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5 Travel-Friendly Paleo Breakfasts for All-Morning Energy

Happy eggs

The Science of an Energizing Breakfast

There’s a lot of confusion about exactly what makes for a “good” breakfast, but here’s a quick look at some relevant research:

Of course, some people feel best with very few carbs in their diet in all. So in deference to the low-carb crowd, each suggestion below has both a higher-carb and a lower-carb option.

From a Paleo perspective, an energy-friendly breakfast should also be anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is a huge mood and energy suck, and it’s a possible reason for daytime sleepiness.

So to sum up, a fatigue-fighting breakfast should have a decent amount of protein. If it has carbs, they should come from fiber-rich whole foods and there shouldn’t be more carbs than protein. The breakfast should also be anti-inflammatory. With that in mind, check out 5 travel-friendly, energy-boosting Paleo breakfasts.

1. Creative Egg Bakes

For the restless, the easily bored, and the enthusiastic experimenters-with-new-vegetables, these options are simple to bulk prep for the week but give you a little more scope for creativity and mixing things up.

Carb-friendly option: Twice-baked sweet potatoes with eggs

Protein: 20.3 grams
Carbs: 20.75 grams
Ratio of carbs to protein: around 1:1
Anti-inflammatory highlights: eggs are high in healthy fats but very low in inflammatory PUFA (learn more about PUFA here). Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A while white potatoes are high in vitamin C – both have powerful antioxidant activity.

Modifications: replace the sweet potatoes with white potatoes (equal carbs), curried purple potatoes (equal carbs) or beets (slightly lower in carbs); add any vegetables or spices/seasonings you like…

Low-carb option: Oven-baked Vegetable Omelettes: keep the eggs and coconut milk, but replace the vegetables in the recipe with any low-carb vegetables you like.

Protein: 21 grams
Carbs: 6 grams
Ratio of carbs to protein: between 1:3 and 1:4 (in other words: 3-4 times as much protein as carbohydrate in this meal)
Anti-inflammatory highlights: like eggs, coconut milk is full of healthy fats and has essentially no PUFA; that’s without mentioning the vegetables.

2. A Real Stick in the Meat

Way more fun than a stick in the mud…it’s a stick in the meat! Breakfast doesn’t have to be all about eggs: One simple and easy way to make non-egg breakfasts is to do kebabs (also spelled kabobs). They’re so easy to make in bulk, and you can either slide them off the sticks to eat with a fork or just pick up the skewer and go to town for a handheld A.M. treat.

Carb-friendly option: Ham and Pineapple Skewers: if you ever enjoyed cold leftover pizza for breakfast, you’ll love these as a make-ahead breakfast treat.

Protein: 27 grams
Carbs: 26 grams
Ratio of carbs to protein: around 1:1
Anti-inflammatory highlights: pineapple is rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C.

Low-carb option: Grilled Asian-Balsamic Steak Skewers (nutrition given for 1/6 of the recipe – the recipe makes 4 dinner-sized servings, but that’s a bit more than most people want for breakfast. For breakfast-sized servings, you could easily get 6 from this recipe)

Protein: 30 grams
Carbs: 10.3 grams
Ratio of carbs to protein: 1:3 (3 times as much protein as carbohydrate)
Anti-inflammatory highlights: when meat is served with balsamic vinegar, melanoidins in the vinegar may help protect the fats in the meat from inflammatory oxidative damage. Plus there’s all that delicious polyphenol-rich olive oil.

3. Seafood Spectacular

From the perspective of fighting inflammation, it’s hard to get better than seafood. Fish are high in antioxidant minerals like selenium, inflammation-fighting omega-3 fats, and other goodies that make them one of the most anti-inflammatory foods around. The protein in the fish is a great source of long-lasting energy, and it’s easy to add some complex carbs for even more breakfast power (or not, if that works better for you)

Carb-friendly option: Breakfast casserole with salmon and hash browns: use this recipe, but substitute 8 ounces of smoked salmon (or half a can of drained canned salmon) for the sausages.

Protein: 24.75 grams
Carbs: 16.25 grams
Ratio of carbs to protein: about 1:1.5
Anti-Inflammatory highlights: eggs and salmon, plus onions and garlic to add those tasty plant antioxidants.

Low-carb option: Grilled garlic and lime salmon fillets – these are delicious served cold the next day, with a little bit of mayo on top if you feel that they’re too dry.

Protein: 40 grams
Carbs: 7.1 grams
Ratio of carbs to protein: about 1:6 (6 times as much protein as carbohydrate)
Anti-inflammatory highlights: on top of the salmon, this recipe is also rich in anti-inflammatory garlic and fresh herbs.

4. The Utilitarian

For the superheroes too busy saving the world to worry about fancy breakfasts, but too health-conscious to go through the drive-thru at Dunkin Donuts, check out these minimalist breakfasts – they get you the nutrition you need without the fuss.

Carb-friendly option: 3 hard-boiled eggs + one baked sweet (or white) potato.

Protein: 21.1 grams
Carbs: 20.9 grams
Ratio of carbs to protein: around 1:1
Anti-inflammatory highlights: on top of being low in PUFA, free-range eggs are also rich in carotenoids, the antioxidants that give their yolks that deep orange color.

Low-carb option: Grilled chicken breast with vegetables

Protein: 30.5 grams
Carbs: varies, depending on the vegetables. If you have half a pepper + half an onion, it’s 6.7 grams.
Ratio of carbs to protein: between 1:4 and 1:5 (4 to 5 times as much protein as carbohydrate)
Anti-inflammatory highlights: vegetables for breakfast is about as anti-inflammatory as you can get – especially if you cook them in polyphenol-rich olive oil.

5. What a Sausagefest!Sausages on plate

Continuing the egg-free theme, what about that other breakfast staple meat: sausages are fun because they come in so many different flavor varieties, from spicy chorizo to sweet maple-bacon.

Carb-friendly option: Simple Sausage Casserole (made with 5 sausages and 2 large sweet potatoes for 4 servings)

Protein: 21 grams (Exact number will depend on the type of sausages you use)
Carbs: 24.75 grams
Ratio of carbs to protein: almost 1:1 (technically 1:1.2)
Anti-inflammatory highlights: this recipe is full of lycopene-rich tomatoes, even before you get to the other vegetables and the sweet potatoe.

Low-carb option:Southwest Sausage Skillet: for one week of breakfast, fry up 1 lb of sausage with kale, onions, garlic chili powder, salt, and pepper. You can use loose sausage meat or sausage links chopped into pieces.

Protein: 24.1 grams (Exact number will depend on the type of sausages you use)
Carbs: 10.1 grams (for 1 cup kale and ½ onion)
Ratio of carbs to protein: between 1:2 and 1:3 (2-3 times as much protein as carbohydrate)
Anti-inflammatory highlights: it’s got kale, so you know it’s super healthy – and that’s without mentioning the chili powder.

What’s your favorite breakfast for all-morning pep? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!