High Protein Breakfast Foods in Five Minutes or Less!
High protein breakfast foods — a key component to a great start to your day. You can probably identify a few of them right off the top of your head…eggs, sausage, bacon, etc. These are awesome if you’re on top of your game, and in the kitchen first thing in the morning, but what about those days you’re crunched for time? Check out these quick, on-the-go breakfast options that could really save your bacon ( 😉 ) when you need to get out the door, but don’t want to lose out on getting your protein in!
As an educator, this time of year almost always comes with mixed emotions. I’m sad to see the freedoms of summer go, but looking to the new school year with enthusiasm that can only come from the recharged batteries summer vacation provides. I’ve been spending more time reviewing how the previous school year went, and thinking of ways that I can build and improve upon things for the upcoming year. This not only includes how I can work more efficiently and effectively in my job, but how I can improve my day to day habits as well.
One thing that I’ve always struggled with is getting breakfast in before I leave for work. We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it can be somewhat time consuming, especially when you’re trying to whip together things eggs, meat and veggies. So, I’ve been working on coming up with some quick options that I can have on my way out the door, without getting behind on my protein for the day.
I know there are some of you out there (I hope) who have some of the same struggles I do with this, so you can give these a try, too! If you have any other go-to’s that you have when you’re in a time crunch, comment below and let me know — I can always use some more ideas in my high protein arsenal. Here’s my list!
Quick, High Protein Breakfast Foods!
1. Protein Bars (≈15-20g protein…varies by bar) – Starting off easy, and obviously, with an idea you were probably able to deduce on your own. There are a lot of different kinds of protein bars out there, and not all are created equal. Make sure you watch for sugar content, and try to avoid bars that have a million different ingredients you can’t pronounce. My general rule of thumb is: fewest ingredients wins.
My favorite protein bars are Quest bars. They have a TON of different flavors, and they really taste like the name on the label suggests, which is refreshing in a protein bar. My personal favorites include Chocolate Mint Chunk, S’Mores and Cookies & Cream. They also have a number of lighter-sounding flavors (Mixed Berry, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Lemon Cream Pie, etc.). Check out the variety pack on the right – a great starter pack that will you give you a chance to check out your favorite flavors! In addition to the variety pack, you can pick up 12-packs of your favorite flavor (here’s mine).
Besides the great taste, variety, and convenience that Quest bars offer, they’re also appealing to many (myself included) because of their low carb content. They have a good amount of fiber (10g), which is something you may want to watch if your stomach doesn’t sit well with fiber-rich types of bars. Even if you go with half a bar to start, and see how it goes — they’re definitely worth a look as a great, high protein breakfast option.
Pro tip: These are awesome on their own, but if you pop them in the microwave for 10ish seconds — whole new level of delicious, especially on the cookie/brownie-like flavors. TRY IT
2. Chicken Strips (≈25-30g protein) – I know this sounds weird, but it’s so easy and, if you like chicken, it’s an awesome way to get a TON of protein in, on-the-go. I highlighted the chicken breast tenderloins that are commonly a part of my weekly food prep in another post, and this is a great example of a way they come in really handy. I usually bake (350° for 10-15 minutes) or grill (3-4 minutes/side) about 2 lbs of chicken breast tenderloins, portion them out in baggies, and have them in the fridge ready to go whenever.
You can buy these already cut into tenderloins, or you can cut up whole chicken breasts, and make them even smaller and easier to eat on the go. I usually have some small plastic dressing cups to put mustard or hot sauce in, just in case I have an extra hand available to dip them. If you’re not a big meat eater, this is probably not the best option for you, but if you dig it…give it a try! They’re quick, portable, LOADED with protein, and not too shabby to eat cold, if you’re into that.
Meat on-the-go doesn’t have to stop at chicken, either. There are some pretty decent pre-packaged options out there, too. I’m a big fan of Ostrim, which is, simply put, a beef stick. There are a variety of lean meat sources (beef, elk, turkey, ostrich, etc.) used, depending on the flavor you choose. My personal favorite in the pepper flavor, but they also have sweet and spicy, maple brown sugar, applewood, etc. So there’s a little something for everybody! These are obviously an easy one to grab, and put you 14g of protein ahead to start your day. Jerky is another great option, which you could pick up ahead of time, or grab at nearly any gas station — they can get hefty on the sodium and, sometimes, sugar – depending on the flavor, so make sure to watch that
3. Protein Shakes (25-30g protein…varies by powder) – What could be easier to have on-the-go than a protein shake? All you have to do is drink it, and enjoy all its deliciousness. These are jam packed with protein, and can be as simple as protein powder and water, or have almond milk, greens, sweet potatoes, fruit, etc. etc. in them. I have a very intense love for seasonal drinks, so you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be making my fair share of pumpkin spice and sweet potato pie shakes in the coming months. I can hardly wait just thinking about it!
If you don’t already have a favorite type of protein powder, allow me to recommend one I tried recently that is far and away the best I’ve tasted, to date. It’s the only one I don’t mind mixing just straight as water and protein. As you read above, I’m a big fan of Quest bars, but I hadn’t tried their protein until earlier this month, when I went on vacation and bought some of their single serving pouches in the checkout at GNC. I found the chocolate milkshake to be absolutely delicious, and I promptly bought a 2 lb tub (see left) of it upon my return home. I have yet to try the vanilla, peanut butter (omg) or strawberry flavors, but I will update with my thoughts once I’ve get my hands on them.
As far as protein powders go, everybody has their own taste preferences. I’ve tried a number of different proteins to incorporate throughout my day, and as a post workout. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and find one that works best for you!
You can find any number of protein shake recipes on the internet, including mcptotalfitness.com in the very near future. When I have a protein shake in the morning, chances are it will be 6-8oz. of water, chocolate protein powder and some coffee. That usually puts me about 30g ahead on protein to start the day, and doesn’t take long to put down. Like I mentioned above, you can put a ton of things into your shake that will customize it to the flavor you’re in the mood for. A good blender is something else you’ll want for your shakes if you’re throwing in some extra stuff. I have a NutriBullet that I use for all my shakes, and it works fantastically. Keep an eye out for some of those tasty seasonal shake recipes coming up this fall!
4. Greek Yogurt – Ah, yogurt. Yogurt has a special place in my heart (sort of), as I worked in a yogurt factory for a couple summers in college…more on that in a future post. Trust me, those stories are worth the wait 😉
Anyway, Greek yogurt – this stuff is ALL OVER the place. The yogurt section is covered in it, and for good reason…it’s a really easy, delicious way to get some protein in. There’s an endless amount of flavors available, but, as always, you want to make sure you check out the added sugar content in whatever brand you buy. This is an insanely easy way, however, to get some protein in when you’re in a pinch and need something quick on your way out the door. This is also a great addition to any protein shake to add some extra protein, sweetness and creaminess.
5. Protein-enhanced Baked Goods – A great way to give some more traditional breakfast pastries a protein boost is using protein powder in different recipes. There are a plethora of recipes available all over the internet, including homemade protein bars, pancakes, waffles, cookies, muffins, breads, etc. These typically have a high protein content and, while they’re not exactly the same as they’re more sugary, fatty counterparts, they can usually help ward off any cravings you’re having for those types of things.
One of Quest Nutrition’s big selling points, is the way you can use their products to “cheat clean” and “cook clean,” because they leave out a lot of the junk that you’ll often find in other protein powders. They also offer a variety of powder flavors, including a multi-purpose, unflavored powder. They also have a number of recipes available on their site that include everything from pancakes to chocolate lava cake.
I recently gave one of these recipes a try, just to see how it’d turn out. I decided to give the zucchini bread a try, and they didn’t turn out too shabby! The recipe included four scoops of vanilla protein powder, coconut and almond flour, stevia, cinnamon, eggs, and, of course, zucchini. Lots of moving parts in this recipe, but all in all pretty good stuff. I made them as muffins, and actually overcooked them a little bit, which led to them being more dry than I expected, but we’ll get ’em next time – nothing a little peanut butter won’t fix 😉 . These take a little bit of preparation, but once you have them made, all you have to do is grab one on your way out the door….and BOOM: 20g of protein for you!
You can check out some more recipes and ALL of Quest’s fantastic products (chips, cookies, peanut butter cups, etc.) a QuestNutrition.com. These recipes could also be used with any protein powder you have available, or prefer. Give some of these clean cheats a try, and take your breakfast game to a whole new level!.
Win the Hunger Game(s)!
Give any of these five high protein breakfast foods a try, especially when you’re a tinge bit pressed for time. Starting your day off with a healthy dose of protein will leave you feeling full longer, help you focus, and improve your will power for the rest of the day! Those lounge treats and break room donuts will have so much less power over you when you get your day started off right, and are locked and loaded with hunger-defeating snacks.
One of the keys here is being prepared. I try to stay stocked up on these quick, protein-rich options, so I’m never caught off guard by running late, or getting hungry in between meals. I bring these things with me when I travel, too, so I’m not quite as tempted to pick up that pesky Reese’s at the gas station, or fast food along the way. There are all kinds of protein-rich options out there, so I’m confident you’ll find something that will help fill you up, while keeping you progressing toward your goals!
Do you have a favorite on-the-go protein option that you default to in the morning, or as snacks? What’s your favorite protein bar and/or powder? Comment below, and let me know!
Thanks for being you — keep it real.
Founder: MCP Total Fitness