By Joo Shan Ooi, Senior Dietetic Student at Rutgers University
Reviewed by Jinan Banna, PhD, RD
We already know the importance of starting your day with breakfast. Having adequate protein in your breakfast is equally as important. When you think of breakfast foods, “scrambled eggs, eggs benedicts, eggs florentine” and many more featuring eggs might come to mind. Although eggs are an “egg-cellent” choice to increase your protein intake, there are many ways to incorporate just as much protein without eggs.
Why breakfast is good for your health?
Eating breakfast is important in meeting nutrient needs and can improve micronutrient status. According to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the average American does not consume enough whole grains, fruits and vegetables, which are foods associated with high micronutrient intake. Thus, many are at risk for nutritional deficiencies. Research has revealed the way breakfast may help to meet nutrient needs. This study, for example, found that fortified ready-to-eat cereals (RTEC) played a vital role in the accessibility of micronutrients in an American diet. Having breakfast is an opportunity to work toward meeting your daily nutritional needs.
What is the core of a healthy breakfast?
A high-quality breakfast should be balanced in carbohydrates, protein and fats. A low glycemic breakfast supports balance in blood sugar levels because low glycemic foods take a longer time to break down and release glucose slowly. Having adequate protein in breakfasts is equally important because our bodies require the proper fuel and nutrients that protein offers to support a healthy functioning body. Dietary protein helps regulate satiety as well as preventing snacking throughout the day because protein activates appetite suppressing hormones when digested, especially when eaten with complex carbohydrates and dietary fibers. Therefore, regular consumption of high protein and low glycemic index breakfasts supports healthy weight management and improves overall health status.
Here are some eggless breakfast ideas for you that are nutritious and simple to make:
1. Overnight oats
Overnight oats is the perfect breakfast idea if you are looking for a grab-and-go type breakfast, as it is best made the night before and is very nutritious. Oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber, mainly beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a bioactive compound that may reduce high cholesterol levels and help improve insulin resistance. As a dietary fiber, beta-glucan helps to regulate bowel movements as well. Be sure to add a source of fat such as peanut butter, nuts and seeds to make this a balanced and satisfying meal that will keep you full all morning. Overnight oats are a great option for breakfast especially on days when you have a busy schedule because this meal is balanced in complex carbohydrates, protein and fats with high fiber content, all of which will make you full and satisfied. Feel free to drop by this blogpost by Anne, RD, on six ways to make easy overnight oats.
2. Banana and peanut butter sandwich
If you have not tried adding bananas to your peanut butter sandwich, here are some reasons why you should! Peanut butter and bananas are a great combo and they complement each other so well in sandwiches. Bananas are also a great source of potassium and digestible carbohydrates, while peanut butter is a protein and healthy fat powerhouse that will fuel you throughout your morning. Try opting for whole wheat bread if you want more fiber and protein. If not, you might opt for other types of bread such as sourdough, which can also provide quite a bit of protein per slice. This quick, easy and nutritious breakfast only requires three staple ingredients that you would most likely have at home. If you’re interested to learn more about sourdough bread, this blogpost explores the nutritional benefits of sourdough bread.
3. Yogurt parfait
If you are feeling like a sweet tooth for breakfast, yogurt parfaits are a great choice! You can choose whatever you wish to layer your parfaits. A good tip for a classic yogurt parfait is to choose high quality yogurt of your choice. Ideally, choose yogurt without added sugar. If you want to stay full longer, you might consider choosing a variety that contains fat. Having lower fat options will not bring you much satiety, which will leave you feeling hungry sooner than later. Having additional protein from the yogurt and layering with fruits will make this breakfast protein-packed and high in fiber. Additionally, a good dose of probiotics from the yogurt keeps your gut healthy! Check out this blogpost by Melanie, RD, on how she assembles the perfect yogurt parfait.
4. Toast and baked beans
Have extra time in your hands in the morning? Try making this simple and nutritious breakfast at home. All you need is a can of pre-cooked beans and toast! Preferably use whole wheat bread, as the fiber and additional protein will be more of a satisfying meal. Fun fact: beans are part of the protein food group and are considered legumes. Legumes are starchy vegetables that are high in protein and dietary fiber, which makes them an excellent source of complex carbohydrates. Baked beans are cooked in tomato based sauce with spices and herbs therefore they are a great choice for a quick and easy protein-filled breakfast.
5. Tofu scramble with spinach
Although tofu scramble represents a plant-based version of scrambled eggs, it is a great breakfast option for all and especially those following a vegetarian and plant-based diet. Did you know? Tofu is an excellent source of plant protein and calcium! Tofu is derived from soybeans, which is another type of legume that contains all the essential amino acids, thus making it a complete protein. Just one serving of firm tofu will provide you 8 grams of protein! As this is an alternative to scrambled eggs, this is a great option if you want a high protein plant-based breakfast! Here is a fool-proof tofu scramble recipe from Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian.
6. Veggie breakfast burritos
There is no rule when it comes to making your own breakfast burritos, but these vegan breakfast burritos are to die for! This recipe makes a hearty and savory breakfast that is both balanced and nutritious. The avocados provide satiety and are a good source of potassium, fiber and healthy fats. Also, you get a good amount of protein from the beans, tortilla wrap, and mushrooms! The best part about breakfast burritos is that you can include as many ingredients as you wish, so don’t hesitate to incorporate any other veggies of your choice.
Breakfast is a great opportunity to start your day feeling fully energized and satisfied while meeting your daily nutrient requirements. If you enjoy reading this post on breakfast ideas without eggs, be sure to check out this other blogpost on breakfast on the go ideas for fast and simple breakfast ideas!
Have any questions? Comments? I would love to hear your thoughts below!