As a kid, you didn’t understand the big deal about oatmeal. You would chuckle at those Wilfred Brimley “eat your oatmeal” commercials, preferring Golden Grahams for breakfast. When you got old enough to be in charge of your own meals, you started skipping breakfast altogether most days. You’re reasonably certain your coffee for breakfast habit began with 8 a.m. classes in college.
Now that you’re a little older and wiser, you’re back on the breakfast train. You also finally understand why oatmeal is “the right thing to do”. Morning oatmeal, hot from the microwave while you check your email, makes a perfect breakfast. It is easy and it keeps your digestive system in good working order. It tastes pretty good too, especially the maple and brown sugar flavor. Your co-workers turn up their noses at all those carbs, but you know how much more energy you have in the morning after a warm bowl of oatmeal.
It’s a great start but what if I told you how to make oatmeal even more satisfying?
Oatmeal is a healthy choice to start the day. It already has staying power due to its fiber content. Surprisingly, there is very little difference in the fiber content of a packaged of instant oats and steel cut oats. Packaged instant oats on average have 3 g of fiber while a third of a cup of uncooked steel cut oats has 4 g. That means you can choose instant oats if it is easier, although I would recommend regular instead of the maple and brown sugar flavor. You can easily add real maple syrup or dried fruit like raisins if you still need some sweetness.
So how do you make oatmeal more satisfying? By pumping up the protein! Oats naturally have a few grams of protein in them but they are considered a smart carb food. Oatmeal provides the slow-burning and sustainable energy that you need. Adding a protein boost to your oats keeps you feeling fuller longer and helps, along with the fiber, to slow the rise in blood sugar that all carbohydrates cause.
Ready to learn how to make oatmeal pumped up with protein? I have three easy solutions for you, each one delicious and nutritious.
Instant oatmeal…now with protein!
If you still want the ease of a pre-packaged breakfast for the office, you do have a higher protein option. For even more convenience, I like the pre-packaged oatmeal that comes in its own bowl. Like soup or ramen, you can now find instant oatmeal in a cup in the cereal aisle. I tasted tested three varieties for you: ThinkThin Protein & Probiotics Hot Oatmeal, Wild Friends Oats and Nut Butter and Kodiak Oatmeal Unleashed. My favorite of the three is the Wild Friends Oats and Nut Butter. It had a thicker and creamier consistency with a sublte nutty flavor. Unlike the other two options, it gets its protein power from the nut butter and chia seeds and not added protein powder. It also has a touch of sweetness from organic honey.
It is easy to order any of these products by the case on Amazon and keep in your desk drawer. You can even set it on subscribe and save so you’re never without a healthy breakfast at the office.
Better fast food with protein oatmeal on the go.
My go-to option from the hotel breakfast bar is oatmeal with a some peanut butter added to it. The healthy fat pumps up the staying power and adds a touch of extra protein. If I’m really prepared, I do one better by bringing a pouch of RX Nut Butter. From the makers of my favorite RXBars, these single-serving pouches of nut butter have a protein boost from an egg white (not whey protein powder which is the common ingredient in most protein nut butter.) They are easy to keep in your desk, purse or carry-on.
You can add the RX Nut Butter to the instant oatmeal you already enjoy at the office. You can also grab oatmeal on the go at Starbucks with your morning latte. The classic oatmeal from Starbucks is a great choice when you are on the road. Just tell the barista you don’t need the fruit or sugar and add your protein nut butter instead.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can make your own protein nut butter. You’ll need to store it in the refrigerator but it can add a whole new level of yum to your morning oats. Learn how to make vegan protein nut butter with Vega protein powder in my DIY nut butter blog post.
Can’t I just add protein powder to my oats?
Of course you can! There are two great ways to do this. The first is by making overnight oats. Basic overnight oats are very simple. If you’re going to add protein powder in the morning, I say soak 1/3 cup oats (I prefer rolled oats or steel cuts) in 2/3 cup of your liquid of choice: almond milk, soy milk, water or even tea. Then place it in the refrigerator before you go to bed.
When you’re ready for breakfast the next morning, you can warm up the oatmeal in the microwave for the 30-45 seconds if you prefer warm oats or eat it cold if you like. Add the protein powder of your choice after you microwave and stir well. You can also add other extras like blueberries, half a banana or raw almonds.
If you forget to put your oats in the refrigerator the night before don’t worry. You can still pump up your oats with protein powder in the morning. For this variation, I use rolled oats or quick oats and water from my tea kettle. In a glass bowl mix 1/3 oats with 2/3 cup hot water and ½ tbsp chia seeds. Mix well and let sit for 3-5 minutes. Then add your protein powder plus and a little more water to the mixture to reach your desired consistency. You can also add extras like hemp seeds for extra healthy fats or cacoa nibs for an antioxidant boost. You could even mix in some pumpkin puree and baking spice if you want to get some veggies first thing in the morning.
Now that you know all the tips and tricks on how to make oatmeal even more delicious and satisfying you’ll never need to be reminded to eat your breakfast again. With a little prep, you’ll be able to start the day with a yummy option your body will appreciate all morning long. If you need even more tips on how to make overnight oats and how to try oats in a shake, be sure to sign up for my email list and get your FREE download of the Kitchen Rescue Pak.