Protein is essential to building muscle mass, boosting energy levels, improving mood function, and the popular macronutrient even plays a part in optimal digestion. Breakfast is one of the best times to eat protein because it energizes and sustains you without leaving you hungry an hour later, and it also helps boost focus and productivity in the morning hours when many of us need it the most.
Protein-rich breakfasts also help fuel your metabolism without causing a negative impact on blood sugar levels if you choose a lean source of protein. So, if you’re a meatless eater or looking to eat a little less meat, skip the bacon and sausage, but don’t fret—there are plenty of incredibly tasty, protein-rich breakfast recipes you can make to help you build lean muscle mass.
Here are 10 healthy options plus a few more tips to maximize the rest of your day too!
1. Customizable Protein-Packed Breakfast Cups
Not only do these breakfast cups feature protein powder and Greek yogurt, but they also contain oats which are a wonderful way to boost your intake of plant-based protein and fiber. Get the recipe for these protein-packed breakfast cups at The Healthy Maven here.
2. Spinach Banana Protein Smoothie
Maybe you’re just not into baking for your morning meal. That’s okay! Here’s a quick and easy-to-prepare portable breakfast that’s packed with protein and even some fruits and veggies too! This delightful smoothie recipe by Garnish With Lemon also features a tad bit of heart-healthy fats from almond butter which will help you stay satisfied longer.
3. Banana Nut Quinoa Bars
Here’s another baking recipe of you that enjoy meal prepping for easy breakfast dishes all week long. These scrumptious-looking Banana Nut Quinoa Bars by The Wholesome Dish are packed with a variety of protein sources including quinoa, oats, eggs, and peanut butter. They’re also low in natural sugars thanks to the use of the almighty banana which can helps boost your energy levels further.
4. Spinach and Mushroom Egg White Frittata
Egg whites are a great source of fat-free vegetarian protein, and they’re also a wonderful canvas for any veggies you please! Scramble up some egg whites with veggies, or make this Spinach and Mushroom Frittata recipe created by Foodie Crush for a low-carb, but still filling, option.
5. 50-Calorie Healthy Egg Muffin Cups
Cutting calories definitely leads to weight loss, but instead of just eating a 100-calorie processed option for your breakfast that will leave you hungry and wreck your blood sugar, make these 50-Calorie Healthy Egg Muffin Cups and enjoy two or three for your morning meal. You’ll get more protein thanks to the eggs as well as some heart-healthy fiber and savory flavors from the veggies included in this recipe.
6. High-Protein Vanilla Chia Pudding
This vegan breakfast has no sugar, dairy, eggs, or gluten but it does pack tons of plant-based protein as well as heart-healthy fats which are also needed in small quantities throughout the day for building lean muscle mass. Try out this lovely chia pudding recipe created by Simply Quinoa which you can make the night before so it’s ready to go the next morning.
7. The Ultimate Fall Omelet
It doesn’t have to be fall for you to take advantage of this high-protein breakfast recipe! The Ultimate Fall Omelet by Kim’s Cravings features protein-rich egg whites along with black beans which are also a good source of protein plus fiber too. This is a winning combination for a filling breakfast and great for your blood sugar levels first thing in the day. Pair this omelet with some salsa, and you’re good to go!
8. Overnight Cake Batter Oatmeal
Protein-packed oatmeal is a great way to stay full all morning and ensure you get your fiber first thing in the day too. But who says oatmeal has to be boring? Whip up this lean muscle-building Overnight Cake Batter Protein Oatmeal by the Dashing Dish which may taste like dessert but contains no sugar!
9. Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl
Pumpkin and bananas offer sustaining fiber while the addition of protein powder makes this recipe a total win-win for your morning meal. It’s full of fall flavors but is light and refreshing enough to be enjoyed any time of the year. This plant-based recipe by Hummusapien also features a touch of almond butter for satiating healthy fats!
10. Chocolate Protein Acai Smoothie Bowl
Acai is a heart-healthy berry that contains no sugar, but it does include a wonderful blueberry/chocolate flavor, as much protein as an egg, and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Boost your protein intake with this lean smoothie bowl recipe, and you’ll not only feel energized and satisfied but also have a great mood the rest of the day thanks to all the nutrients in this bowl!
More Tips for Building Lean Muscle Mass:
- Eat every 4-5 hours at the most and don’t go without a meal as much as possible. Here are some quick and healthy lunch ideas if you’re unsure about what to eat and busy during the lunchtime hours.
- Base your lunch and dinner off of a lean protein source containing at least 25-30 grams of protein per serving. Great sources include:
- plain non-fat yogurt and low-fat yogurt made without sugar
- cage-free eggs or egg whites
- legumes like lentils and chickpeas (or beans)
- natural peanut butter or almond butter
- wild-caught fish
- plant-based protein powders
- hemp seeds and chia seeds
- grass-fed whey protein isolate powders
Remember to avoid lunch meats and fried meats at all costs. Here are some high-protein meals for under 400 calories each
3. Fill your plate up with greens and veggies at each meal. Complement the rest of your dish with a small side of fruit or some complex carbs like wild rice, oats, sweet potato, or quinoa.
4. For dessert, reach for 90% or higher cacao content dark chocolate and a piece of fruit instead of candy or cakes.
5. Add in 2 tablespoons of ground flax and/or chia seeds to your diet daily to boost your fiber intake as well as plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.
You should also take a multivitamin to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs, and some people may benefit from the use of a Vitamin D3 supplement and additional sports supplements if you work out each day. However, always consult someone you trust before adding in lots of supplements into your routine since you may not need more than a couple. You can adequately build lean muscle mass by eating a healthy diet, getting enough rest, and reducing your intake of sugar, fried foods, processed foods, and fatty sources of meat.
Finally, let’s not forget about exercise! Check out these 5 Fitness and Nutrition Hacks to Build Muscle Fast for some simple fitness tips to boost muscle growth even more.
Featured photo credit: Meal Makeover Moms/Flickr via flic.kr