Eggs - a healthy source of protein for breakfast

When it comes to including healthy sources of protein at the breakfast table, many people first think to add eggs to their meal. Eggs, a low-cost breakfast food that can be quick and easy to prepare, are an excellent source of protein and nutrients.

For those that are time-crunched in the morning, preparing hard-boiled eggs ahead of time makes including eggs at breakfast even that much more simple and quick.

Source of protein content for eggs: American Egg Board

EggGrams of protein

Whole egg


Egg White





According to the American Egg Board, eggs provide a very high quality of protein. It seems that the protein in eggs not only contains all the essential amino acids that humans need, but they do so in a "near-perfect pattern."

It's important to understand that there are two types of protein:

  • Complete protein
  • Incomplete protein

Proteins are made up of about twenty amino acids. Amino acids that are necessary for the body to build its own proteins are called essential amino acids and complete proteins contain nine of these essential amino acids.

Sources of complete protein include:

  • Eggs
  • Meat, fish and poultry
  • Other sources of animal protein

Even though incomplete proteins do not contain these nine essential amino acids, they still are necessary in the process of creating proteins and should be included in every diet.

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Sources of incomplete proteins include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Grains
  • Nuts

Renowned cardiologist and television talk show host, Dr. Mehmet Oz, explains in The Power of Protein, that the body does not store amino acids and that is why it is necessary to consume both forms of protein each and every day:

Complete and incomplete proteins play an equally important role in this [protein building] process. The best way to get all the protein you need is to pick from wide and varied sources.

Symptoms of egg allergy

Did you know that some vaccines are made with an egg base and should be avoided by people with severe allergies to eggs?

Symptoms of egg allergies:

  • Skin rash
  • Hives
  • Nasal inflammation
  • Vomiting
  • Other digestive problems
  • Coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath

Source: Mayo Clinic Egg Allergy Symptoms

Egg allergies and protein

Unfortunately some people are allergic to eggs - specifically to the proteins found in the yolk. It is not even safe for people with egg allergies to consume the whites of eggs since they may contain traces of the yolk.

Egg allergy sufferers should always be careful to avoid foods that may contain hidden sources of egg, including: baked goods, pasta, soup, salted pretzels with an egg wash, and even specialty coffee drinks with foams and creams that may contain egg.

Just because a person cannot eat eggs does not mean they cannot eat other sources of healthy protein for breakfast.

Healthy sources of protein for breakfast besides eggs

Fortunately, for people who cannot eat eggs, or for those that do not want to eat them every day, there is a myriad of healthy sources of protein for breakfast.

The numerous sources of protein available for breakfast, snacks or any meal of the day, makes meeting the goal of consuming a wide variety of proteins, both the complete and incomplete types, easily attainable.

Consider the possible breakfast foods pictured below. Each breakfast item contains protein; after all protein is found in fruit, grains, nuts, and animal sources such as dairy.

Amount of protein in breakfast foods above

This breakfast has almost 30g of protein.


Tropicana orange juice - 8oz.


Chobani greek yogurt


Quaker Oatmeal - 1 packet low sugar


Jiff peanut butter - 1T


Bread - 2 slices



Protein in oats

  • 3.5 oz rolled oats dry = 16g
  • 1/4 cup dry steel-cut oats = 7g

Oatmeal is a hearty source of protein for breakfast

Oatmeal is a good example of a grain that contains protein and is readily available in the breakfast aisle of the grocery store. Rolled oats can be made with milk instead of water to add even more protein.

Today, more people are appreciating the nuttier flavor of steel-cut oats compared to rolled oats. Whichever type of oat is preferred, oats can be used in recipes for pancakes, muffins, protein bars, protein shakes, as well as a traditional bowl of oatmeal.

To add additional flavor and color and even more protein to a warm bowl of oatmeal, add:

  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raisins


Protein in peanut butter

  • 1T Jiff smooth peanut butter = 3.5g
  • 1T Smuckers natural, chunky peanut butter = 3.5g
  • 1T Mara Natha organic crunchy peanut butter = 4g

Peanut butter and nuts are a tasty source of protein that can be added to any breakfast

Nuts got a bad wrap in the "low-fat" dieting frenzy of years past. While limiting the amount of saturated fat in one's diet is a good thing, care should be taken not to eliminate all of the heart-healthy unsaturated fats.

Unfortunately, since nuts are thought of us fatty and are high calorie, many people swear them off. In fact, nuts are a valuable source of protein among other nutrients, and when consumed in moderation are an excellent addition to any diet.

A small handful of protein packed nuts mid-morning or mid-afternoon is a great way to avoid unhealthy snacking. Nuts can also be part of a nutritious breakfast, easily sprinkled on top of pancakes or oatmeal, or eaten whole. Additionally, peanut butter on toast is a favorite of many. Natural peanut butters and organic peanut butters are even healthier options.


Protein in Greek yogurt

  • 6 oz. Yoplait Greek = 11g
  • 5.3 oz. Dannon Oikos = 11-12g
  • 6 oz Chobani = 14-16g
Greek yogurt has twice the protein of regular yogurt.

Greek yogurt has twice the protein of regular yogurt.

Dairy foods like Greek yogurt pack a lot of protein in every bite

Greek yogurt has double the amount of protein as regular yogurt and a very satisfying, creamy consistency. Gaining in popularity, Greek yogurt seems to be overtaking the dairy section normally allotted to regular yogurt.

The traditional big name yogurt brands, Dannon, Yoplait and Chobani, for example, have a wide variety of flavors. From plain vanilla to yogurt with fruit on the bottom, having a bowlful of Greek yogurt is a very tasty and healthy source of protein for breakfast.

With twice the protein of regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is a smart addition to breakfast, especially for anyone trying to lose weight and avoid feeling hungry.


Protein in milk and dairy

1 cup milk = 8g

1/2 cup cottage cheese = 15g

1 oz. cheddar cheese = 7g

Milk and dairy

Milk and dairy should be part of a healthy breakfast

Besides Greek yogurt, other sources of dairy provide convenient ways to add healthy sources of protein to breakfast. In addition to all of the other vitamins and nutrients that dairy products include or are fortified with, a lot of bang for your protein buck is gotten with a glass of milk.

Other dairy products with protein to add to breakfast include:

  • Yogurt (regular or Greek)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cheese


Protein in turkey bacon

  • 1 slice Eating Right turkey bacon = 6g protein

Lean meats like turkey bacon are a crunchy way to include protein in breakfast

Including a wide array of proteins in one's diet each day is optimal, and animal sources of protein are especially necessary since they are complete proteins. Full of all the amino acids required for the body to make its own proteins, healthy cuts of meat and fish can be part of breakfast.

For those that cannot forgo greasy bacon, consider the healthier alternative - turkey bacon. Turkey bacon can be both satisfying in flavor and texture, and is a good way to start the day off with protein.

Turkey bacon and other meats are sources of protein


Protein in shakes and bars

  • 1 cup Silk Fruit and Protein = 5g
  • 1 bottle Oh-Yeah Nutritional Shake = 32g
  • 14 oz. bottle Muscle Milk = 20g
  • 1 bar Protein Plus bar = 23g

Protein shakes and protein bars provide protein for breakfast-on-the-run

While it's important to always set time aside to start the day off with a healthy breakfast, there certainly are days where time is a precious commodity. In those instances the best way to include protein in a breakfast-on-the-go may be from foods and drinks that purposefully are made to be protein-rich.

Entire aisles in grocery stores are stocked with high protein products meant to increase energy and build muscle. These energy bars and protein drinks/powders are especially geared towards physically active individuals and people trying to add muscle.

However, these protein-packed drinks and bars are a quick alternative when there is not the time to prepare an otherwise healthy breakfast.


Daily protein requirements

Source: WebMD Protein: Are you getting enough?

Age and sexProtein

All infants


Teenage boys


Teenage girls


Adult men


Adult women


Are you getting enough protein in your diet?

Protein information is readily available on packages and easily found for whole foods, but it is important to know how much protein the body requires on a daily basis.

According to a 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey some females are missing the mark. The study revealed that 7.7% of teenage females and approximately 8% of older adult women were not meeting minimum recommended amounts of protein.

To be healthy and feel good everyone should do their best to eat the required amounts of protein for their given age and sex. In addition to eggs, healthy sources of protein for breakfast foods are plentiful. Gone are the excuses of not liking eggs or having time to prepare a high protein breakfast. Providing energy and stamina, your body will thank you when you fuel it up with protein.

Source: Protein: Are you getting enough?

Even dogs need and love protein!

Even dogs need and love protein!


Your protein intake matters!


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Melanie on July 07, 2016:

Congratulations! Loved the information. a perfectly balanced breakfast is key! :)

Bill Armstrong from Valencia, California on October 24, 2014:

Awesome page, and really appreciate you sharing this stuff, i need improve much in this area, keep posting please ;)

Brian Health Nut on February 11, 2014:

Great hub though I think the inclusion of different beans would add to it more. I think chick peas (garbanzo beans) have more protein in them than a lot of meats do!

Alex Munkachy from Honolulu, Hawaii on May 24, 2013:


Nicole S Hanson from Minnesota on May 24, 2013:

Very nice hub. I am always at a loss for what to have for protein in the morning. Unfortunately its tough for me to eat eggs or dairy in the morning, and protein bars make me feel sick so this was helpful for some different ideas.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on February 03, 2013:

Jaye - I appreciate your "it's never too late" attitude. That positive outlook in itself is good for ones health. I myself probably was not a regular breakfast eater until I had small children that needed to eat breakfast. Many times anything I write regarding health is preaching to myself; and this Hub is a case of that. I have not been eating enough protein these days and I'm glad you commented on this as it gave me a chance to look at what I know but haven't been practicing. Thanks for your thought-provoking comment.

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on February 02, 2013:

This is a terrific hub, Kristen...well-written, and the charts add so much info in an easy-to-read format.

I've never really enjoyed breakfast, and--at this stage of life (nearly 70)--force myself to eat it most days. I think of it as "preventive maintenance." Ha. I do enjoy oatmeal or peanut butter toast on Rudi's organic whole-grain bread (a very dense, delicious bread) with my coffee. I'd just rather eat it about lunch-time! Since my dog likes banana for her breakfast, I usually halve a small banana to feed her one portion, while I eat the other. That way, if I don't get around to eating breakfast before it's time for lunch--at least I had some fruit. (No protein, though.)

This is one of those self-improvement tasks I keep working on. I prefer to think it's never too late while I'm still on the planet. On the whole, I eat healthy foods--almost entirely organics. Since I retired, I don't have to buy new clothing, so I use my "clothing allowance" to make sure my food supply is safe from pesticides and other dangerous additives.

I look forward to reading more of your hubs.

Voted Up++


Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on May 20, 2012:

Thank you Tara. I have never heard of quinoa before but it certainly sounds interesting and nice that it is a complete protein. How does your friend prepare it?

Tara McNerney from Washington, DC on May 20, 2012:

This hub was so well organized and I loved the comparison of grams of protein of different foods. Another idea, I know someone that eats warm quinoa with a bit of coconut milk for breakfast! Quinoa, a seed, is a complete protein.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on May 05, 2012:

Thanks Vellur. "Power packed breakfast" is a great way of saying protein-filled breakfast. I know I feel more energetic when I've had protein.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 05, 2012:

Excellent hub with useful information for a power packed breakfast.Voted up.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on May 02, 2012:

Moon Willow Lake - Happy to help - good to know you learned a lot about protein and sources of protein. Thanks for letting me know.

Moon Willow Lake on May 02, 2012:

Thank-you for sharing all of this excellent information. I learned a lot.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on May 02, 2012:

nancykapoor - It's sounds like you make sure you get your protein from a variety of foods. That's good, especially since various foods supply our bodies with other essential nutrients. I'm glad you found the Hub to be informative and enjoyed my doggie pic too! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on May 02, 2012:

StellaSee - I have not ever tried Trader's Joes Greek yogurt but I may have to change. Consistency is everything when it comes to yogurt.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on May 02, 2012:

ytsenoh - Peanut butter on toast is one of my favorites too. I particularly like the natural peanut butter on whole wheat toast. Thank you for your generous comment regarding this Hub too!

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on May 02, 2012:

Kelleyward - Turkey is another great source of protein since it is leaner than beef. Thanks for your comment.

NancyKapoor from Chandigarh, India on May 02, 2012:

I personally love to eat vegetables, fruits and nuts to acquire necessity percentage of protein for my body rather than opting meat or poultry. I do intake eggs proteins in weekend breakfast but not regularly. Gone through with your hub, it's so well-informative written with awesome photo clicks; quite impressive and funny doggie pic :) I get to know about the bad symptoms of egg severe allergies which is new to my knowledge block. Well, Congratulations for being selected as hub of the day!

StellaSee from California on May 01, 2012:

I love greek yogurt! My favorite brands are the Fage yogurt and the greek yogurts from Trader Joe's, I like their consistencies the best. I wish they could be a little cheaper though, it's my luxury snack! Congratulations on being Hub of the Day!

Cathy from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri on May 01, 2012:

Congratulations on earning hub of the day. Maybe this is hub of the week. It was so well-organized, written and described. You provided all the appropriate information and your images were splendid. I'm not just saying this because you had my favorite snack in one of your images (peanut butter on toast!!) I like the way you presented all your information including the protein amounts. Excellent. Thanks much. Plus up.

kelleyward on May 01, 2012:

I love eating eggs and Greek yogurt for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I also enjoy turkey. Thanks for this valuable hub! Congrats on HOTD! Take care, Kelley

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on May 01, 2012:

Eric Calderwood - I'm happy to know that this information on sources of protein is truly helpful to you as you try to rebuild the muscle that you lost during illness. I certainly hope you are on the road to recovery. Best wishes.

frogyfish from Central United States of America on May 01, 2012:

Nice and easy tips for breakfast protein here. I even like raw nuts and cranberries in my oatmeal. And the cholesterol in 'real' eggs is the good kind, so I eat lots of them. Thanks for interesting hub.