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20+ High-Protein, Low-Carb Breakfast Foods & Recipe Ideas

Breakfast pastries may be convenient, but high-carb options leave you hungry before lunch. Take control of midmorning hunger with high-protein, low-carb breakfast recipes!

20+ High-Protein, Low-Carb Breakfast Foods & Recipe Ideas


Running through a drive-thru for a convenient breakfast sandwich? What about grabbing that box of donuts on the way to work?

Although such options aid any busy morning schedule, these high-carb breakfast options often leave you feeling hungry way before that lunch hour. And not to mention, their less-than-likely nutritional value…

Take control of mid-morning hunger and kick start the day with these high-protein, low-carb breakfast foods and recipes. With breakfast ideas including eggs, without eggs, on-the-go, and beyond, there is a morning mealtime solution for everyone!

Or, if looking for a healthy breakfast with little to no prep, you do not have to keep reading... Instead browse the bistroMD menu of healthy, chef-prepared breakfast options you can have delivered right to your door!

(Sneak peek of a delicious high-protein, low-carb breakfast packed with over 20 grams of protein!)

High-Protein, Low-Carb Breakfast with Eggs

From over easy to scrambled, eggs are a breakfast staple that can be enjoyed in many ways. These high-protein, low-carb breakfast with egg recipes prove just that!

Mexican-Style Avocado Egg

Avocados are one unique fruit, as they are low in carbs but packed with healthy fat and fiber. Adding an egg or two elevates protein content for one balanced, satisfying meal. Here’s how to create a flavorful fiesta in less than 20 minutes:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Slice avocado in half, remove the pit, and crack an egg into the created dip (spoon out more of the avocado flash as needed).

3. Add avocado halves onto a baking sheet and bake until the egg whites are cooked and the yolk is at the desired firmness.

4. Sprinkle atop with green onions, diced tomatoes, and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. Drizzle with hot sauce for a little added spice!

Salmon with a Sunny-Side Up Egg

Do away with standard bacon rich in saturated fat and embrace a lighter variation with salmon, a naturally high-protein, low-carb food rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The notorious healthy fat offers some mega benefits tied to heart health, cognition, longevity, and beyond.

For a breakfast sure to satisfy, simply pair smoked or baked salmon with a sunny-side-up egg. Pairing eggs with lox, or cured salmon, is also a great high-protein, low-carb breakfast option.

Frittata

Frittatas are versatile dishes that can take on the flavors from many ingredients. From sweet onion to southwest chorizo, do not miss these nutritious and delicious high-protein, low-carb egg frittata recipes!

High-Protein, Low-Carb Breakfast without Eggs

While a breakfast staple, eggs are not always necessary or desired. Fortunately, countless high-protein, low-carb breakfast without egg options exist, including these ideas right below!

Greek Yogurt Parfait

Parfaits are generally perceived to be a nutritious breakfast option. However, they are often rich in carbs related to the refined sugars added to most yogurts and granolas.

For a high-protein breakfast low in carbs, choose plain Greek yogurt. Top yogurt with berries and sliced almonds or other favorite fruits, nuts, and seeds.

Yogurt-Filled Cantaloupe

Looking for a fresh, high-protein breakfast without much prep? Then a yogurt-filled cantaloupe is a perfect fit, as there really are no dishes required!

Start by slicing a cantaloupe in half horizontally then spoon out the pulp and seeds. Scoop Greek yogurt into the created "bowl" inside the hollowed cantaloupe and sprinkle with nuts or seeds for an extra crunch. Enjoy straight from the cantaloupe – really no dishes required!

Mexican Tofu Scramble

Hold the eggs, this Mexican scramble features a unique ingredient… Tofu! Also using black beans, bell pepper, nutritional yeast, and other nutritious ingredients, the scramble is bound to keep hunger leveled all morning long!

Ingredients:

• 1 tsp olive oil
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
• 1/4 cup onion, chopped
• 3.5 oz extra firm tofu, chopped
• 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
• Pinch cumin
• 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
• 1/4 cup canned black beans, drained

Instructions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, just until fragrant. Add chopped pepper and onion and saute for about 2 minutes, or until soft.

2. Add tofu, almond milk, nutritional yeast, and cumin. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, breaking the tofu apart as you stir until all of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes more.

3. Layer tofu mixture into a bowl and garnish with salsa, hot sauce, jalapeno, and other toppings as desired.

Make-Ahead High-Protein, Low-Carb Breakfast Ideas

Having make-ahead breakfast options helps lower the risk of resorting to high-carb breakfast pastries, sandwiches, and more. Meal prep these make-ahead high-protein, low-carb breakfasts that are ready-to-eat with little to no morning assembly. 

High-Protein Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

From their large volume of omega-3 fatty acid content to their significant fiber content, the small (but mighty) chia seeds are shown to offer numerous benefits, including heart and digestive health.

Chia seeds not only offer texture but supplies protein in this vanilla chia seed protein pudding! The recipe makes four servings to enjoy through your workweek.

Ingredients:

• 1 cup dairy milk
• 1 cup low-fat, plain Greek yogurt
• 1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked
• 2 Tbsp hemp hearts
• 2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder
• 2 Tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/3 cup chia seeds

Instructions:

1. In an airtight container, mix together all ingredients besides the chia seeds. Slowly add and whisk in chia seeds.

2. Allow to set for 30-minutes then stir to distribute chia seeds (this helps avoid undesirable clumping). Then, place the mixture into the refrigerator and let it chill, at least for 2 hours.

3. Spoon chia seed pudding into dishes and serve as is or with favorite toppings, including fresh fruit, nut butter, and cinnamon.

Sweet or Savory Quinoa Breakfast Bowls

Overnight oats are great and all, but you can elevate the protein content by swapping out traditional oats for a bowl of quinoa. The unique "seed" provides the body with essential amino acids that are generally absent in plant-based sources and can be batch-made for simple and diverse assembly.

Go sweet with cinnamon and berries or savory with egg, tomatoes, and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and salsa. Really, the grain can be dressed to impress taste buds no matter the flavor preference.

Mini Egg & Veggie Bites Frittatas

The muffin pan takes on a whole new use with this high-protein breakfast! This easy egg and veggie recipe can be adjusted to harness your favorite omelet flavors, including spinach, peppers, onions, tomatoes, etc. Fridge and store for a convenient, on-the-go breakfast.

Ingredients:

• 12 large eggs
• 2 Tbsp onion, finely chopped
• 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
• Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray.

2. Crack open and whisk together eggs until combined. Stir in onion, bell pepper, and cheese and season with salt and pepper as desired. Pour egg mixture halfway up into each muffin tin then bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until set.

3. Let cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before removing and serving. Also, make ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and reheat in the microwave for about 15 seconds when ready to serve.

High-Protein, Low-Carb Breakfast Casserole

This breakfast casserole recipe is great for meal prep. Simply ration each serving, store in the fridge, and reheat in the microwave when ready to enjoy.

Ingredients:

• 8 eggs
• 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
• 1/4 cup milk
• 6 slices Canadian bacon
• Optional: sauteed mushrooms, onions, peppers, chives, and hot sauce
*Add any fav veggie/leftover protein/what you have on hand to boost nutrient content

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and lightly grease a casserole dish or other baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. In a bowl, crack the eggs and whisk. Add and mix in the shredded cheese and milk. Line the bottom of the square pan with the Canadian bacon, overlapping them a bit.

3. Pour the egg mixture over the top. Feel free to add in optional mix-ins at this point. Transfer to and bake in the oven for about 35 minutes or until firm. Let cool and slice into 4 pieces, and ding!

High-Protein, Low-Carb Breakfast On-the-Go Smoothies

For a quick, low-carb breakfast on the go, blend up a smoothie as a good way to recover after a morning workout and to start the day! Options are endless, but always make sure there is a viable protein source, including protein powder, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and/or milk.

Need inspiration? This chocolate banana smoothie is a hit! Simply combine the following into a blender and mix until fully combined:

• 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder (or enough for 25 to 30 grams of protein)
• 1 small banana (frozen)
• 1/2 cup milk of choice
• 1 tsp dark chocolate
• Optional: ice, cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, and brewed coffee

Additional high-protein smoothie ideas include chocolate mint and peach, raspberry, basil smoothies.

High-Protein Breakfast Foods in a Pinch

While having a high-protein breakfast is ideal, not all mornings run so smoothly. Instead of resorting to greasy or sugary items, keep those prepackaged high-protein breakfast foods stocked or top of mind when eating in a pinch.

High-Protein, Low-Carb Breakfast Cereals

Breakfast cereals might be quick but they tend to be laden in sugar and void of essential protein and other nutrients. Fortunately, brands (like Magic Spoon) are starting to offer high-protein, low-carb breakfast cereals to bridge the gap between convenience and health.

If a box of carb-rich cereal is all that's available, try to find a whole-grain variety and stick to the proper serving size. Add protein to the cereal by topping with dairy milk (plant-based milks tend to be low in calories) or blending protein powder and pouring over the top as milk. Or, sprinkle cereal atop Greek yogurt for added protein and an enjoyable crunch.

Protein Powders & Shakes

Speaking of protein powder, protein shakes are ideal for rushed mornings or when needed in a pinch. Protein shakes and powders also come in a wide variety, including various flavors and protein sources (i.e. whey and pea protein), to accommodate dietary needs and preferences.

No matter the chosen protein, consider keeping pre-made shakes or powders on hand.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Hard-boiled eggs are an "egg"ceptional high-protein, low-carb breakfast food for those without time to regularly cook breakfast. Make hard-boiled eggs in bulk or find them at the store pre-made and store in the fridge for an easy option in a pinch.

Pair an egg or two with a slice of multigrain toast or a small piece of fruit for a balanced breakfast.

Cottage Cheese

Looking for a high-protein breakfast with little assembly and preparation? Look no further! Cottage cheese is packed with protein (about 14 grams per 1/2 cup!) to keep hunger at bay throughout the entire morning.

A tub of cottage cheese is a great option to keep stocked with but can also often be found in individual cups. Pair a cup of cottage cheese with sliced peaches, pineapple, or other fruit for natural sweetness and added nutrients.

Greek Yogurt

Like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt is a protein-packed dairy product to consider keeping on hand. It also comes in tubs, as well as individual containers.

No matter the size, try to select plain, non-fat Greek yogurt to keep added sugars to a minimum. When lacking time to build a parfait like mentioned above, grab a yogurt container and piece of fruit to go.

Jerky

While not a typical breakfast, jerky grabbed at a convenience store is a great protein-packed option for those hectic mornings. When selecting, be mindful of varieties containing added sugar and sodium, especially if managing blood pressure.

As mentioned in other high-protein breakfast foods, pair with fruit or another fiber-rich food to create a makeshift, balanced breakfast.

High-Protein, Low-Carb Bars

Bars are undoubtedly convenient options but not all measure equally, especially when it comes to their protein and carb content. In fact, some bars are nutritionally similar to candy bars!

Try to find a bar with at least 20 grams of protein, especially if it will be the primary protein source. Be aware of added sugars and aim for a bar with no more than five grams of sugar per serving.

Add nutrients to the morning meal by pairing with a piece of fruit or a serving of sliced veggies.

In Summary on High-Protein, Low-Carb Breakfasts

With cereals, bagels, donuts, and beyond, protein can easily be an overlooked nutrient for breakfast. Fortunately, whether following a low-carb diet or aiming to improve meal composition, eating a high-protein, low-carb breakfast is not off the table.

Using the above ideas and aiming for at least 20 grams of protein during breakfast is a sure way to keep hunger stable throughout the morning. Taking advantage of a meal delivery service, such as bistroMD, can likewise be that healthy breakfast solution for all!

Sydney Lappe's Photo
Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on August 23, 2016. Updated on August 17, 2021.

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