The best diet for women should be rich in fiber, healthy carbs, good fats (including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids), healthy protein and a mix of vitamins and minerals. The good news is that it’s a flexible diet that allows for variety. You can eat a little bit of everything as long as it comes from the proper sources and in the right amount for your body. Research shows that proper sources should be balanced between plant based food and animal produce.
For instance, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, that analyzed the dietary data of about 209,000 adults (79% were women) over two decades, showed that the participants who followed a diet that emphasized consumption of healthy plant foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and healthy oils; and reduced the intake of animal foods; had the lowest risk for heart disease and they were also more active and leaner.
This doesn’t mean that you need to go full vegetarian or vegan (not eating animal products, not even eggs and dairy) to get the best health benefits of your diet. Actually, you should focus on variety, like eating more of the right plants, eliminating unhealthy foods, and moderating your intake of animal products. At least half of your plate should be foods made from plants that contain no animal derived ingredients.
When it comes to protein consumption, the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine agree that energy and macronutrient needs, especially carbohydrate and protein, must be met during times of high physical activity to maintain body weight, replenish glycogen stores, and provide adequate protein to build and repair tissue. The recommendation is to fill a quarter of your plate with protein-rich foods.
Fortunately, with a simple change in your diet you can meet both plate recommendations, plant-based and high-protein sources. For example, you can lower your animal food intake (like eggs) by one to two servings per day and replace it with legumes or nuts as your protein source.
However, you have to keep in mind that many food sources of plant-protein are less calorie-dense and more amino acids-limited than animal sources of protein. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and you need 20 of them to help your body function properly. So, to meet energy and indispensable amino acid requirements your diet has to have a variety in protein intake. It’s totally fine to increase the amounts of plant-based proteins but you also have to include some animal proteins to make sure the quality of protein in your diet is quite high, especially if working out is part of your daily routine.
How can I get a high-protein breakfast without eggs?
Having a high-protein breakfast can help you benefit from muscle health by increasing muscle mass, energy expenditure (calories burned), satiety hormones, glucose regulation and by decreasing the desire to snack all the time.
Eggs have been proven to meet all of the above values, thus they are considered as the best alternative for breakfast. A lot of people find themselves trapped in the never ending routine of scrambled or hard boiled eggs as their go-to high-protein breakfast. But, as we mentioned before, the beauty of a healthy diet is in its variety.
Even if eggs naturally contain different vitamins and minerals that are not commonly found in a plant-based diet, there are healthy options that you might want to consider when taking eggs out of your breakfast. Mostly, these options include a variety of plant-proteins that complement each other and allow for meeting the protein requirements that your body needs to function. Plant-protein can be derived from various sources, including soybeans, peas, fava beans, mung beans, lentils, algae and microalgae, vegetables, whole wheat, other whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Below, we have gathered 5 high-protein breakfast recipes that don’t need eggs. You will find plant-based options as well as ideas with plant milks meant to give a boost of flavor and texture to your breakfast.
5 Best High-Protein Breakfasts That Aren’t Eggs
All of the following tasty eggless recipes have at least 20 grams of protein per serving, making them delicious high-protein breakfast options that will bring you the variety you are looking for.
Strawberry Infused Quinoa Breakfast Cereal
Fat 20 g
Saturated Fat 2 g
Sodium 20 mg
Sugars 15 g
Protein 20 g
Fiber 10 g
Carbohydrate 60 g
1/4 cup hemp seeds
3/4 cup water
1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 cups cooked quinoa any variety
1/4 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- Add the 4 milk ingredients into a high-powered blender. Blend on high until smooth and creamy (will be the consistency of milk). Set aside.
- Place quinoa in a bowl, pour milk over and sprinkle on toppings.
- Enjoy immediately with a warm cup of tea or coffee!
Mocha Banana Protein Smoothie Bowl
Fat 4 g
Sodium 20 mg
Protein 20 g
Fiber 7.2 g
Carbohydrate 45 g
*Nutrition only includes banana, protein powder, spinach, almond milk and coffee.
Protein powder is based on 1 scoop around 100 calories with no added sugar.
1 large frozen banana
1/2 cup Chocolate Almond Milk, plus more if necessary
1 scoop your favorite protein powder (I recommend plain, vanilla or chocolate)
1 packet instant coffee, if desired
1 cup spinach (if you want a superfood boost)
A few ice cubes
Low-fat Granola, gluten free if desired
Unsweetened Coconut flakes
- Add all ingredients except desired toppings to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. If necessary, add more almond milk and/or ice to reach the desired consistency. The smoothie should be fairly thick so that you can eat it with a spoon.
- Pour into a bowl and top with desired toppings such as chia and granola. Serves 1.
Savory Parmesan Oatmeal
Fat 16 g
Saturated Fat 6 g
Protein 21 g
Fiber 9 g
Carbohydrate 45 g
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
⅔ cup rolled oats
½ cup kale leaves, chopped
½ cup broccoli florets, chopped
1 ounce Parmesan, grated
- In a small pot, heat almond milk, 1/3 cup water, oats, kale, and broccoli. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until oats are plump, kale is wilted, and broccoli is cooked al dente, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Top with Parmesan.
High Protein Tofu Scramble
Fat 11 g
Saturated Fat 1.5 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 656 mg
Protein 20.5 g
Fiber 8.2 g
Carbohydrate 16.6 g
16 oz. firm tofu (drained)
1 medium tomato (chopped with seeds removed)
1 medium green bell pepper (chopped with seeds removed)
1/2 medium red onion (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon water
Fresh coriander to garnish
Fresh lemon juice to garnish
Oil or butter for coating the pan
- Chop the onion, tomato, and bell pepper into cubes.
- Heat the pan with a little oil or butter. Add the onions, bell pepper, and tomato to the pan and cook for 3 minutes to soften.
- Crumble the tofu and add it to the pan, stirring to combine with the vegetables.
- In a small bowl, stir together the spices. Add 1 tbsp of water to the spices and mix to combine, then pour into the tofu scramble and stir until everything is well-mixed.
- Cook for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to come together, then drizzle with fresh lemon if desired and serve.
Be careful not to overcook the tofu, as this can make it dry and crumbly.
Extra scramble can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. It keeps very well, so I recommend doubling or tripling the recipe for easy meal prep!
Tofu in Purgatory (Vegan Shakshuka)
Fat 8 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Sodium 1167 mg
Protein 20.3 g
Fiber 4 g
Carbohydrate 16 g
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
1 medium onion , sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 large cloves garlic , minced
1 x 28oz (796 ml) can diced tomatoes, or a can of whole ones, just break them up in the pan.
2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs such as Herbs De Provence or Italian Seasoning, or some oregano and thyme
1½ teaspoons sea salt , or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper , or to taste
1 teaspoon sugar , optional but recommended
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes or 1 small fresh red chili
1 block medium firm tofu, not pressed (firm or extra firm will work but won’t be as “eggy” in texture)
a few pinches Indian Black Salt (Kala Namak) , optional
- Warm the olive oil in a skillet and cook the onion over medium heat until it is just starting to turn golden on the edges. (use a drop of water instead of the oil to keep the recipe oil-free).
- Add the cumin and once it smells toasty and fragrant add the garlic. Cook for 1 more minute.
- Pour in the tomatoes then the herbs, salt, pepper, chili flakes and sugar.
- Simmer over a medium heat for 10 minutes uncovered.
- Cut the block of tofu into ½-inch thick slices, then either cut into squares, or use a cookie cutter to cut into rounds like eggs. The size of them doesn’t really matter but you’ll need at least 4 pieces.
- Turn down the heat to medium-low, add the tofu gently to the top of the sauce, then simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce is thickening up nicely.
- Sprinkle the tofu with a little Indian Black Salt (Kala Namak) and a pinch of pepper just before serving. If you aren’t using black salt, season the tofu with a little regular salt instead.
- Serve with crusty bread, baguette or pita bread to sop up the sauce!
Final Thoughts from The Barbell Beauties
The wider availability of research that supports plant-based protein concentrates makes it easier to achieve higher plant protein intake instead of getting it from animal sources. If you are looking to push the balance of your protein intake such as eggs toward plant-based sources, breakfast is your start point. You need protein in the morning to maintain your healthy muscles and to help keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the day. The recipes shared in this article are thought to give your breakfast the protein you need without using eggs, to help you function well throughout your day, and to improve your long-term health.
Giuliana is a yoga instructor and Crossfitter from Peru who is currently living in Chiang Mai, Thailand with her Crossfit Coach (and husband) Tim.