on July 31, 2019
Conventional wisdom tells us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It kick-starts your metabolism, provides a much needed influx of fuel and serves up a healthy helping of vitamins and nutrients.
The first meal of the day is perhaps even more important on the keto diet as you work to hit your daily macros and get enough calories to stay energized. Here, we’ll share a few tips for breakfast on the keto diet, common mistakes to avoid and some of our favorite keto breakfast recipes.
First, let’s talk about the importance of breakfast in general. Unless you’re practicing intermittent fasting, breakfast is a meal you don’t want to skip (learn more about intermittent fasting here). Eating breakfast is associated with a lower BMI, a more sufficient intake of calcium and fiber, and better cognitive performance, to name a few of its many benefits.
For keto dieters in particular, breakfast is a prime opportunity to refuel your body after a long period without eating. Protein eaten in the morning has been shown to help keep you satiated longer than eating the same amount of protein during other meals. And, research suggests that eating a breakfast high in fat may help prevent metabolic syndrome, which causes obesity, high triglycerides and other heart disease risk factors.
On the other hand, while we know cutting out carbs comes with a host of benefits, it’s particularly useful first thing in the morning as it eliminates the “crash” that can come after eating a sugary breakfast.
Thankfully, once you look beyond the world of high-carb pastries and cereals, there are a wealth of yummy and nutritious breakfast options that will help you start your day with a healthy serving of the protein and fat that form the core of the keto diet.
At first glance, you might get discouraged at all of the traditional breakfast foods that are off the table for keto dieters. And you wouldn’t be off-base--many commercially marketed breakfast foods are loaded with carbs and sugar that will derail your diet.
For a breakfast that won’t kick you out of ketosis, you’ll need to avoid most pre-packaged breakfast meals. Your standard supermarket cereals, bagels, muffins and toast fall into this category.
Instead, look to protein as your new breakfast staple. Eggs are a keto breakfast standby, as are breakfast meats like bacon and sausage. But the morning-meal goodness doesn’t stop there.
Get creative with vegetables to make cauliflower hash browns. Turn Greek yogurt into keto-friendly pancakes. Toss ingredients into the blender and churn out a protein-filled smoothie. The options are endless once you know a few basics.
As with most keto meals, your best bet to avoid slip-ups is to cook breakfast yourself so you know exactly what’s in it. Make-ahead meals will come in handy here. If you must grab something packaged, be sure to read the nutrition facts carefully; even foods labeled “all natural” or “no sugar added” can still be overflowing with naturally occurring sugar and carbs.
For those crazy mornings when a drive-by meal is your only resort, it’s a great idea to educate yourself on the keto-friendly options at your favorite fast food chains. Yes, they exist! Check out our guides to keto meals at Chipotle and Taco Bell (which is an especially good option for breakfast).
To help you start your day off right and stay in ketosis, here are nine quick and easy keto breakfast recipes you can whip up on the spot or prepare ahead of time and eat throughout the week.
This south-of-the-border skillet from Peace Love and Low Carb has all the savory and spicy elements of breakfast tacos without the carbs you’d get from wrapping it all in a tortilla. This traditional version uses tomato, avocado, black olives and onions as toppings, but you can switch things up with creative additions like cabbage or cotija cheese, or by swapping out the ground beef for ground chicken, pork or sausage.
We recommend making a skillet or two over the weekend and dividing it into portions you can easily heat and eat during busy weekday mornings. This dish freezes well, too.
We know, we know--we just said muffins were off limits. But if there’s one thing you should know by now about the ketogenic diet, it’s that there’s a keto-approved substitute for almost all of your beloved high-carb foods.
These low-carb blueberry muffins from Delish are packed with protein and keto-friendly berries, and they’re totally free of added sugar. Instead, sweeten them with your favorite sugar alternative, like Stevia or erythritol, or skip sweeteners altogether and add flavor with cinnamon or vanilla extract. You can also add chopped Brazil nuts, pecans or macadamia nuts for a bit of crunch.
These miniature crustless quiches from Taste of Home work just as well as a workday breakfast as they do a dish for your next potluck. Broccoli is loaded with fiber to keep you full, and it’s rich in nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin K1, folate and potassium. Hearty bacon adds a savory flavor while fluffy, beaten eggs tie the dish together.
This recipe calls for pepper jack cheese, but we think it’d be equally delicious with sharp cheddar, feta or pretty much any kind of cheese you have in the fridge. You can easily switch out the broccoli for a leafy green like spinach, too.
You’d be surprised how many different ways you can make light, decadent pancakes without tons of carbs or sugar. These almond flour pancakes from All Day I Dream About Food are just one such example.
To get the texture just right, this recipe calls for a secret ingredient: your blender. Use it to achieve a smooth consistency and avoid the grittiness that can sometimes give away even the best nut-based flours. A side of fresh blueberries or raspberries makes for a well-rounded and nutritious way to start your day.
Can’t quite kick your cereal habit? We don’t blame you--it’s basically the easiest breakfast option around. This sugar-free take on the popular commercial cinnamon crunch cereal from Sugar Free Londoner is not only low carb, but gluten free and grain free to boot.
This recipe requires cooling time after it bakes in the oven, so your best bet is to prepare it ahead of time and store it in a jar or ziploc bag until you’re ready to eat it. Pour your favorite nut milk over it, add it as a topping to Greek yogurt or enjoy it dry with your morning coffee.
The best thing about a hash is that it requires just one dish to make. The second-best thing is that it’s so versatile--you can cook one up using nearly any leftover ingredients you have on hand.
This keto-friendly breakfast hash from Eazy Peazy Mealz uses turnips and Brussels sprouts to achieve the same texture and binding quality you’d get from potatoes, without all of the carbs. You could also work in cauliflower or even beets to change up the flavor with no added effort.
Bacon and sausage get all the love when it comes to breakfast, but don’t forget about another easy and affordable breakfast meat: ham. This breakfast casserole from That Low Carb Life pairs ham with egg, chiles and hot sauce for a deliciously fiery take on the first meal of the day.
We love breakfast casseroles because they’re not only incredibly easy, they keep well in the fridge for several days and even longer in the freezer. Plus, the layered structure is perfectly suited to slicing and separating into single-serve portions. Make it for yourself or pop one in the oven next time you have houseguests--it’s so good you might just attract a few new keto followers.
Meat and eggs are excellent keto breakfast staples, but we get it--sometimes you just can’t eat another scramble or omelette. For those mornings where you’re craving something sweet or tangy rather than savory, turn to a protein-rich breakfast smoothie.
This recipe from Cooking LSL uses coconut milk, avocado and berries to achieve a creamy, satisfying smoothie that will fill you up and fuel your day. It also calls for almond butter, but you can substitute any kind of low-sugar nut butter you have on hand.
Eggs benedict meets a bagel with lox in this delightful bite-sized breakfast dish from Ruled.me. The ultimate eat-and-run breakfast, these bombs are equally tasty when warmed up in the microwave or enjoyed cold.
No salmon on hand? No problem--you can swap in bacon for a similar effect. If chives aren’t your thing, no sweat. Use parsley or dill in its place. This recipe as it’s published yields two servings, but we highly recommend doubling it because you’ll want to start your day with these bombs over and over again.
By learning a few basic recipes and making adjustments based on what you have on hand, you’ll quickly become adept at preparing satisfying, keto-friendly breakfasts to start your day off on the right foot.
Left Coast Performance is your online destination for keto-friendly recipes, education and products. Supplement your protein intake with our collagen and bone broth powders or put a keto-friendly spin on your morning routine with our keto coffee creamer.
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