Many people have heard of the benefits of a high protein breakfast for weight loss.
Evidence suggests that protein is a particularly satiating macronutrient and that consuming more protein can help control appetite and decrease caloric intake.
However, many common high-protein breakfast ideas are also relatively high in calories.
While they may help reduce appetite and can potentially be healthier options than a high carbohydrate breakfast like pancakes or breakfast cereal, if you are looking to have a high-protein breakfast for weight loss, it makes the most sense to have a high protein low calorie breakfast.
But are there any high protein low calorie breakfasts? What are some of the best low calorie high protein breakfast ideas?
In this article, we will share some of our ideas to enjoy a low calorie, high protein breakfast for weight loss.
High Protein Breakfast for Weight Loss: 6 Low Calorie Ideas
#1: Scrambled Egg Whites
Probably the most popular go-to for a healthy, low calorie high protein breakfast is any preparation that centers around egg whites.
Egg whites are a great high-protein, low-calorie food.
The egg white from one large egg contains just 17 calories and 3.6 grams of protein, while 100 grams provides 11 grams of protein for just 52 calories.
Therefore, you could theoretically have the equivalent of about 15 egg whites (which is a lot!) for just 200 calories; plus, you’ll be getting a whopping 56 grams of protein.
Most nutritionists recommend getting 20-25 grams of protein per meal, with evidence suggesting that only so much protein can be absorbed at once.
For this reason, it is probably best to have even fewer calories from egg whites and diversify your high protein low calorie breakfast with other nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods.
Creating an egg white scramble with veggies added in is a great way to have a more filling, nutritious, low calorie, high protein breakfast.
Here is a good high protein low-calorie breakfast recipe idea for an egg white scramble:
- Heat up a large nonstick skillet.
- Add 8 egg whites (about 30 grams of protein and 136 calories).
- Then, add a mélange of healthy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, garlic, onions, mushrooms, leeks, broccoli, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and jalapeños.
Of course, you don’t need to add all of these to the same scramble, but mix and match different combinations of veggies to vary the flavor palette and micronutrient profile on different days.
Season with salt, pepper, or other spices and condiments like paprika, cumin, hot sauce, curry powder, garlic powder, or salsa.
#2: Egg White Omelette
Much like making an egg white scramble with veggies, an easy low calorie high protein breakfast idea is to make an egg white omelet.
You can pick and choose the same veggies.
You can also add a sprinkle of low-fat cheese, such as part-skim mozzarella, Parmesan, feta cheese, or goat cheese.
Most cheeses are relatively high in calories, but cheese Is also quite high in protein, and if you are adding an ounce or less to your breakfast omelet, you can still have quite a high protein low calorie breakfast that feels much more satisfying and tasty.
#3: Tofu Scramble
Much like making scrambled egg whites and adding in nutritious, low-calorie vegetables, you can make a tofu scramble.
This is a great low calorie high protein breakfast idea for those on a plant-based diet or who have an egg allergy.
Even if you do enjoy eggs, having a tofu scramble a couple of times a week can be a great way to add variety to your low calorie high protein breakfast for weight loss so that you don’t get tired of the same thing every day.
Additionally, there are quite a few health benefits of soy, which is the protein source used to make tofu.
Tofu is soybean curd that has been pressed and processed into a block. It is also often fortified with calcium and vitamin D, which is particularly beneficial for vegans or those who do not consume calcium-rich dairy sources.
Depending on the firmness and brand of tofu you buy, tofu has about 10.5 grams of protein per cup with only 88 calories.
You can basically follow the same recipe to make a tofu scramble as you would with an egg white scramble. Again, choose vegetables that appeal to you. Ones that work particularly well in tofu scrambles are mushrooms, bok choy, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, and peppers.
You can add a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a dash of soy sauce or tamari sauce or added flavor if you would like to go with an Asian-inspired flavor profile.
Tofu also has a very neutral flavor in and of itself. Therefore, you can certainly flavor it just as you would eggs, meaning heavier on tomatoes, hot sauce, salsa, etc.
#4: Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is often overlooked as a high protein breakfast idea, but not only is cottage cheese packed with filling protein, but it is also relatively low in calories.
However, like all forms of dairy, cottage cheese is available with different amounts of fat. Full-fat and reduced-fat cottage cheese will be higher in calories and may not make the best high-protein breakfast for weight loss.
Look for fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese; 1% milk fat is fine. This will make an excellent, filling, high protein low calorie breakfast.
For example, a serving of low-fat cottage cheese, which is 4 ounces, has only 80 calories and 14 grams of protein, meaning that you can have a full cup and get a whopping 28 grams of protein for only 160 calories.
Eating plain low-fat cottage cheese will probably not be physically or mentally satisfying, but there are plenty of healthy, low-calorie ways to “doctor it up“ by adding additional ingredients to augment the flavor and nutrient profile.
For example, if you prefer a sweeter breakfast, look for low-sodium cottage cheese.
Add cinnamon, low-sugar fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or melon, and a sweetener of choice such as Stevia or Monk fruit extract, which are both natural, non-caloric sweeteners.
If you are not following a low-carbohydrate diet, you can also add honey or regular sweeteners, but if you want to limit the sugar and reduce the calories, Stevia is a great option.
If you prefer a savory flavor profile, you can use regular low-fat cottage cheese (or low-sodium low-fat cottage cheese) and add ingredients like chives or a little bit of turkey sausage or lean turkey bacon.
#5: Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
Like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt is packed with protein, and if you opt for low-fat or nonfat Greek yogurt, you’ll get a ton of protein without consuming many calories. The thick, creamy texture makes even nonfat Greek yogurt feel relatively indulgent and rich.
Plain Greek yogurt has a very neutral flavor profile. Plus, one cup (8 ounces or 227 grams) provides 23 grams of protein and only 133 calories, making it a great high-protein, low-calorie food.
There are flavored Greek yogurts that are now available in most grocery stores that are lower in sugar that can also make for a low calorie high protein breakfast for weight loss, but they usually contain more sugar.
However, you can also buy plain nonfat Greek yogurt and flavor it yourself at home. As with cottage cheese, you can season it with cinnamon and add low-sugar fruits if you are on a low-carbohydrate diet.
Adding nuts and seeds will quickly increase the caloric intake, as nuts and nut-based granolas are quite calorically dense, so be mindful about adding these types of ingredients. However, a small sprinkle of flaxseeds or Chia seeds will add some protein without adding a significant number of calories.
If your diet allows for a higher carbohydrate intake, you can add other fruits like bananas, apples, peaches, etc.
Additionally, although nut- and seed-based granolas are high in calories, as are those that include oils and sweeteners, muesli made with oats typically contains no added sugar and can be added to Greek yogurt without increasing the caloric content significantly. You will also get some healthy prebiotic fiber from the oats due to the beta-glucans.
However, if you are on a low-carb, high-protein diet, skip these types of ingredients and just add a couple of tablespoons of mixed seeds, cinnamon, and/or a natural non-caloric sweetener such as Stevia, if necessary.
#6: Lean Protein Shake
A protein shake with banana, nut butter, and milk can be a tasty high-protein breakfast, but these types of protein shakes are also high in calories.
Making a simple protein shake with unsweetened almond milk and your favorite protein powder is an easy way to make a super quick low calorie high protein breakfast for busy mornings.
Overall, it is certainly possible to eat high-protein breakfasts for weight loss. Prioritize cutting calories by choosing lean protein and limiting fats and carbohydrates.
If you would like more information on how to get more protein into your diet, check out our article, How To Get More Protein, 13 Ways To Increase Your Protein Intake.