Case in point? The popular "myth" that eating two eggs offers enough protein for breakfast. We’ve asked Brierley Horton, MS, RD, co-host and co-creator of the Happy Eating podcast, and Vanessa Rissetto MS, RD, CDN, CEO and co-founder of Culina Health about why we need more protein for breakfast and how to up our intake without having to totally overhaul our favorite egg-filled morning meals.
@nutritionsmylife #stitch with @Megan Abbott #greenscreen how to increase protein at breakfast without jacking up your digestion more 😍 #eggs #hormones #thyroid #proteinpackedbreakfast #dietitian #thyroiddiet #whattoeat #hypothyroidism #hypothyroid #digestivehealth #eatmoreveggies ♬ You - Louyah
Protein for breakfast: How much do you actually need?
Risetto says that protein intake recommendations should be based on an individual’s size, fitness level, age, and goals—but generally speaking, roughly 25-40 grams is a good place to start for breakfast. Horton also notes that there is a fair amount of research showing that eating around 30 grams of protein at each meal helps maintain muscle and a healthy weight.
“Eating two eggs each morning only offers you around 12 grams of protein,” says Horton. “To meet that 30-gram threshold, you’ll need to step up the egg intake or layer in other protein sources.”
Keep in mind: Upping your protein intake isn’t just about building more lean muscle mass. Getting enough is essential for longevity, boosting the health of your skin and nails, and keeping your immune system strong. Simply making a few tweaks at breakfast may help you feel more energized and focused all day long.
How to up your protein intake without overhauling your go-to breakfast
Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with choosing eggs as your morning meal. After all, they are considered nutrient powerhouses by dietitians, offering a combination of protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Eggs are actually a key source of several nutrients that can be hard to obtain, especially for vegetarians, like choline, zinc, vitamin B12, to help you start the day off strong.
However, Rissetto says that it’s crucial to make the most of this morning meal by including adequate amounts of protein, fat, and carbs in addition to your eggs. "This formula is important for every meal, but it’s especially important at breakfast as your first meal of the day will set the tone for your blood sugar, energy levels, and more," she says.
So, what to add? “If eggs are your go-to, look for easy ways to up your protein count,” says Horton. “Sometimes that can be as simple as folding beans into your scrambled eggs or opting for a higher-protein bread or English muffin to make an egg sandwich.”
Horton also likes to serve up scrambled eggs with a high-protein side like cottage cheese, a lean meat like turkey, or a hearty piece of toast with lots of nut butter for an easy, satisfying breaky. You’ll want to consider adding complex carbohydrates and fiber to round out your eggy breakfast. A yogurt parfait with fruit and granola can be a delicious side to an egg scramble, and same goes for a protein-rich fruit smoothie. Food for thought!
Speaking of which, these protein-packed frittata muffins are basically the ideal eggy breakfast:
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