When you're trying to phase meat, eggs, and dairy out of your diet, Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, nutrition and wellness expert, says it's a good idea to incorporate as many plants into your diet as possible. "The main thing to remember is that your vegan protein sources add up. Generally speaking, plant-based protein has less protein per serving than animal foods, but you can get what you need by eating a balanced meal and incorporating nuts, seeds, pulses—such as chickpeas and lentils—and whole grains," she says. The protein is out there—you'll just have to work a little bit harder to get it all on your plate.
- Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition
Ahead, we ask dietitians for their go-to a.m. meals that contain just as much protein as a three-egg omelet (that's about 18 grams), minus the meat, dairy, and eggs. Whether you're in the mood for something sweet or savory, easy or complex, these flavorful dishes have you covered.
5 high protein vegan breakfasts to kickstart your morning
1. 8 ounces flax milk yogurt + 1/4 cup of walnuts + 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds + 1 tablespoon of chia seeds + 1/2 cup of blackberries
"A vegan yogurt parfait is one of the most delish breakfasts, especially when you add in walnuts," says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, a plant-based registered dietitian and owner of Plant-Based Eats in Stamford, CT. "These are the only nuts that are an excellent source of plant-based omega-3 ALAs, which are super important for people following a vegan diet. Plus, walnuts are a good source of vitamin B6, providing [about] 0.2 milligrams per ounce! Vitamin B6 is a key micronutrient that immune cells depend upon, according to research." To boot, this breakfast option contains exactly 18 grams of protein. Done and done.
2. 1 folded JUST Egg + 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast + 8 ounces oat milk + 1 vegan sausage patty + 2 apricots
If you want the feeling and flavor of an egg without the egg itself, Gorin says that JUST Egg is a great option. "These vegan eggs are made from mung bean protein and provide seven grams of protein per folded egg. Sprinkle with the nutritional yeast, and serve with the sausage and apricots. You can drink the oat milk on its own or brew it into a latte!" Oh, and did we mention this breakfast contains 19 grams of protein?
3. Tofu scramble + peppers and onions + whole-grain toast + mashed avocado
Tofu scrambles are a favorite of Cassetty's. Tofu easily absorbs spices, making it super flavorful. Although it has a slightly more silky texture than eggs themselves, it's still a delicious option for herbivores. "Crumble four ounces of extra firm, drained tofu, and mix it with two teaspoons of nutritional yeast and other seasonings. Then sauté it and serve it with sautéed peppers and onions, alongside a slice of whole-grain toast spread with mashed avocado. This meal supplies about 20 grams of plant-based protein," she says.
4. 2 chocolate almond butter protein balls + 1 slice whole-grain bread + 1/4 cup canned chickpeas
"I love to make my own chocolate almond butter protein balls, which each provide six grams of protein," says Gorin. "You can combine these with a piece of whole-grain toast topped with smashed chickpeas." This breakfast contains a whopping 20 grams of protein and contains all the fiber-rich benefits chickpeas have to offer. Total win.
5. Avocado toast + smashed edamame + roasted chickpeas + hemp seeds
Up the protein of your avocado toast with Cassetty's easy upgrade. Once you've spread the avo on whole-grain toast, go ahead and smash edamame on as well. Add roasted chickpeas and hemp seeds, and—voilà!—you have a protein-rich breakfast that also contains whole grains and healthy fats (from the avocado and hemp seeds). "This upgraded avocado toast has 18 grams of plant-based protein," says Cassetty. "Serve it with a veggie hash on the side."
No need to Google. Here's a veggie hash recipe:
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