We were told as children that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In a way, that old adage is true. Research suggests that your first meal of the day will often dictate how many calories you eat for the rest of the day, so you have to choose wisely. After working in the health and fitness industry for almost 10 years, I’ve noticed a common denominator amongst women who are trying to lose weight but having trouble: they skip breakfast or just have a coffee because they’re busy and they also think that eating fewer calories will help them lose weight; by the time 11 a.m. rolls around they’re starving, so they eat whatever is in front of them, which is usually a bagel, a processed snack, or a carb-heavy meal; this makes them feel sluggish, bloated, and uncomfortably full. This cycle repeats itself over and over again until these women are convinced that they’re not hungry enough to eat breakfast every day, and that breakfast just makes them feel full and lethargic.
Although there are benefits to intermittent fasting, I always recommend eating a full, high-protein breakfast, especially for women who are trying to regulate their menstrual cycle naturally and shed excess body fat. Eating a high-protein meal within 30-60 minutes of waking up helps to regulate your blood sugar, keeps you feeling fuller for longer, and sets the tone for a nutritious day. Protein is especially important when you’re trying to lose weight because protein is the only thing you eat that builds lean muscle—and you need more lean muscle to boost your metabolism, burn more calories at a resting rate, and shed fat faster. That’s why I always recommend a high-protein breakfast within an hour of waking up every day. Here are some options to get you started!
1. Protein Smoothie
It doesn’t get any simpler than this. A protein shake is a great early-morning meal for busy women who need to get out the door quickly. Just toss in 1 scoop of high-quality protein powder (this is the one my clients and I like to use), 1 scoop of collagen, half a frozen banana, 1 cup almond milk, and half a cup of frozen berries. Of course you can substitute or add in whatever you like, but this combination will give you 40 grams of protein in one smoothie.
2. Protein Coffee with Eggs
Eggs are everyone’s go-to breakfast, and for good reason. They’re an incredibly nutritious superfood. Two eggs gives you about 13 grams of protein, so I like to add some extra protein to breakfast. One of the simplest ways many of my clients achieve that is by adding 1 scoop of protein powder to their coffee every morning. This gives them about 20 extra grams of protein with their morning beverage. Combine that with eggs cooked in whatever you prefer, and that’s roughly 33 grams of protein in one sitting. Pro tip: get yourself an electric whisker on Amazon to properly mix your protein powder into your coffee.
3. Baked Egg Cups
Meal prepping breakfast can be a huge help to women who are trying to rush out the door in the morning. Make yourself a grab-and-go meal with this egg cup recipe. You can add or substitute whatever ingredients you like, and if you want some added protein, toss in chopped turkey or chicken sausage. A lot of my clients will make a batch of these on Sunday so they have breakfast waiting for them the whole week. Pair it with a protein coffee or some fruit.
4. Breakfast Bowl
Getting a lot of protein first thing in the morning isn’t easy if you’re used to eating things like toast, bagels, oatmeal, etc. But a breakfast bowl makes it easy to combine a few different things that will help you reach your goals. This recipe gives you a good baseline to work with and you can add in different types of protein that you love. You can try shredded chicken made in a slow cooker or Instant Pot, turkey bacon, or chicken sausage to help you bump up the amount of protein you’re eating. This particular recipe adds black beans to the bowl, but if you find that beans make you feel too bloated, you can just skip that ingredient.
5. Breakfast Burrito
Breakfast burritos are a great thing to grab and go on those busy mornings. This recipe offers nearly 30 grams of protein in one burrito, and you can prep a lot of the ingredients the night before to help save you time in the morning. This is yet another recipe that you can adjust and tweak to include the types of food you enjoy. If dairy doesn’t sit well with you, you can always skip the cheese.
6. Protein Pancakes
Everybody loves pancakes! They’re the ultimate comfort food that we usually reserve for Christmas morning or special indulgences, but you can certainly repurpose them for weekday breakfasts if you have the right recipe. These high-protein pancakes are gluten-free and super easy to make. The best part is, you get over 30 grams of protein in one sitting! Add in blueberries, bananas, or any other type of fruit for an added flavor.
7. Steak and Eggs
Eating steak, chicken, or fish for breakfast isn’t very common or popular, but if you’re on a mission to eat a high-protein breakfast to aid in weight loss, sometimes you have to think outside of the box. Steak and eggs is a fantastic way to fit in extra protein, provide you with many nutrients, and give you lots of energy for the day. If you have time in the morning to cook yourself a steak (or even half a steak) along with some eggs of your choice, you could consume about 40 grams of protein for breakfast. It’s unconventional, but it’s both delicious and nutritious—so why not try it?
A high-protein diet in a caloric deficit is a surefire way to put you on a successful track to weight loss. Most Americans don’t get anywhere close to their necessary protein goals, so it may be difficult to achieve at first. But practice makes perfect, and the more you cook and prepare your own food, the easier it will be. Stay consistent and don’t throw in the towel just because you’re not seeing immediate results.