Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially if you are planning to run a marathon, or have an intensive weight lifting workout first thing. Protein is a top concern for meat-free athletes and for good reason — protein is essential during exercise for building and repairing muscle tissue, and athletes are recommended to aim to consume between 1.2-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
The good news is, meeting those protein requirements on a plant-based diet for athletes is easy to do. We've rounded up some of our favorite whole food plant-based breakfast hacks to make sure that you are getting enough protein to fuel your active lifestyle...and included 6 delicious plant-based breakfast recipes to get you started.
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6 High Protein Whole Food Plant-Based Breakfast Hacks
Hack #1: Sneak Protein-Rich Nuts and Seeds into Your Breakfast
Nuts and seeds are packed with protein, and they are perfect for athletes. Start your day with all-natural peanut butter toast, add hemp seeds as topping to your avocado toast, or, better yet, whip up these delicious and oil-free flaxseed breakfast cookies. Bonus tip: add some pumpkin spice to make it seasonal.
2. Change Up Your Oatmeal
Image and Recipe from Feel Good Foodie
If you haven’t tried quinoa in your oatmeal then you are missing out on a whole new world of tasty and nutritious. This is an especially great option for people who are not fond of the texture of oats. Try out this simple quinoa bowl recipe to widen your plant-based breakfast horizons and kickstart your day with the healthy, protein- and vitamin-rich properties of the mighty quinoa.
3. Scramble It Up
Image and Recipe from A Plantiful Path
A plant-based diet for athletes doesn't mean you have to say goodbye to your favorite breakfast scramble — just swap out the eggs! This tofu scramble is a delicious way to get your plant-based protein in the morning, not to mention its packed with vitamin-rich veggies and greens for a nutrition boost.
4. Have Your Pancake, and Eat It Too
Image and Recipe from Running on Real Food
Yep, you can still eat pancakes! These heavenly chickpea flour pancakes can even be enjoyed every day without sacrificing your nutrition or your performance goals. Chickpea flour is nutrient-dense and effortlessly adds a ton of plant-based protein to an otherwise indulgent breakfast. Add berries for an antioxidant boost and nut butter for even more protein.
5. Wrap It Up
Busy in the morning? Meal prep these plant-based breakfast burritos then pop in the freezer for healthy, hearty, and protein-packed on-the-go breakfasts. Packed with tofu, beans, and mushrooms to power your workout right.
6. Bulk Up Your Smoothie
Smoothies are an excellent way to get all the nutrients you need on the go. And while it may sound funny, silken tofu is the perfect protein boost to your favorite plant-based breakfast beverage. Mainly used in desserts because of its silky texture and minimal flavor, silken tofu makes for one creamy, yet dairy-free, smoothie.
- It's easy to get all the protein you need on your plant-based diet for athletes.
- Add more nuts and seeds to your breakfast routine, either with all-natural peanut butter in your smoothie or by topping your avocado toast with hemp seeds.
- Add quinoa to your oatmeal or swap oats altogether for quinoa for a protein boost!
- Swap scrambled eggs for scrambled tofu!
- Eat pancakes made with protein-packed quinoa flour.
- Make freezer tofu breakfast burritos for a heat-and-go breakfast on the way to the gym.
- Bulk up your smoothie with silken tofu!
Rafaela Michailidou is a Vegan Lifestyle Coach, and a freelance health and wellness content writer, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.