Looking for a healthy, protein-packed way to start your day?

high protein breakfast
6 healthy, protein-packed breakfast ideasGetty Images

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But even more important for runners is making sure that morning meal is protein-packed. It's easy to opt for a quick bowl of cereal, breakfast biscuit or pastry post-run and pre-work, but these breakfasts are often high in sugar and lack nutritional value.

Supercharge your breakfast with one of these easy, high-protein recipes to aid your run recovery. From baked eggs and overnight oats to pancakes and breakfast burritos, set your day up right and give the number one meal of the day a nutritious makeover.

What is a high-protein breakfast?

‘A high-protein breakfast typically includes foods that are rich in protein and other nutrients that help you feel full and energised throughout the morning,’ explains Georgia Chilton, senior nutrition manager at Fresh Fitness Food. ‘This may include, eggs, Greek yoghurt, nuts, seeds, whole grains and/or lean meats.’

‘A personal favourite of mine is overnight oats, as you can add in ingredients such as Greek yoghurt and protein powder to increase the protein content, before incorporating other ingredients such as berries and nut butter for additional flavour.’

Why are high-protein breakfasts good for runners?

High-protein breakfasts can be beneficial for runners for several reasons, from appetite regulation to recovery:

Helps muscle recovery

‘Running can put a great deal of stress on your muscles, as it is a high-impact form of exercise,’ says Chilton. ‘Ensuring you are consuming enough protein is vital as protein is needed to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. A high-protein breakfast can provide the necessary amino acids to support this process and aid in muscle recovery.’

Improves energy levels

‘Protein is a nutrient that is slower to digest than carbohydrates, which means that it can provide a sustained source of energy throughout the day,’ she says. ‘It also slows down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, which can help to stabilise your blood sugar levels and work to prevent sudden drops in energy. This can be particularly beneficial for runners who need to maintain their energy levels over a long period of time and allows them to maintain a steady pace during a run.’

Keeps you feeling full

‘As protein is broken down more slowly and provides you with a sustained source of energy, it can help towards keeping you feeling full and satisfied for longer periods of time,’ explains Chilton. ‘This is helpful for runners, as you do not want to go into a session feeling hungry.’

They’re nutrient dense

‘High-protein breakfasts can be a great source of important nutrients, such as iron and B vitamins, which are essential for energy production and optimal performance,’ she says.

Wondering how you can increase the protein in your day-to-day breakfast? Here are some of our favourite high-protein breakfasts for a nutritious start to your day

high protein breakfast
Christine Baumgärtel - Getty Images

Plant-Based Protein Waffles

‘Meeting the recommended daily protein requirement can be trickier for those with dietary restrictions, such as those who are vegan or vegetarian,’ says Chilton. ‘Supplementing a plant-based diet with protein powder, in a breakfast or a shake, can be a great way of ensuring someone meets the recommended amount. When choosing a plant-based protein powder, it’s important to consider choosing a blended protein powder, to ensure it contains all the essential amino acids you require and is therefore considered a complete protein.’

‘We always recommend a food-first approach, but if you’re highly active and struggling to meet your recommended protein requirements, it’s perfectly okay to consume protein powders alongside other wholefood plant-based sources of protein.’


  • 150g buckwheat flour

  • 110ml oat milk

  • 40g oats

  • ½ tbsp baking powder

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

  • 1 scoop of vegan protein powder

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 3 tbsp almond butter

  • 150g frozen berries


  1. In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, the buckwheat flour, oats, baking powder, and protein powder.

  2. Once the dry ingredients have been mixed together, slowly start to add the oat milk, whisking as you go until the mixture becomes a smooth batter.

  3. Turn on the waffle machine so that it heats up. Once the waffle machine is hot, spoon in the batter, and cook as per your waffle machine's instructions.

  4. While your waffles are cooking, heat your frozen fruit over low-to-medium heat until defrosted, or until hot, depending on your preference.

  5. Spoon your compote over your waffles and finish with a couple of spoons of almond butter (or any other nut butter of your choice).

Plant-Based Breakfast Burrito

‘For this plant-based burrito, we’ve swapped chicken for tempeh,’ says Chilton. Although chicken could be used if you're a meat-eater ‘Soy-based products such as tempeh are a great example of a complete plant-based protein. This means they contain all the essential amino acids required by the body.’

Ingredients (makes 2)

  • 2 tortilla wraps

  • 50g tempeh (diced into 1cm cubes)

  • 30g baby spinach

  • 50g black beans (drained)

  • 20g red cabbage (finely sliced)

  • 1 small sweet potato (diced into 1 cm cubes)

  • 1 red chilli (finely sliced)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp coriander (roughly chopped)

  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar

  • 1 avocado

  • ½ small onion (diced)

  • ¼ lime (juiced)

  • ½ tsp paprika

  • Salt to season


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.

  2. Place the sweet potato and the tempeh into a roasting tray and season with paprika and olive oil. Roast at 180 C until the tempeh has started to turn golden and the sweet potato is cooked through. Then leave to the side to cool.

  3. Meanwhile, wash and finely slice the red cabbage and red onion – cover with red wine vinegar until needed and refrigerate. Drain before using.

  4. Wash and spin dry the baby spinach.

  5. Wash and pick the coriander.

  6. Wash and finely slice the green chillies.

  7. Wash the sweetcorn and cut it from the cob or if using frozen sweetcorn, cook as per packet instructions.

  8. Mash the avocado with the lime juice

  9. Roll all ingredients into round burritos

high protein breakfast
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Strawberry Protein Pancakes

‘This stack of delicious, fluffy pancakes will hit those sweet breakfast cravings without giving you the undesired sugar crash,’ says Chilton. ‘They also include a serving of protein to help hit your macronutrient goals and keep you fueled and full until lunch. The addition of strawberries to the batter keeps them sweet and fresh and an added bonus is they are both gluten-free and vegan too.’

Ingredients (makes 2)

  • 170g buckwheat flour

  • Pinch of baking powder

  • 20g vanilla protein powder

  • 300g oat milk

  • 5g olive oil

  • Pinch of salt

  • 15g maple syrup

  • 150g strawberries, washed and finely chopped


  1. Mix together the dry ingredients.

  2. Whisk the wet ingredients and strawberries together with the dry ingredients until the batter is smooth.

  3. Heat a small (10-12cm) nonstick pan over a medium heat.

  4. Place a ladleful of the batter mix in the pan, let it cook until the underside is golden and the edges have set, then flip it and continue until it is cooked through.

  5. Serve with extra maple syrup, fresh strawberries and mint.

chocolate coconut chia seeds overnight oats on a white wooden background toning selective focus
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Chocolate Protein Overnight Oats

Packed with protein and fibre, this breakfast will get your day going with the energy you need. Chilton suggests trying these with a bit of peanut butter, too.

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 150ml water or milk of your choice

  • ½ cup gluten-free oats

  • ¼ cup chocolate whey / vegan protein powder

  • ½ banana

  • ½ tbsp honey


  1. The night before, mix the oats and protein powder together, then add your choice of water, milk or dairy-free milk and place in a jar or container and pop in the fridge overnight to chill while you sleep.

  2. The next morning all you have to do is get your oats and drizzle on some honey, give it a stir and top it with banana.

Paprika Baked Eggs

‘Eggs have many nutritional benefits – they are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, and also provide calcium, vitamin B6, and magnesium, all of which are vital for a healthy, functioning body,’ says Chilton.

‘Not only this, they are also a great source of omega-3, which helps lower blood pressure, and, of course, a great source of protein, too.’


  • 1 onion (diced)

  • 120g vegan chorizo

  • 1 yellow pepper (diced)

  • 1 red pepper (diced)

  • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)

  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

  • 400g chopped tomatoes

  • 4 free-range eggs

  • 1/2 bunch chives (chopped)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.

  2. Place the diced onion and chorizo into a cast iron pan and begin to sauté.

  3. Once the onions begin to colour, add the diced peppers, and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes.

  4. Add the garlic and the smoked paprika, cook for 2 minutes then add the tomatoes.

  5. Turn the heat right down and leave to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  6. Make four wells into the sauce and crack an egg into each.

  7. Place the pan into the preheated oven and leave to cook for 10 minutes, when the whites of the eggs are cooked, but the yolks are still runny.

  8. Scatter over the chives, serve, and enjoy!

Super food frittata bagel

What's a list of breakfast recommendations without a bagel option? This frittata sandwiched in a bagel by nutritionist Emily English offers a whopping 22g protein to kick start your day. What's more, they are speedy. These bagels can be prepared and frozen, making them a great high-protein breakfast for rushed mornings.


  • 4x protein bagels

  • 250g carton egg whites

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 handful of chopped parsley

  • 1 handful of chopped basil

  • 1 spring onion, diced finely

  • 4 diced sun dried tomatoes, drained from oil

  • 4 slices of smoked applewood cheese (or use normal cheddar


  1. Whisk the eggs and whites with chopped parsley, basil, diced spring onion, sun dried tomatoes and season with salt and balck pepper. Tip into a suitable oiled or non stick baking dish so it will cut into four bagel sized squares around 2cm thick. If you only have a dish that gives you a thin frittata, simply double stack in the bagel!

  2. Bake the frittata at 200 C fan for 5-10 minutes until set. Allow to cool.

  3. Cut the frittata into four squares to fill each bagel. Place a slice of cheese on top and close. Wrap each bagel in foil and freeze for up to three months.

  4. To serve, remove from the freezer to thaw at room temp overnight then either stick into the air frier or warm in the oven at 200 C for 5-6 minutes until the cheese melts. Add in some spinach for an extra superfood hit!

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