18 Protein-Packed Breakfasts to Fuel Your Teen’s Energy (and Why Your Teen Needs Protein)

Don't let your teen walk out the door with a Red Bull and a doughnut... try one of these power breakfasts instead!

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: 18 Protein-Packed Breakfasts to Fuel Your Teen’s Energy

Nutritionists are always saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but what your teen decides to gobble up after stumbling out of bed matters even more.

The best breakfasts deliver a healthy dose of protein and complex carbs to keep your teen energized throughout the morning – you know, so they’re not starving 20 minutes after eating! So, before your teen dashes out the door for school, a summer job or internship, or for an early-morning practice, make sure they eat a protein-packed breakfast. It’ll do their body and their brain good!

Why Your Teen Should Start the Day with a Healthy Breakfast

Your teen might be tempted to skip breakfast (honestly, it’s all too easy when they’re running late). But there are plenty of solid reasons why they should slow down and grab a healthy bite at breakfast:

  • Improves their concentration and focus
  • Helps manage their mood
  • Helps keep their weight in check
  • Help them perform better in school
  • It’s good for their heart
  • Controls blood sugar
  • Fuels their brain and body to take on the day

6 Benefits of Packing Plenty of Protein into Every Meal

According to Healthline, there are plenty of science-backed reasons why our teens (and, frankly, everyone) should pack more protein into their diet. 

#1 Boosts Muscle Mass and Strength

Protein is the building block of muscles. For teen athletes, for instance, getting plenty of protein in their diet can help them maintain their muscle mass and promote muscle growth when they do strength training. Eating more protein can also help teens consume fewer calories without actually restricting anything from their diet. 

#2 Makes You Feel Fuller and Reduces Hunger

Protein-rich foods are super filling which means they can help you feel more full with less food. (Protein reduces levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and boosts levels of peptide YY, which makes you feel full.) A diet rich in protein can also help maintain and lose weight. According to Healthline, “To keep off excess weight, consider making a permanent increase in your protein intake.”

#3 Boosts Energy

Since it takes longer than carbs to break down in the body, protein provides a longer-lasting energy source and since it helps slow the digestion and absorption of carbs, it will help your teen feel more energized and alert after a meal (as opposed to wanting to take a nap)!

#4 Balances Hormones

One of the cool perks of protein is that it provides your body with amino acids that are used to produce specific hormones like estrogen, insulin, and thyroid hormones. Eating a high-protein breakfast can help regulate estrogen levels, and boost other chemical messengers that regulate energy, metabolism, and menstrual cycles.

#5 Reduces Cravings and Desire for Late-Night Snacking 

Ahem… did someone say, teenagers? When those crazy midnight cravings hit, it can be incredibly hard for our teens to control. But according to science, the way to overcome them may be to prevent them from occurring in the first place… and protein can help with that!

#6 Helps the Body Repair Itself After an Injury

Numerous studies have shown that eating more protein after an injury can help speed up recovery

How Much Protein Does Your Teen Need?

According to the Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine National Academy of Sciences, 10-30 percent of your calorie intake should come from protein. For teens ages 14-18, it varies by gender: Boys need 52 grams, while girls need 46 grams. 

It’s important to note that athletes typically need more protein, BUT mega-dosing on protein isn’t a good thing – to read more on that, check out this post

While diet-related protein deficiencies are rare in the US (according to Very Well Fit), some deficiencies do occur especially in athletes. How do you know if your teen is deficient? According to UCLA Health, common signs that your body is extremely low on protein include:

  • Brittle hair and nails – often the first sign of deficiency
  • Feeling weak or hungry, since protein supplies energy and satisfies the appetite
  • Getting sick often without protein to boost the immune system
  • Mood changes or trouble thinking due to fluctuating blood sugar and protein’s effect on the brain’s neurotransmitters (which regulate mood)
  • Muscle weakness, since amino acids are essential for building muscle mass
  • Stress fractures when bone tissue doesn’t have the protein it needs

What Foods are High in Protein?

This awesome FREE Printable by Health Beet will help educate your teen and give them tips on what to eat to boost their protein intake!

Download and Print the PROTEIN FOOD LIST


18 Protein-Packed Breakfasts to Fuel Your Teen’s Energy


Now that we got all that out of the way… let’s get into the good stuff! Here are a bunch of delish protein-packed breakfasts your teen is gonna love!

Power Protein Breakfast Burritos

With 25 grams of protein, these breakfast burritos filled with eggs, bacon, garlic, minced onion, and other yummy flavors make a delicious snack or meal any time of day! Serve with sliced avocados for a bigger boost in protein!

Find the recipe at Fit Foodie Finds HERE


5-Ingredient Protein Peanut Butter n’ Chocolate Bars

These 5-ingredient Protein Bars taste like a dessert but they’re healthy – perfect for the teen who loves to start their day with a little sweetness! The cool part is, you can make these 5 different ways and they’re super easy to make!

Find the recipe at Chocolate Covered Katie HERE


Protein Waffles with Fruit

This easy, low carb high protein waffle recipe is crispy, airy, and sweet, and comes together in just 10 minutes. Add fresh berries or bananas and this is one breakfast your teen won’t turn down. 

Find the recipe at Wholesome Yup HERE



Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Protein Smoothie

This Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Protein Smoothie is super creamy and delicious. And, since it has plenty of protein, it will keep your teen feeling full until lunchtime. 

Find the recipe at This Gal Cooks HERE


Looking for more yummy smoothie recipes? Check out this post: 25 Smoothie Recipes to Brighten Your Teen’s Morning

 5-Minute, 4-Ingredient No-Bake Energy Protein Bites (40 Different Flavor Options!)

Your teen can get their protein fix the delicious way with these easy, no-bake protein bites! With so many variations, (everything from peanut butter and chocolate chips to oatmeal and raisins), they’re bound to find a flavor combo they love! 

Find the recipe at Big Man’s World HERE


Lemon Blueberry Buckwheat Protein Muffins

These Lemon Blueberry Buckwheat Protein Muffins are healthy and very easy to make. They’re also gluten-free, flourless, refined-sugar-free, nut-free, and 100% kid & teen approved! 

Find the recipe at One Clever Chef HERE


Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches

Spend a little time on the weekend whipping up a batch of these 21-gram protein-filled Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches so you’ll be set for the week! They’re a whole lot healthier than fast food!

Find the recipe at Organize Yourself Skinny HERE


Healthy 5-Minute Avocado Toast

If your teen hasn’t jumped on the “Avocado Toast” bandwagon, you need to get them on board! Not only is this healthy breakfast totally scrumptious, but the eggs and avocado pack a powerful protein punch. Plus, they can spruce it up by topping it with tomatoes, bacon, beans, salmon (for more protein), or pretty much anything their taste buds are calling for!

Find the recipe at Gimme Delicious HERE


High Protein Breakfast Power Bowl (34g of Protein!)

When it comes to protein-packed breakfasts, this tops the list! Your teen can REALLY start their day off right with this High Protein Power Bowl. This easy breakfast will set them up for the day with a whopping 34 grams of protein and loads of healthy carbs. 

Find the recipe at All Nutricious HERE


Cottage Cheese Scrambled Eggs

It doesn’t get much easier than this! Boost your teen’s morning protein intake by adding cottage cheese to their eggs. The result is fluffy eggs with more than 17 grams of protein per serving!

Find the recipe at Skinny Taste HERE


Fluffy Protein Pancakes

These yummy pancakes are made with simple ingredients and have 26 grams of protein per serving thanks to the extra boost from the protein powder! Add any fruit you like!

Find the recipe at Choosing Chia HERE


Apple Protein Muffins

Your teen is gonna love these protein-rich muffins that are 100% healthy and naturally sweetened with maple syrup (could be replaced with honey). And… guess what? They’re super easy to make!

Find the recipe at One Clever Chef HERE


No-Bake Chocolate Cashew Protein Bars

These Chocolate Cashew Protein Bars are made with simple (and delicious) ingredients. And, the best part is, they taste like a dessert. Naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.

Find the recipe at Build Your Bit HERE


Sausage and Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

With 18 grams of protein, this Sausage and Hash Brown Casserole is sure to fill your teen up! Easy enough to make in the morning, or whip it up the night before to make your morning easy. 

Find the recipe at Amanda’s Easy Recipes HERE


Chocolate Protein Muffins (with Veggies! Shhhhh!)

These flourless Chocolate Protein Muffins pack in a ton of nutrients, but guess what? They’re actually healthy! In fact, unless your kids stand over your should and watch you make them, they’d never believe they’re made with so many healthy ingredients. The perfect grab n’ go breakfast or snack.

Find the recipe at Yummy Food HERE


Breakfast Tacos with Bacon and Spinach

Brimming with eggs, bacon, onion, mushrooms, spinach, and Monterey Jack cheese and topped with Pico de Gallo, your teen is going to have a HARD time passing this breakfast up. And, with 24 grams of protein, they’ll also be doing their body a whole lot of good!

Find the recipe at Eat This Not That HERE


Sheet Pan Protein Pancakes (Add Whatever Fruit You Like!)

Go ahead… skip the flipping! These big-batch sheet pan protein pancakes (with 11 grams of protein per serving) are light and fluffy and made with juicy berries and a hint of vanilla. Prep ahead and reheat for an easy breakfast throughout the week. 

Find the recipe at Sweet Peas HERE


On-The-Go Breakfast, Snack, or Anytime Trail Mix

Not just for hikes, THIS trail mix is filled with delicious flavors and ingredients that are perfect for teens who don’t stop long enough to eat breakfast. Just fill a Ziploc bag and let ’em munch on their way to school. It has plenty of almonds and walnuts (both high in protein) along with pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds and a little dark chocolate because… well, who says you can’t have dessert for breakfast? 

Find the recipe at Bananas About Life HERE


Forget the crummy, sugar-filled breakfasts that offer zero nutritional value. Jumpstart your teen’s morning by helping them choose one of our protein-packed breakfasts to set them up for success all day long! 

If you enjoyed reading, “18 Protein-Packed Breakfasts to Fuel Your Teen’s Energy (and Why Your Teen Needs Protein),” here are a few other posts you might enjoy!

25+ Healthy Teen-Approved Snack Ideas

50 Healthy Summer Snacks for Teens that Aren’t Boring

18 Crazy Good Muffin Tin Recipes That Make the Perfect Teen-Friendly Snack

50 Recipes To Tempt Your Teen to Eat More Fruit and Veggies

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