If you’re anything like us, you may remember tucking into a big bowl of sugary cereal drowning in milk every morning for breakfast. It’s quite interesting to reflect on why such breakfasts were — and are still –promoted as a healthy start to the day. There’s a reason why an entire grocery store aisle is dedicated to colorful boxes with friendly cartoon characters, inviting you to “just add milk”? Since the 1940s clever marketing campaigns have encouraged us to enjoy a hearty bowl of cereal because it was ‘good for us.’ The truth is, it’s not.
Whether or not you believe breakfast to be the most important meal of the day or not, making your first meal after waking a processed, high-carb cereal will send you straight into a sugar slump a few hours later. High-protein low-carb breakfasts, on the other hand, provide the ideal balance of macronutrients for sustained energy, keeping you content and ready to take on the day ahead.
Carbohydrates: How low can you go?
If carbohydrates are the main source of energy for our brains, heart, and muscles, why would the good people at 8fit we recommend eating low-carb breakfasts? The term “low-carb” is a vague one as it doesn’t take into account the type of carbohydrate you are eating — which makes a big difference in terms of health, disease prevention, and energy levels.
One way to understand exactly what low-carb means is by assessing the percentage of calories a particular food has. In other words, the number of calories you get from carbohydrates, divided by the total amount of calories in that food or meal plan. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that a healthy person should be getting around 50-65 percent of their total calories from carbohydrates. However, a few lower carb dietary styles have shown to help improve blood sugar levels and promote weight loss in some people.
Here are a few popular low-carb diets and their respective carbohydrate energy percentages:
Keto: 5-10 percent
Low-carb diet: 30-40 percent
Paleo: Approx 30-50 percent (depending on food types)
Standard diet: 45-65 percent
At 8fit, we define a low-carb meal as 30 percent or less, based on several scientific guidelines.
The importance of protein for breakfast
Dietary protein is essential as the building blocks for a host physiological parts and processes, e.g., muscle, hair, skin, organs, and cell function. It effectively builds the structure of your body. The amount you need depends on many factors such as your sex, age, amount of muscle you have, wellbeing goals, and the current state of your health.
As outlined by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 10 to 35 percent of your calories each day should come from protein. This can vary according to the above factors as well as your current activity level.
If you are…
Sedentary: 11-15 percent
Active: 15-20 percent
A competitive athlete: 20 percent
A bodybuilder: up to 35 percent
At 8fit, we classify a meal as being high-protein if more than 20 percent of its calories come from protein. We never go below 11 percent for meals and snacks alike, as we understand the importance of this crucial macronutrient in supporting a healthy lifestyle and weight.
6 high-protein, low-carb breakfast recipes
Hand-picked from the 8fit Pro recipe book, these six high-protein low-carb breakfasts have minimum 20 percent protein and maximum 30 percent carbs, get your metabolic engine purring first thing in the morning. The recipes are modified according to your specific goals, all while meeting your high-protein, low-carb needs.
Savory Breakfast Muffins
Whoever said that muffins had to be sweet? These savory muffins are rich in amino acid from the eggs, feta, and beans. This version contains one of our favorite high-protein vegetables — spinach! For more plant-based protein, add some kale, broccoli, or asparagus.
Simply wash, chop, then sauté the vegetables. Mix them with the cracked eggs in a large bowl and fill the cups of a muffin tin with the mixture. Bake in the oven until cooked throughout. These are perfect for weekly meal prep or to grab on the go when you’re in a rush in the morning.
Paleo Breakfast Meatballs
These are for you Paleo-loving and meat eaters alike. They contain blueberries for an added boost of natural sweetness and paired with the protein in turkey, your blood sugar levels will remain nice and stable.
Chop up the mushrooms, a low-carb vegetable, with onion. Pan fry both with a bit of oil, then set to one side to cool before mixing with the ground turkey meat and chopped blueberries. Season to your taste and form into meatballs. Pan fry with a high heat oil, on medium-high for about five minutes per side or until thoroughly cooked.
Cloud Pancake with Hummus & Tomato
These pancakes taste like heavenly clouds of joy. Have fun playing the part of a chef, and get the whole family involved. Bond over cooking up a healthy Sunday brunch together.
Separate the egg yolk from the white. Mix the yolk with cottage cheese and a healthy sweetener, then mix until creamy. Add baking powder to egg white in a separate bowl and beat together — being exact here is important (you can find the full recipe in the 8fit Pro app). Combine the contents of the two bowls and then spoon out and pan fry like regular pancakes. Top with high protein hummus for a savory dose of goodness.
Sesame Tofu & Vegetable Bowl
This vegan-friendly bowl of comfort will have you feeling cozy and pleasantly full first thing in the morning. Not a typical main meal for breakfast? Think outside the box! Starting your day with protein-packed tofu and fiber-rich vegetables, as well as the vegetable superstar that is cruciferous broccoli.
Wash, chop and stir-fry these low-carb vegetables with diced tofu. Add low-sodium soy sauce and a bit of oil, then sprinkle some nutty flavor with sesame seeds, bursting with protein and antioxidants.
Charred Vegetable Scramble
This scramble is a bit like a veggie hash and is complete with vegetables that will support your gut as well as high-protein eggs and hazelnuts. Hazelnuts are rich in unsaturated fats as well as vitamin E, magnesium and, calcium — helping you maintain strong bones and a healthy heart.
Wash and finely chop all of the vegetable, Brussels sprouts, radishes, onions, and broccoli. Heat the oil on medium temperature and pan fry the veggies until they’re soft, then sprinkle in the chopped hazelnuts. Set the vegetable to one side and then cook your eggs (sunny side up, over easy, poached — whatever you fancy). Serve the eggs on top of this healthy hash!
Cocoa & Avocado Protein Smoothie
This one is perfect for those of you who like your breakfast simple yet scrumptious. Made with creamy avocado, tasty coconut milk, bananas and cocoa powder brimming with electrolytes, phytonutrients. Although healthy, be cautious with these ingredients as they are still high in calories. Increase the volume if you want by adding water or ice instead.
Get these high-protein, low-carb breakfast recipes and hundreds more, tailored to your specific needs are available in the 8fit Pro app.