It’s no secret that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you eat a nutrient-packed, filling breakfast, you’ll be energized all day long. If you grab a sugar-packed pastry, well … hello, exhaustion.
If you’re looking for nutritious, balanced (and filling!) meals, many nutritionists recommend the paleo diet. It’s a diet focused on unprocessed, high fiber and whole foods. “Between the protein, good fat, and fiber, this is a winning combination to help you feel full and satisfied,” says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN. So when it comes to a healthy diet, paleo covers all the bases.
“When breakfast time rolls around, my rule of thumb is to eat a combination of protein and carbohydrates from whole food sources,” says Mackenzie Burgess, registered dietitian nutritionist and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices. “This balance helps supply a greater variety of important nutrients and provides long-lasting energy.”
The Paleo diet is packed with protein: lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds. While it’s important to prioritize protein in the morning, aim to pair it with a complex carbohydrate like fresh or dried fruits and colorful vegetables, Burgess says. Some examples are scrambled eggs with diced vegetables, chia seed pudding with fruit, or a sausage sweet potato scramble.
To help you get started, here are a few Paleo breakfast ideas and recipes backed by experts.
Paleo breakfast ideas
Chia seed jam
Most store-bought jams are not paleo-friendly due to the added sugars included. Instead, you can make your own homemade two-ingredient jam, Burgess says. Simply combine mashed berries and chia seeds, then let sit overnight. This jam is perfect to spoon over paleo-approved bread, banana egg pancakes, or dairy-free yogurt.
Filled with soluble fiber, oatmeal can help lower your cholesterol, Dr. Young explains. The type of fiber in oatmeal, beta glucans, may be particularly beneficial for heart health and for weight control. Oatmeal also contains the minerals magnesium and potassium also good for the heart.
Pro tip: Dr. Young recommends adding sliced apples or blueberries to your oatmeal instead of sugar. Fruit makes the oatmeal so sweet you don’t need any added sugar.
Classified as a fruit, dates contain fructose which provides a natural sweetness. Burgess says you can enjoy dates stuffed with a spoonful of nut butter and toppings of your choice. She also suggests sprinkling over pomegranate seeds, chopped nuts, or coconut flakes.
Chia seeds are full of healthy fats that help keep you full for longer, Dr. Young explains. Chia pudding is a great breakfast option because you can prepare it the night before, keep it in the refrigerator and it’ll be ready to eat in the morning. It also makes a great afternoon snack and dessert. Top it with your favorite fresh fruit and you’re ready to enjoy. She recommends this simple recipe:
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any milk)
- 1 cup of mixed berries
- Cinnamon and vanilla
- Add ingredients to a mason jar or container with a lid, mix and chill for 1 hour.
Green Goddess Almond Protein Power Smoothie
Meeting protein needs is essential for anyone following a Paleo diet, Katherine Brooking MS, RD, explains. She recommends a protein power smoothie, like this Green Goddess Almond Protein Powder Smoothie, as part of your breakfast.
This recipe calls for almond protein powder that has 20 grams of protein per serving and is made from finely ground almonds. It also has 1 cup of fresh spinach to help you meet your veggie needs. This smoothie also is high in calcium and fiber.
Breakfast sausage is rich in protein which can help us feel fuller and more satisfied longer. One of Burgess’ favorite brands is Teton Waters Ranch’s breakfast sausage. These sausages have real ingredients and are 100% grass-fed, allowing it to have two to four times more heart-healthy omega-3 fats. She suggests pairing it with fresh fruit or scrambled eggs for long-lasting energy.
Sweet potato toast
“It’s delicious, satisfying, and makes a colorful meal,” says Summer Yule, MS, RDN. “Most people aren’t meeting the recommendations for vegetable intake and this breakfast is a great start to your morning!”
As a crustless quiche, frittatas are paleo-approved. This egg white frittata calls for any vegetables of your choice so you can use up ingredients on hand, Burgess explains. You can omit the cheese or substitute dairy-free cheese over top.
Protein shake popsicles
Gabrielle Tafur, MS, RD recommends these tasty treats. “Though it isn’t your standard breakfast smoothie, if you have children and want to make sure they’re getting their protein in, these make for a fun breakfast or snack throughout the day.”
These popsicles are the perfect grab-and-go breakfast whether you’re commuting or heading to your home office.
Related: 25 Best Paleo Snacks
Mug muffins are at the top of Burgess’ Paleo breakfast list. Not only are they easy to make, but they also require minimal cleanup! Flaxseed, which is high in protein and fiber, makes the basis for this flax mug muffin.
This recipe is naturally sweetened from mashed bananas, stevia, and dark chocolate, making it paleo-friendly, Burgess says. Plus, it can be made ahead of time and is ready in just one minute.
Don’t swear this childhood favorite off just yet! You can enjoy this paleo cereal without the guilt of all of the added sugar and artificial food coloring dye, Tafur explains. It’s a wonderful way to clear out the pantry and takes minutes to prepare.
This healthy take on corned beef and hash switches fattier meat for lean ground turkey and substitutes summer squash for potatoes. Packed with protein, this Squash Hash breakfast recommended by a Registered Dietitian and MS, Brenda Braslow, will keep you full for hours.
Paleo breakfast bars
Do not be intimidated by the list of ingredients here. They are likely all things that can be found in the same aisle at the grocery store, and can go a long way if you are buying them in bulk, says Tafur. The best way to shop for this recipe would be to utilize the bulk grocery store items and prepare a batch to see if you like it first.
“These bars are simple and hearty, without being too sweet and making you feel like you are eating dessert for breakfast! They can be frozen as well and utilized when you are on the go.”
Paleo pistachio fig newton bread
This is an excellent Paleo breakfast if you’re on-the-go. “I bake this delicious gluten-free, dairy-free Paleo-friendly bread each week so that I can take it with me before a run or as a snack on a hike,” says Brooking. “Pistachios are a complete source of protein, providing all your essential amino acids for muscle building and repair and the figs provide natural sweetness and fiber.”
Green mango smoothie
If you’re in need of a morning energy boost, Braslow suggests this green mango smoothie. This delicious mix of ingredients will wake you right up. The spinach, cucumber, and mango provide a boost of protein with the addition of whey protein powder and hemp seeds.
Superfood grain-free granola with wild blueberries
Wild blueberries not only taste amazing, but they have 33% more brain-healthy purply blue anthocyanins, twice the antioxidants, and almost twice as much fiber as regular blueberries, says Brooking.
“Research shows that the anthocyanins in wild blueberries benefit our brains and memory, helping to keep us sharp at any age,” she explains. “This grain-free recipe also includes a delicious blend of almonds, walnuts, flax, chia seeds to add protein and healthy fats.”
Paleo breakfast egg wrap
Eggs provide high-quality protein and have all the essential amino acids to help maintain and repair muscle while supporting bone health, Brooking explains. They also contain choline, a nutrient that helps prevent birth defects and supports overall cognitive development and health in babies and may have lasting effects on cognition and prevention of the cognitive decline in adults. This breakfast wrap is nutrition-packed and a great morning meal to start your day.
“Eggs are ideal for a Paleo diet and any eating pattern,” she states. “They are a nutritional powerhouse that contributes to health and wellbeing at every age and life stage.”
Vegetable and sweet potato frittata with avocado
“Frittatas are a great option for people following a paleo diet because they are easily customizable and you can batch cook them so you have a quick and easy grab-and-go paleo breakfast,” says Tamar Samuels, RD and co-founder of Culina Health.
A typical frittata recipe includes eggs, milk, vegetables, and cheese. To make this paleo she recommends substituting the dairy milk for coconut milk, skipping the cheese and adding avocado as a garnish right before eating. Avocado contains heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fats.
Samuels also likes to add a baked sweet potato on the side or chopped roasted sweet potatoes in the frittata mixture for a more satisfying breakfast with a boost of fiber and antioxidants from beta carotene.
Energy Bombs are high in protein, no-grain, all-natural sugar, high-fiber, and a nutrient-dense breakfast option, recommended by nutritionist Melissa Kathryn. “Each ball provides 5 grams of protein and 9 grams of good fat to help keep you satisfied and give you ample energy,” she explains. “Whether you’re on the go or out for a long workout, these are sure to hit the spot and be a crowd pleaser!”
- ¾ cup walnuts
- ½ cup ground flaxseed
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons dried shredded coconut
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- ½ cup nut butter
- 2½ cups old fashioned oats
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup mini dark chocolate morsels
- In a food processor, grind walnuts to medium/fine grind.
- Add flaxseed and process for 30 seconds.
- Add cinnamon, coconut, hemp seeds, chia seeds, nut butter, oats, coconut oil, honey, and vanilla extract. Process for 20 seconds.
- Place mixture in a bowl and add mini dark chocolate morsels. Mix gently with hands to incorporate all ingredients.
- Hand roll into 1-inch balls (about the size of a ping pong ball) and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
- Allow chilling for a minimum of one hour before serving.
- Keep covered in the fridge for up to one week.
Paleo pumpkin pancake
Also recommended by Kathryn, these pancakes are filled with nutty and sweet flavors that will leave you full for longer. If you’re looking for an energy boost, these are a great breakfast choice. Each pancake is high in protein, healthy fats, and carbs to give you that morning boost.