5 Sneaky Ways To Get More Protein At Breakfast

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When you first wake up, you need energy. Caffeine will help a bit, but a well-rounded breakfast is going to be what really gets you through that first part of your day.

What does a well-rounded breakfast look like? Your dish of choice should ideally include a balance of complex carbs, fiber, and protein. Unfortunately, protein can often get left by the wayside, especially when it comes to morning favorites like cereal, oatmeal, and pancakes. “I often see protein as the missing factor in breakfast,” says Maxine Yeung, M.S., R.D., owner of The Wellness Whisk, but this doesn’t have to be the case. She recommends trying to fit in at least 15 grams of protein with breakfast, and these five sneaky tricks will help you get that job done without breaking a sweat.

1. Use Greek yogurt in unexpected places.

Greek yogurt on its own is a great high-protein breakfast option, but there are a couple other sneaky ways you can also use it. Yeung likes to put it on top of her pancakes or toast. Even try adding it to your pancake or waffle mix in place of, or in addition, to milk. And of course, a dollop in a smoothie never hurt anyone either.

2. Try squeezing in some tofu.

“Tofu is a great under utilized breakfast protein,” Lindsey Pine, M.S., R.D., owner of Tasty Balance Nutrition tells SELF, proving once and for all that this vegetarian protein alternative is not just for dinner. In case you don’t already know, tofu is an ingredient that’s known for taking on the flavors of other foods—it’s basically like Ditto from Pokémon, but with cooking. She’ll use extra-firm tofu in egg scrambles to ramp up the protein quotient. You can also substitute tofu for eggs to make a vegan scramble. Pine says she even uses silken tofu in smoothies. She promises that smoothie trick isn’t as weird as it sounds, because you can’t even taste the tofu.

3. Make an eggy oatmeal.

Eggs have tons of protein (about 6 grams per egg, to be specific) and they’re sort of an unofficial breakfast-time mascot. But that doesn’t mean you want to start every day with an egg dish. An unexpected way to shimmy an egg into your breakfast routine is by adding egg whites to your oatmeal, which is a trick both nutritionists and healthy food bloggers love. Pine says you can take the eggs in oatmeal up a notch by turning the whole shebang into a savory dish. A fried egg on oats with a little cheese, scallions, and crumbled bacon and you’re in business.

4. Plant a seed in your smoothie.

Don’t actually plant a seed in your smoothie, but do use fiber-filled, protein-packed chia, flax, and hemp seeds whenever you can. Each of these seeds has about 3 grams of protein per tablespoon, and Pine says you can use them instead of protein powders for a similarly flavorless, nutrient-boost. Additionally, you can sprinkle them over toast, oatmeal, pancakes, cereal—they’ll blend seamlessly into pretty much any dish.

5. Put a better butter on your toast.

The next time you whip out your toaster, consider using a different kind of butter. I’m talking about nut butter. They’re such a great pantry staple because they don’t perish easily, they’re high in protein, and have a subtly sweet and salty flavor that is easy to eat by the spoonful, and even easier to add to your favorite dishes. You’ll see it called for in smoothie, oatmeal, and even pancake recipes. But the simplest way to eat it in the morning? On toast. Eat it with some fruit and a hardboiled egg on the side and you’ve got quite the breakfast.

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