Protein is an essential nutrient we need to stay healthy and strong. While you should aim to eat some protein at every meal, it’s especially important to load up at breakfast. Protein, along with fiber, first thing in the morning helps to keep our blood sugar levels balanced, promotes better energy levels and keeps us feeling full and more satisfied throughout the day.
Plants contain protein, just like animal-based sources, but they also provide other health benefits that make them well-worth adding to our morning routine. Instead of bacon or eggs for breakfast, try adding some plant-protein to your plate. Here are seven easy ways to do it.
How to Get More Protein From Plants at Breakfast
1. Plant-based protein smoothies
Smoothies are popular for breakfast – they’re easy to make and easy to customize. Besides protein powder, you can add fruits, veggies, nut butters, seeds and many other nutrient-rich ingredients to your smoothie for a complete meal.
Skip the animal-based protein powders (such as whey or collagen), and go for a plant-based option like Nutiva Organic Plant Protein Superfood Smoothie. It delivers 20 grams of protein per serving, along with five different fruits and veggies and no added sugar!
2. Muffins with chickpea or quinoa flour
Chickpeas are a great source of protein; but they aren’t something most of us normally eat for breakfast. Luckily, you can easily enjoy them in an alternative form – chickpea flour. Try baking a batch of muffins using Bob’s Red Mill Chickpea Flour, which has a delicious nutty flavor and delivers 6 grams of protein per ¼ cup. To sneak in even more protein, use chia seeds as an egg replacer, or scoop in some plant-based protein powder to the flour mixture.
Not into chickpeas? You can also use quinoa flour – another great source of protein – as a one-to-one replacement for regular flour in muffin recipes.
3. Non-dairy yogurt with almonds and chia
Soy yogurt and almond yogurt are great plant-based alternatives to dairy-based yogurt, and each supplies around 6 grams of protein per cup! Opt for these instead of coconut yogurt or oat milk yogurt (which are typically lower in protein), and sprinkle on some chia seeds, almonds or hemp seeds for an extra protein boost. Yogurt is great with a side of fruit and oatmeal, or it can even be used to make overnight oats.
4. Oatmeal with soy milk and pumpkin seeds/hemp seeds
Oatmeal is another breakfast favorite that’s a good source of protein, iron, and gut-friendly fiber. It can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, and it’s easy to sneak in more protein by using protein-rich milk, such as soy milk, and some protein-rich toppings, such as pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds.
Cook ½ cup rolled oats with a cup of unsweetened vanilla soy milk, add some of your favorite berries, and then top with a tablespoon or two of raw pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds for a meal that has up 15 grams of protein—all from plants!
5. Smoothies with oats and pumpkin, chia or hemp seeds
Another way, besides adding plant-based protein powder, to boost a smoothie’s protein content is to add in some pumpkin seeds and oats. These nutritious additions deliver around 4 grams of protein per serving and are a delicious way to make smoothies creamier, healthier and more satisfying. They both also include magnesium, iron, B vitamins and potassium for extra muscle and energy support.
6. Quinoa porridge with soy milk and pumpkin seeds
Quinoa flakes are a great protein-rich alternative to oats for breakfast. Make a tasty quinoa porridge using the flakes instead of oats, with soy milk. Again, you can sprinkle on seeds, nuts or other protein toppings for an added boost.
7. Veggie “omelet” made with chickpea flour
If you’re into savory breakfast choices and love omelets, consider making a vegan alternative to an egg-based omelet using chickpea flour. Chickpea flour has 6 grams of protein per serving; it also has a delicious nutty flavor and is easy to digest. Try this Vegan Omelet recipe made with chickpea flour (also called garbanzo bean flour) as a great recipe to get started.
For more ways to get plant-based protein in your diet at breakfast and other meals, check out all the vegan products here at Vitacost!