A healthful, protein-filled breakfast packs plenty of energy, improves concentration, enhances mood, encourages weight loss and does a lot of other good things. The default protein-filled breakfast is usually some type of egg dish, but if you’re tired of eggs or can’t have them, you can still have a delicious protein-filled meal.
In many parts of the world, eggs are indelibly tied to a meal we all know and love as breakfast. They’re light, fluffy, delicious and packed with protein (and, some would say, cholesterol, but exactly how bad they are is still up for debate). Given eggs’ high levels of protein, a lot of people turn to them for lean, energy-filled breakfasts, but that’s not always possible. Not everyone can eat eggs, not everyone wants to (that whole cholesterol thing again), and sometimes people just want something else.
If you find yourself looking to eat protein but are yearning for something a little less eggy, there are plenty of delicious options.
1. Tofu “eggs”
Our tour of high-protein, no-egg breakfasts starts with eggs. Well, almost eggs. With only a little work, you can take blocks of firm or extra-firm tofu and turn them into tofu egg-laden breakfast scrambles, frittatas, tacos, burritos and the always popular “Dad-tried-to-make-an-omelet-and-messed-up-the-flip-style” omelets.
While obviously not a popular choice for those who are already sick of eggs, they’re great for anyone who misses breakfast burritos and the like and yearns for that flavor and texture. Oh, and when you make tofu eggs, always try to use Himalayan pink salt instead of regular salt. The sulfur content in the salt makes the tofu taste extra eggy. (Though, don’t think about that sentence too much — it might gross you out a bit.)
Also, in case you were wondering, there are 10 grams of protein per 1/2 cup of tofu as compared to 6 grams in one large egg.
2. Silken tofu smoothies
So you don’t have time to actually cook your breakfast. OK, we get it. How about a smoothie? You can use milk, silken tofu or even nuts to give you a rich, thick breakfast shake that can be in a blender, mixed up and poured into a glass in about the time it takes your Keurig to give you that first cup of morning goodness.
This smoothie alone has almost as much protein as a pair of eggs, and it’s a lot easier to make the night before and take with you on the go.
3. Other smoothie mixers
Continuing the smoothie trend, there are a number of high-protein ingredients — protein powders, nuts, milk, oatmeal, quinoa, yogurt, spirulina and even ricotta — that could all find their way into a smoothie. Really, the sky is the limit, as you can take your favorite non-egg smoothie recipe (we’re hoping you don’t have many egg smoothie recipes, come to think of it…), and add a few protein-filled ingredients to it. Start with extra yogurt, a few nuts and maybe some oatmeal, and then play around to find a mix you like.
4. Oatmeal (and don’t forget the nut butters)
Each cup of cooked oatmeal is the equivalent of an egg when it comes to protein. So, by itself, oatmeal is not much of an egg competitor. Still, oatmeal comes into its own when you start to mix in other ingredients, like almond or peanut butter, a little yogurt for richness and some whole nuts for texture. Suddenly that white gruel starts to taste pretty good — and give you big muscles at the same time.
5. Quinoa “oatmeal”
Once you’ve had your fill of oatmeal, you can graduate to the master class of grain-based protein: quinoa. One cup of quinoa by itself is the equivalent of four large eggs in terms of protein, and quinoa has a bunch of other good stuff in it too. That means by itself, it’s a protein powerhouse, but you can also mix in the same protein builders as oatmeal to give yourself an extra boost.
6. Soybean and pumpkin seed snack mix
Make your own morning snack mix by combining soybeans and pumpkin seeds. Soybeans pack a whopping 17 grams of protein per 1/4 cup, and with an additional 3 grams per 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds, a handful of this mix is a perfect way to load up on the protein. They’re easily portable, a perfect grab-and-go breakfast, and they taste good. Add to that the fact that they’re filling, and you’ve got a great morning meal.
Just throwing this out there, but bacon, sausage, ham and hot dogs are all full of protein and have no eggs. Sure, they’re a food you might not want to eat every morning, but if flavor is all you care about accompanying your protein, every now and then, go for broke! Grab a sausage, and stuff it with cheese. Then wrap that in bacon. Then enjoy all that protein…