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30g Protein Breakfast ideas: 4 swaps to make

Protein, protein, protein

Protein is a nutrient we need to consume daily, and getting enough of it can be challenging for some. It plays a key role in reducing appetite and hunger levels (1), which can increase the length of time before we go looking for our next snack or meal. Oftentimes, our protein intake can be more balanced - for example, we might have little to none at breakfast, some at lunch and the largest proportion at dinner. Bread, cereal and oatmeal are common breakfast foods, but they lack a meaningful source of protein, impacting our overall protein intake.


Health proessional pointing to nutrition facts table on tablet with a pen

Change in protein recommendations?

Current recommendations regarding protein intake are that it should be distributed fairly evenly between three meals and snacks (if we’re having any). This could be anywhere between 20-40g protein per meal (2), depending on a variety of factors including age, weight, activity level, fitness goals etc. However, the latest research suggests that protein intakes of up to 100g after resistance training can have an even greater and longer impact on muscle protein synthesis (3).


But hold up! This research study was conducted on 36 men between the ages of 18-40 years old, and that in itself suggests that these results may not apply to other populations who don’t belong in this category. Secondly, consuming 100g of protein would be very difficult for anybody due to the satiating impact of protein. This would be equivalent to 16.5 boiled eggs, 12.5 cups of milk or 2.5 cups of diced, cooked chicken breast - pretty difficult if you ask me! And lastly, most individuals struggle with getting 30g protein breakfasts, let alone 100g!

 

These preliminary findings give us much to think about for the future of sports nutrition, but until more studies are conducted and on a larger scale population, we can say that current recommendations won’t be going anywhere yet!


Since consuming protein at breakfast is one of the more challenging aspects of nutrition, here are four swaps you can make with common breakfasts to get four 30g protein breakfast options!


  1. Swap your bagel with butter/cream cheese with an egg salad bagel sandwich 

  • 2 boiled eggs (12g)

  • 1 bagel (8g)

  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise 

  • 2 tbsp Bacon bits (6g)

  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts (3.5g)



Egg salad sandwich on a bed of spinach and cherry tomatoes

Bagel with spread is a staple in Canadian breakfasts, but it’s sorely lacking in a source of protein. A little prep can go a long way in helping you hit 30g protein at breakfast! 


All you have to do is boil the eggs and combine them with mayonnaise to make the egg salad. Throughout the week, you can create your bagel sandwich by stacking ingredients on top of each other - you can also include spinach and tomatoes for a complete 30g protein breakfast sandwich! This recipe is similar to how I'd make it - but I just use mayo - no lemon, parsley, salt or other vegetables.


2. Instead of oatmeal with water and fruit toppings, use high protein oatmeal, ultrafiltered milk, nuts nut/soy butter

  • 1 packet high protein oats like kodiak (12g)

  • 1/2 cup ultrafiltered milk (7g)

  • 2 tbsp soy butter/nut butter (~7g)

  • 2 tbsp mixed nuts (3g) 

  • Fruit of your choice


Instead of making oatmeal with water and topping it with peanut butter, replace the liquid with high-protein milk or soy milk! This will boost protein up an additional 4-7g! High protein milk is also known as ultrafiltered milk, which is suitable for individuals who are lactose intolerant. Other additions like nuts or seeds, on top of a nut butter flavouring, can give it more crunch and a greater protein punch!



3. Switch out plain fruit yogurt and replace it with a Greek yogurt parfait

  • ¾ cup Greek yogurt (17g)

  • ¼ cup protein granola (5.5g) 

  • 2 tbsp sliced almonds (3g)

  • 2 tbsp mixed seeds (4g)

  • Fresh fruit 


Plain fruit yogurts are delicious but tend to be higher in carbohydrates (and sugar) than protein. Choose yogurts like Greek or skyr yogurt to pack in more protein per bite! Greek yogurt can have double the amount of protein as regular yogurt, so by making this switch, it will bring you much closer to your 30g protein breakfast threshold!


4. Replace a breakfast staple: scrambled eggs with a tofu scramble

  • 170g firm tofu (15g)

  • 2 slices (~70g) sourdough bread (6g)

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (5g)

  • 1 cup milk/soy milk (8g)


If you’re tired of having eggs for breakfast, tofu is an excellent option to help you achieve 30g protein breakfasts! Mix in with nutritional yeast for a nutty flavour and a little protein boost! Check out this link on how to flavour your tofu scramble: https://www.noracooks.com/tofu-scramble/ 


Not ready to stomach a 30g protein breakfast yet?

Fear not! If you tend to have carbohydrate-based breakfasts, switching to 30g protein breakfasts immediately may be difficult since protein tends to be more satisfying and satiating. Instead of trying these 30g protein breakfasts straight away, start by adding a source of protein to your existing breakfast and notice the difference in terms of how satisfied (or full) you feel afterwards. This could include the following ingredients:


  • 1 cup (250ml) milk or soy milk (8g)

  • 1 cup (250ml) high protein/ultra-filtered milk (14g)

  • 2 boiled eggs (12g)

  • ¾ cup Greek yogurt (15g)

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (5g)

  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts (3.5g)

  • 1 scoop protein powder (20-30g) [to add to waffle mixes etc)


Do you have a go-to 30g protein breakfast you eat? Share in the comments below!



References:

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