Fitting in a good breakfast can be tricky, especially if you’re a roll-out-of-bed, run-out-the-door type of person. But if you’re on the ketogenic diet, scarfing down a breakfast that’s not just healthy, but also quick and easy can be … well, not so quick and easy.
The challenge with the keto diet is so many of our go-to breakfast foods — cereal, toast, granola bars, or that addicting ham-and-cheese croissant at your local coffee shop — are packed full of carbohydrates, which are pretty much off-limits on such a low-carb diet.
“The fact that Americans think breakfast is dessert is devastating, but it has always been how we [as a country] approach to breakfast,” says Kristen Mancinelli, RDN, author of two books on the keto diet, Jump Start Ketosis: Intermittent Fasting for Burning Fat and Losing Weight and The Ketogenic Diet: A Scientifically Proven Approach to Fast, Healthy Weight Loss, who is based in New York City. “But breakfast doesn’t have to be this special moment. I’m often found eating leftovers from the night before, like a chicken thigh and sautéed broccoli rabe.”
For those unfamiliar with keto, it’s a high-fat, low-carb diet that may induce rapid weight loss and may help reduce blood glucose levels — two major appeals of the diet. By depriving yourself of carbohydrates, the primary energy source for cells, the body starts burning fat for fuel instead in a metabolic state called ketosis, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Carrie Dennett, RDN, MPH, who is based in Seattle, says the ratio of carbs, fat, and protein in the keto diet varies a little, but she recommends around 75 percent of calories to come from fat, 5 percent or less from carbs, and the remainder from protein.
Besides limiting the meal options you can choose from, such a restrictive diet also poses inherent risks, such as fatigue, constipation, nutrient deficiencies, and weight cycling, which has been linked to higher mortality rates in people with coronary artery disease, according to a 16-year study published in November 2018 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. And when it comes to meals like breakfast, Dennett says one of the biggest challenges is getting enough fat without totally resorting to conventional morning meals, like bacon and eggs, that might leave out other essential food groups.
“Get creative and think outside the box — steer towards avocados as opposed to bacon. Dinner leftovers also work great for breakfast,” she says. “Anyone on a really low-carb diet also needs nonstarchy vegetables to get in important micronutrients and fiber for gut health.”
Whether you’re looking for a healthy morning snack or something a little more decadent, we dug up eight easy keto diet breakfast recipes guaranteed to jump-start your day!
Peanut Butter Power Granola
If you think keto puts the kibosh on granola, think again. Grain-free and sugar-free, this peanut butter granola is packed full of protein and is super easy to make. Made with almond or coconut flour, this recipe provides 9.4 grams (g) of carbs (only 4.4 g net carbs) and plenty of healthy fats. Try mixing in a touch of Greek yogurt, rolling it into balls, and popping it in the freezer for a yummy bite to enjoy on your morning commute.
Bacon and Onion Egg Cups
If you’re doing the keto diet, chances are you are going to eat bacon and eggs sometimes, try as you may to avoid them completely. This recipe incorporates onions caramelized in bacon fat, taking your taste buds on a whole new adventure. Requiring only five minutes of prep time, this recipe is quick to whip up and contains only 2 g of carbs. For an added touch of flavor, toss in some fresh thyme and feta cheese!
Banana Nut Muffins
Because of the high carb content, bananas and many other fruits are usually eschewed on the keto diet. But if you have a hankering for the potassium-rich fruit, these keto-friendly banana nut muffins are the perfect quick fix. Using almond flour and banana extract, this recipe provides just 7 g of carbs and 3 g of fiber (meaning just 4 g of net carbs). For an added crunch and only a few more carbs (4 g, to be exact), try topping with a homemade walnut crumble.
Crustless Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche
In some cases, veggies can be one of the hardest foods to incorporate in a keto diet because they contain carbohydrates, which can add up. And who wants vegetables for breakfast? You’ll be a skeptic no more after one bite of this creamy crustless broccoli and cheddar quiche. It checks all the keto boxes with almost equal parts fat and protein, and 7 g of carbs. This recipe is great to prep ahead of time and freezes well for future morning meals. If you feel your veggie intake is a little on the low side, you can also add in other keto-friendly options, like asparagus, zucchini, or mushrooms.
Raspberry Chia Pudding
If you’ve ever eaten day-old eggs, you know breakfast can be hard to make ahead of time. Enter: chia pudding. This recipe has minimal ingredients and only requires time overnight for the magic to happen. Raspberries bring the flavor, but chia seeds are the star of the show, providing you with tons of nutrients, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) — including potassium, calcium, antioxidants, and fiber — all which are key in a healthy diet yet aren’t givens in high-fat foods. This recipe packs a whopping 19 g of fiber per serving, helping you just about meet your daily needs in this one recipe. Because fiber is a nutrient that is often lacking in a keto diet, this chia pudding makes a great addition to any keto plan.