Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast staple but without sufficient protein, it can leave you hungry within a couple of hours. By increasing the protein content of your oatmeal you can help to increase satiety, increase feelings of fullness, and reduce cravings. (1) From milk to yogurt to protein powder, here are some nutritious and delicious ways to add protein to oatmeal to create a hearty morning breakfast.
8 Ways to Add Protein to Oatmeal
Boost the protein content of your oatmeal with these 8 simple tips.
1. Make it with milk.
The simplest way to add protein to your oatmeal is to make it with milk instead of water. At 8.5 grams of protein per cup, dairy milk is a quick and easy way to boost the protein content of your oatmeal while adding a touch of sweetness and a creamy texture at the same time. (2) Although almond milk or other milk alternatives will also work, they won’t add nearly as much protein and nutrition as dairy milk will. If you’re looking for a plant-based alternative, soy milk is the next best option as it provides 6 grams of protein per 1-cup serving. (3)
2. Top it with a dollop of yogurt.
If you’ve never added yogurt to your oatmeal, I highly recommend giving it a try. Not only does it add a big boost of protein, at 6 grams per 3/4 cup serving of plain yogurt, but it also adds an extra-creamy texture and tangy flavor to every bite. (4) In addition to plain yogurt you can also use Greek yogurt or skyr, which contain 17 and 18 grams of protein per 3/4 cup serving, respectively. (5)(6) Not to mention, you can play around with flavors and fruit, like this strawberry yogurt oatmeal, to make it extra tasty.
3. Add a sprinkle of seeds or nuts.
Although nuts or seeds are predominantly sources of fat, certain nuts contain higher levels of protein and a sprinkle on top of your oatmeal can help to add a little boost of protein and healthy fat at the same time. Hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, almonds and pistachios rank as some of the highest protein seeds and nuts and can add a punch of protein and a bit of crunch to every bite. (7)
4. Add a drizzle of nut butter.
Along with whole nuts and seeds, nut butters are an easy way to add protein to your oatmeal. Peanut butter tops the list as the highest protein nut butter, at 8 grams per 2-tablespoon serving, followed by almond butter, pistachio butter, cashew butter, and pecan butter. (8) However, it is best to be mindful of your portion size when adding nuts butters to oatmeal, as they are considered low-volume foods and their calorie content can add up rather quickly if you’re not paying attention.
5. Add egg whites.
You’ve probably not considered adding egg whites to your oatmeal but this is a combination that works. The whites are where most of the protein is found in a single egg, although gram per gram the yolk contains more protein, and are low in fat and relatively low in calories. (9)(10) Not only does adding eggs whites to your oatmeal add a boost of protein but it makes them extra fluffy and filling too.
5. Make savory oats.
In addition to adding egg whites, you can increase the protein of oatmeal by making savory oats instead of sweet oats. While many may think it strange, oats are in fact a whole grain that is not inherently savory or sweet – it’s all about what you do with them. Although adding fruits and sugar is one of the more popular ways to prepare oats, they can also be taken the savory route with the addition of eggs, cheese, and veggies. Topping a bowl of milky oatmeal with a poached egg, sautéed mushroom, and greens, and a sprinkle of cheese can easily create a bowl of oatmeal with over 20 grams of protein.
7. Stir in some protein powder.
Although protein powder should always be considered a supplement to a healthy diet and not a replacement for one, at an average of at least 15 grams of protein per 1-scoop serving, protein powder is a convenient way to boost the protein content of your oatmeal. (8) Not to mention, with so many varieties to choose from you can find one that suits your nutritional needs and dietary style, and add a punch of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, or other fun flavors at the same time.
8. Add a combination of the above.
If really want to increase the protein content of your oatmeal be sure to use a combination of the above ideas. By cooking your oatmeal with milk, adding a dollop of Greek yogurt on top, and a drizzle of peanut butter, you can easily add over 30 grams of protein per bowl and create a protein-packed breakfast that will keep you full all morning long.
The Bottom Line
From milk to yogurt to egg whites, there are plenty of ways to add protein to oatmeal. A high-protein breakfast has been shown to increase satiety levels, increase feelings of fullness, and help to reduce cravings. For the best results, be sure to use a combination of these protein-boosting tips to help create a protein-packed bowl of oatmeal that will keep you fuelled and full for the day ahead.
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