Plant-based diets are increasingly popular since they have a host of health benefits, including lowering the risk for illnesses like diabetes, heart attacks and certain cancers. Even a couple days of plant-based eating can help your health and the environment.
Unlike a vegan diet, plant-based eating can include foods like eggs and dairy and small amounts of meat. There’s a common misconception, however, that plant-based diets lack protein.
The truth is, it’s absolutely possible to meet your individual protein needs with plant-based sources — starting with adding more at breakfast. Many people don’t eat enough protein at breakfast, in general, which can lead to fatigue, blood sugar spikes, cravings and constant snacking throughout the day.
Try these easy and delicious breakfast ideas to add more plant-based protein to your mornings.
A breakfast burrito can be a great morning option for grab-and-go, post-workout or a sitdown meal. Top a whole-wheat tortilla with avocado, tomatoes or salsa, black beans and diced tofu for a completely plant-based option with 25 grams of protein. You can also swap the tofu for scrambled eggs, like in this egg and bean breakfast burrito. A satiating wrap keeps you full for hours, while providing ample fiber, iron, potassium and B-vitamins.
Chia pudding can be a wonderful canvas for your favorite flavors and toppings. You’ll get 5 grams of protein from 3 tablespoons of chia seeds and 8 grams of protein from a cup of soy or pea protein milk. Add nuts and seeds, or pair it with an egg or egg substitute, and you’re at 25 grams of satiating protein — plus energizing carbohydrates, fiber and healthy fats. Include cocoa powder in chia pudding for extra antioxidants and iron.
A scramble or omelet is a great way to increase your protein and vegetable intake since most people don’t get the recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Whether you love your egg- or tofu-based breakfast scrambles, both are high in plant-based protein. Tomatoes, peppers, onions and zucchini are all great vegetable add-in options. Pair the scramble or omelet with a slice of whole-grain bread topped with nut butter and hemp seeds, and you’re well over 25 grams of protein.
Use pea protein milk or soy milk as the liquid base, as both provide equivalent amounts of plant protein to cow’s milk. You can also add soy yogurt, nuts, seeds and a plant-based protein powder. Don’t forget to include your favorite fruits and veggies for extra immune-supporting antioxidants, fiber and essential nutrients. You can make your smoothie the night before or freeze the contents in individual packets and blend in the morning.
Embrace fall with this pumpkin spice protein smoothie, which provides more than 25 grams of protein. The recipe calls for Greek yogurt, but you could also use soy yogurt instead or try pea protein milk. Add hemp seeds for an extra dose of protein, iron and calcium. Another great option is this creamy almond butter and banana smoothie. When made with soy or pea protein milk and topped with a few tablespoons of hemp seeds, it clocks in at just over 25 grams of protein and contains healthy fats for satiety and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Oats are a nutritious breakfast staple and a blank canvas for protein-packed toppings. A 1/4-cup (40g) serving offers 5 grams of protein. If cooked in milk or a protein-packed milk alternative, and with additional toppings like yogurt, nut butter and seeds, it’s possible to reach 25 grams of protein. Steel-cut oats are also high in fiber and filling, making them an excellent choice for keeping blood sugar levels steady. For a more savory oatmeal, add an egg and some cheese or nutritional yeast. For a completely vegan version, top with beans or tofu, sprouts and tahini.
Baked oatmeal can also be a plant-protein staple and a great option for meal prep. To up the protein content in this vegan cinnamon apple baked oatmeal, swap the almond milk for soy, and consider topping it with yogurt or soy yogurt, peanut butter, hemp seeds and chia seeds. Or, pair your oatmeal with a glass of pea protein milk.
Discover hundreds of healthy plant-based recipes via “Recipe Discovery” in the MyFitnessPal app.