Breakfast is arguably the most important meal of the day. But if you are eating the wrong foods first thing in the morning, you could be setting yourself up for food failure later on in the day. And if you are someone who exercises in the morning, it is even more important that you eat the right breakfast and provide your body with what it needs to get you through your workout. This means eating lots of protein while minimizing some of the carbs (save them for after your workout when you really need them). Here are seven delicious high protein, low carbohydrate breakfast recipes to try:
- Veggie Omelet: Combine two whole eggs and two egg whites, toss in low-carb veggies like tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms and peppers, and cook on the stove top. You can top it off with a tablespoon or two of salsa (only 1 gram of carbs per tablespoon) or some low-fat cheese. This breakfast (without the cheese or salsa) comes in at around 225 calories, 23 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbs, 10 grams of fat and 2 grams of fiber.
- Protein Banana Pancake: Yes, you can have bananas as part of a low carb meal as long as you keep the amount small. Take a quarter scoop of your favorite vanilla protein powder, mix it with one whole egg, two egg whites and a quarter piece of a small banana (mashed). Pour the batter into a pre-greased frying pan cooking on one side and then flipping it over to cook on the other side. Top it with a tablespoon of either natural peanut butter or almond butter. This delicious pancake (with a tablespoon of peanut butter) comes in at 245 calories, 29 grams of protein, 9.5 grams of carbs, 13.5 grams of fat and 5 grams of fiber. Keep in mind that protein powders vary in their carb, protein and fat content so stick with low-carb (and low sugar) options.
- Yogurt: Nothing says protein like a cup of nonfat, plain Greek yogurt. If you purchase an individual serving (6 oz.), you will get 18 grams of protein. Of course, plain yogurt needs a little something. Toss in a dozen almonds, and a quarter cup of raspberries, strawberries or blueberries. This protein-rich breakfast (with a half cup of raspberries) is 255 calories, 22 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbs, 7 grams of fat and 3.5 grams of fiber.
- Egg Sandwich: Bread and low-carb do not usually go hand-in-hand, but if you use a low-carb bread and stick with one slice, you will be fine. Toast one slice of the bread (preferably multigrain) and top it off with two egg whites (or one egg white and one whole egg), a slice of tomato, a few slices of avocado and half an ounce of low fat cheese. You now have a 228-calorie breakfast with 20 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbs, 11.75 grams of fat and 3 grams of fiber.
- Cottage Cheese: Cottage cheese is packed with protein, but be sure to choose the right kind. Stick with 1% fat and no salt added which will give you 90 calories, 16 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbs and 1 gram of fat for half a cup. Pair it with a low-carb fruit like a third of an apple and a tablespoon of peanut butter and you are at 205 calories, 19 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fat and 2.5 grams of fiber.
- Turkey Mash: Yes, you can have meat for breakfast. Turkey is a high protein, low carb food that is perfect when paired with vegetables. Take four ounces of lean ground turkey and cook it on the stovetop in a greased pan. When cooked halfway through, add in a handful of spinach, half a zucchini (diced), a small tomato (diced) and an ounce of low-fat shredded cheese. Cook until the spinach is wilted and the meat is thoroughly cooked. Place it all in a bowl and top with extra cheese and some salsa or guacamole if you like. Without the extra cheese and toppings, this protein-rich breakfast is only 260 calories, 33 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbs, 12 grams of fat and 2 grams of fiber.
- Protein Smoothie: Why not drink your breakfast rather than eat it—especially if you are in a hurry. All you need is a scoop of vanilla protein powder, a tablespoon of peanut butter, a quarter of a banana and one cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Add some ice if you like. This smoothie is only 265 calories, 22 grams of protein, 15 grams of carbs, 7 grams of fat and 4.5 grams of fiber. Feel free to change up your fruits to berries or even beets for variety.
The important thing to remember about high protein/low carb breakfasts is that the fat content needs to be a bit higher to compensate for the low carbohydrates in order to fill and fuel you up for your workouts and for the day so you do not experience a crash that can lead to binge eating later. Of course, after your workouts, you should be consuming a post-workout shake or meal that is high in carbohydrates, but still has an ample amount of protein and a lot less fat. When it comes to carbs, it is all about eating the right kinds and eating them at the right time. Once you have that down, they will no longer be your nutritional nemesis.