Low-Carb, High-Protein Breakfast Foods


Whether you're eating low-carb to lose weight or improve blood sugar, you'd be smart to make breakfast a priority. Not only does eating breakfast help with weight control and weight loss, but it also helps keep energy levels, or blood sugar, steady. Consult your doctor before making changes to your usual diet.

Carb-Free Breakfast

A carb-free breakfast means a meal that includes only meat, eggs, cheese and very low-carb vegetables such as leafy greens, broccoli, peppers, celery, cucumbers, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes; it might contain 25 to 30 grams of protein.

An example of a carb-free breakfast might include a two-egg omelet filled with 1 cup of peppers and onions, 1 ounce of cooked salmon and 1 ounce cheese. For a breakfast on the go, consider having three hard-cooked eggs with 2 cups of celery sticks and cherry tomatoes.

If you're not into eggs, you can make your own poultry or fish sausage, and serve 2 ounces to 3 ounces of the sausage with 1 cup of grilled onions and peppers. And for vegetarians, scramble 1 cup to 2 cups of tofu with spices such as turmeric and cumin, and add 1 cup of chopped spinach and mushrooms for a low-carb, meat-free breakfast.

Very Low-Carb Breakfast

A very low-carb breakfast, which contains about 20 grams to 30 grams of protein and 15 grams of carbs, may include some additional foods, such as fruits and grains, that may make meal planning a little easier.

One cup of low-fat cottage with 1 cup of fresh cantaloupe is low in carbs and filled with fiber, vitamins A and C and potassium. Or you can make a breakfast burrito, filling a 6-inch whole-grain tortilla with two scrambled eggs, 1 ounce of low-fat cheese and salsa.

For a low-carb breakfast on the go, blend one 6-ounce container of plain nonfat Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries, 1/2 cup of kale and ice. Add vanilla or almond extract for additional flavor if desired.

High-Protein, Moderate-Carb Breakfast

A high-protein, moderate-carb breakfast may be appropriate for those on the maintenance phase of their low-carb diet or for people trying to up their daily protein intake. The Institute of Medicine recommends a healthy diet contain at least 130 grams of carbs a day. A moderate-carb breakfast should contain about 20 grams to 30 grams of protein and 45 grams of carbs for health and balance.

A healthy option might include a breakfast sandwich made with a whole-wheat English muffin, a poached egg, 1 ounce of low-fat cheese and avocado slices, served with a container of nonfat Greek yogurt.

Or you can make a southwestern-style tofu scramble, adding 1/2 cup of black beans and some salsa to 1 cup of tofu scrambled eggs, served with a slice of whole-wheat toast and rounded out with a cup of nonfat milk or soy milk.

Some Considerations

A low-carb diet has been shown to help promote weight loss. However, because it's a diet that encourages the intake of fat and protein, you may consume an excessive amount of unhealthy saturated fat. For heart health, try to include mostly healthy sources of fat such as fatty fish, vegetable oil, nuts and seeds.

While eggs may be the focus of your low-carb breakfast, if you have high cholesterol, use egg whites and limit your intake of yolks, suggests the Harvard School of Public Health.

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