We all know having breakfast is important, but it’s not just about whether you eat it—it’s also about what you eat (anyone who's experienced the dreaded sugar crash an hour after scarfing down a donut knows what we’re talking about). Carbs alone won’t cut it. Start your day with a high-protein breakfast; it'll keep your energy levels up and help curb mindless snacking later.

One easy, convenient way to incorporate more protein into your morning meal? Leftover beef from last night’s dinner! Research shows that eating a three-ounce serving three times a week doesn’t worsen blood pressure or total cholesterol levels. It can even be good for your health. Here are just a few ways beef is an underrated nutritional powerhouse:

• It’s rich in protein, which has been shown to increase both satiety and stamina. One specific amino acid, leucine, also plays a key role in preventing muscle loss as we get older.
• It contains iron, which can help to prevent anemia, especially in children. Effect of beef and soy proteins on the absorption of non-heme iron and inorganic zinc in children. Etcheverry P, Hawthorne KM, Liang LK. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2006, Jul.;25(1):0731-5724.
• It’s one of the best sources of vitamin B12, a nutrient that’s rarely found in plant-based foods and is essential for red blood cell development and brain function.

Ready to beef up your breakfast? Start with these 15 savory recipes, which will ensure you’re doing it the healthy—and yummy—way.

Photo: Pinch and Swirl

Corned beef already has so much flavor on its own, you really don’t need to do much to repurpose it into a tasty breakfast hash. Simply add some eggs and potatoes, plus Brussels sprouts for that all-important veggie element. Salt and pepper are the only seasonings you need.

Partner
Beef It's What's for Dinner

Feed Your Pursuit

Keeping up your strength is essential for active living. The nutrients in beef—such as zinc, iron, and protein—help you stay strong.
Find out more at beefitswhatsfordinner.com.

Photo: Port and Fin

Paprika and cayenne pepper add a smoky kick to this otherwise straightforward breakfast hash. Use any cut of leftover beef you have—anything will go well with eggs, potatoes, and mushrooms.

Photo: Real Simple Good

If you’ve got leftover ground taco meat, toss it into this bursting-with-nutrients breakfast. It adds a hefty dose of extra protein alongside the fried eggs. With carbs from the sweet potato and all the fiber from the greens and sauerkraut, this is one well-rounded bowl.

Photo: Cafe Delites

Add even more bulk to this warm, nourishing Middle Eastern breakfast by adding lean beef sausages or lean ground beef. The meat soaks up the tomato sauce, so it practically tastes like a breakfast Bolognese. Yum!

Photo: My Sequined Life

A frittata is, by default, rich in protein. But when you add cooked ground beef and a bit of cheese, you get not only even more protein but also conjugated linoleic acids, which have been found to have anti-cancer properties, along with an ability to reduce risk factors for heart disease. This is a frittata with some serious disease-fighting fuel.

Photo: Baker by Nature

Bruschetta is usually nothing more than olive oil and tomatoes. Make it breakfast worthy by adding slices of skirt steak, a smear of goat cheese, and poached eggs. That’s three different sources of protein.

Photo: Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen

Turn yesterday’s roast and mashed potatoes into this morning’s beef and potato cakes. Breaded and lightly pan-cooked instead of deep-fried, they’re a perfect stick-to-your-ribs breakfast packed with protein from the beef, cheese, and eggs.

Photo: Kevin Is Cooking

Need your morning protein to be portable? This recipe has you covered. With beef sausage, eggs, bread, and veggies all neatly baked into muffin cups then topped with bubbly cheese, each handheld cup is a full breakfast in itself.

Photo: Eat Cake for Dinner

An easier, non-deep-fried, and less cheesy version of enchiladas, these taquitos are the perfect lighter way to get your Mexican fix for breakfast. But don’t worry—stuffed with eggs, leftover sausage, and veggies, they’re still super filling.

Photo: China Sichuan Food

Açai bowls and kale smoothies aren’t the only antioxidant-rich breakfast options out there. By adding shredded beef to this breakfast fried rice, you’re adding satiating protein and giving the dish a healthy boost of carnosine, an antioxidant that’s found only in animal products.

Photo: Primal Palate

If you can’t ever have enough Mexican food (and really, who can?) this recipe is the perfect way to turn yesterday’s taco meat into today’s burrito filling. Season it with cumin and garlic powder, and nestle it into an egg “tortilla.” It’s a single-serving Paleo breakfast that’ll power you well through the morning.

Photo: Kitchen Lush

Take a detour from your typical steak-and-eggs brunch. Leftover steak is tucked between crusty ciabatta slices along with sautéed mushrooms, cheese, and an addictive Greek yogurt-based sauce. It’s so good, you’ll want to make this more than just on Sundays.

Photo: Simply Recipes

Folding lean ground beef into scrambled eggs kicks up the protein count of this dish. Also, since iron from plant sources is known to be better absorbed when eaten with meat, you’re getting maximum benefits from the spinach that’s thrown into the mix. Talk about a few simple additions going a long way.

Photo: Apron and Sneakers

If you’re looking for a hefty post-workout breakfast, try this torta. The traditional Spanish potato and egg omelet is already pretty hearty, but this Filipino twist adds a cup of ground beef for even more protein and a dose of creatine, a nutrient that helps improve physical energy and mental cognition.

Photo: Kevin Is Cooking

Breakfast meets dinner in this stick-to-your-ribs dish, where leftover meatloaf gets repurposed into a scrambled egg hash. Add zucchini and potatoes, and it’s a one-pan meal that takes all of 15 quick minutes to throw together.

READ THIS NEXT: 11 Quick and Easy Ground Beef Recipes (That Aren't Burgers)