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  • Shannon Crocker MSc RD

3 reasons to put protein on your breakfast plate | Protein-packed sweet potato and turkey muffin tin

Disclosure: I partnered with Gay Lea to share this recipe on CHCH Morning Live; however, this recipe and post is not sponsored.

You’ve probably heard that you need to eat breakfast to jumpstart your metabolism and maintain a healthy weight.

Turns out, that's not quite true. In fact, this study showed that after 16 weeks, the resting metabolism of breakfast eaters and breakfast skippers stayed the same. Also, some studies that this statement is based on (along with breakfast helps you maintain a healthy weight) were funded by cereal manufacturers, so some question the validity of those studies.

Either way, even if breakfast won’t skyrocket your body’s overall ability to burn calories, it’s still in hugely beneficial in my opinion.

Breakfast gives you energy to get going in the morning; and, including quality carbs (e.g. whole grains, veggies, fruit) fuels your brain, so that’s smart. Got kids? Breakfast can help them do well in school! Kids who eat a healthy breakfast are better able to focus at school; they’ve fueled their brains and they’re not side-tracked by hunger.

Breakfast is also a good opportunity to get fibre – most of us don’t get enough. Fibre (from veggies, fruits, whole grains, pulses) is important for heart health, digestive health, regularity (ahem, poops), and for managing blood sugars. A fibre-filled breakfast (along with healthy fats and protein) also helps you to feel full, so that might help you avoid mid-morning munchies.

And, one of the main reasons I recommend a morning meal? Breakfast is a prime time to pump up protein. Eating about 20 to 30 grams of protein at each meal is especially important for those of us aged 40 and beyond. Here's why:

Three Reasons to Put Protein on Your Breakfast Plate

1. Protein helps to keep you strong as you age; protein helps maintain lean muscle mass, which we gradually start to lose in your 40’s.

2. Eating a protein-rich breakfast can help you feel satisfied/full longer than one filled with carbohydrate. That’s partly because protein increases hormones that help you feel full. When your appetite is satisfied and you don’t have a desire to eat, you’ll be less likely to reach for sugary treats with your morning coffee break.

3. Getting enough protein can help with weight management. Like I said above, a high protein intake preserves muscle mass. And that helps with weight management because lean muscle mass burns more calories (energy) than body fat.

So, how do you get protein at breakfast?

Eggs are an obvious choice. One egg has 6 grams of high quality protein. But, that’s a fair bit shy of the 20 to 30 grams you’re aiming for. Enter my Sweet Potato & Turkey Muffin Tin Frittatas.

Filled with eggs, cheese, turkey and my secret ingredient – Plain Nordica Smooth Cottage Cheese – this breakfast is packed with protein to fuel you with energy and keep you going all morning long. One frittata has about 14 grams of protein. Woot!

Make them on the weekend, store them in the fridge and pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds to heat. Or, eat them cold – totally yum, especially with a shot of sriracha.

Vibrantly Yours,


Sweet Potato and Turkey Muffin Tin Frittatas

Makes: 12 frittatas


1 cup grated sweet potato (about 1 small)

3 teaspoons canola oil

12 large eggs

1 cup of Nordica Plain Smooth Cottage Cheese

1 cup cooked turkey breast or thigh (leftovers work great!)

1 cup grated old cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon salt

pinch hot pepper flakes

2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with parchment paper muffin liners (this is a MUST for easy pan clean up!).

2. In a frying pan over medium heat, sauté grated sweet potato in canola oil until soft (about 7 to 10 minutes). Let cool completely.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and Smooth cottage cheese until well combined.

4. Whisk in cooled sweet potato, turkey, cheese, pepper, salt and chili flakes.

5. Using a 1/3-cup measure, scoop frittata mixture equally into each cup in the muffin pan. Be sure to get all the ingredients in each scoop (not just liquid). The cups will be quite full. Top each frittata with green onion.

6. Place the pan into the oven (carefully, remember, they are full!) and bake for about 20 minutes, or until firm and a knife inserted into one of the frittatas comes out clean.

7. Cool completely in the pan, remove the parchment paper liners and enjoy!

Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 2 to 3 months.

Download a copy of this recipe here.


Phillips SM et al. Protein “requirements” beyond the RDA: implications for optimizing health. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 2016;41:565-572.

Yang D et al. Acute effects of high-protein versus normal-protein isocaloric meals on satiety and ghrelin. Eur J Nutr. 2014;53(2):499-500.

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