5 Ways to Add Protein to Your Oatmeal

Protein. How often have you heard nutrition professionals talking about getting enough protein? It’s really not much of a concern for most people, especially at lunch and dinner. The meal where it’s harder to get enough is breakfast because a lot of your typical breakfasts don’t contain that much protein.

So today I want to talk a bit about how to amp up the protein in one of my favourite breakfasts: oatmeal. Oatmeal is not typically seen as a high protein food, but with my tips you can make a bowl that contains just as much protein as a food guide serving of chicken! Here’s how:

Ditch the protein powder and boost the protein in your oatmeal with these 5 easy tips to add protein to your oatmeal!

1. Cook your oatmeal in high protein milk

If you want to add protein to your oatmeal, skim milk or soy milk (if you avoid dairy) are your best bets. Skim cow’s milk has 8-9 g and soy milk has 6-7 g of protein per cup, whereas other non-dairy milks like almond, hemp, rice, coconut, flax, and quinoa milk only have 0-2 g per cup.

However some dairy alternative companies have started selling protein-fortified versions of their products, such as flax milk and almond milk, each with 5 g of protein per cup.

Ditch the protein powder and boost the protein in your oatmeal with these 5 easy tips!

2. Add egg whites

I was skeptical when I first heard that people put egg whites in their oatmeal, but after trying it I was pleasantly surprised. It adds a nice French toasty flavour to your oatmeal as well as 3.5 g of protein for just 2 tbsp. I usually add 2-3 tbsp so that it’s not too overpowering, like in my recipe for my favourite banana oatmeal. Just stir in the egg whites during the last 1-2 minutes of cooking, which is enough time to cook the egg whites without making them overcooked.

Ditch the protein powder and boost the protein in your oatmeal with these 5 easy tips!

3. Stir in cottage cheese when it is done cooking

Cottage cheese is an awesome source of protein with about 8 g per 1/4 cup! Like egg whites, it can blend right into your oatmeal without being too noticeable. It just adds a bit of a creamy texture to it.

Ditch the protein powder and boost the protein in your oatmeal with these 5 easy tips!

4. Add ground flax, chia seeds, or hemp seeds

All three are a good source of protein. Flax and chia seeds have about 1.5 g of protein per tablespoon. Hemp seeds have double that! These seeds can be added in during cooking or sprinkled on top afterwards. But keep in mind that flax and chia seeds will absorb water to give your oatmeal a more gelatinous texture, so you need to add more water than usual. Also, be sure to use ground flax rather than whole flax seeds, since the nutrients are better absorbed when it’s ground.

Ditch the protein powder and boost the protein in your oatmeal with these 5 easy tips!

5. Add a scoop of nut or seed butter on top

1 tablespoon of your average nut/seed butter will give you about 3 g of protein. It’s also insanely delicious! Most people love peanut butter on their oatmeal, but I’m allergic so I use almond butter. If you’re allergic to all nuts, there are plenty of nut butter alternatives you can try!

Ditch the protein powder and boost the protein in your oatmeal with these 5 easy tips!

You may have noticed I didn’t include protein powder on this list. It’s always an option, but as I’ve shown here, it’s entirely possible to make a high protein bowl of oatmeal with just whole foods. Take a look at this example:

1/2 cup dry oats = 6 g protein
1/2 a cup skim milk = 4 g protein
4 tbsp egg whites = 7 g protein
1 tbsp hemp hearts = 3 g protein
1 tablespoon of almond butter = 3 g protein

Total protein = 23 g

Not too shabby, right? That’s about the same amount of protein as a food guide serving of chicken. And I don’t know about you guys, but I’d much rather have oatmeal than chicken for breakfast!

Ditch the protein powder and boost the protein in your oatmeal with these 5 easy tips!

How do you add protein to your oatmeal?

Looking for more ways to add protein to breakfast? Check out this post! –> 7 Ways to Get More Protein at Breakfast

Read this post to learn ways to get more protein at breakfast!


Filed under food and cooking, nutrition

72 Responses to 5 Ways to Add Protein to Your Oatmeal

  1. i haven’t gotten down with the whole egg + oatmeal thing, but i love cooking oatmeal in milk, adding in nuts or seeds, and of course nut butters!

  2. This is a great post, and you’ve definitely given me some great ideas! I definitely want to try adding cottage cheese to mine next time. I typically add in protein powder, PB or chia seeds to make my oatmeal more satisfying.

  3. To add protein to my oatmeal I usually add 2 tbsps of hemp seeds and then one (big) scoop of plain greek yogurt. I much prefer adding greek yogurt at the end then using milk because it makes my oatmeal so filling and creamy.

  4. WOW! Great ideas! I have only tried two of those, but must try the other three! As I run over 70 miles a week, I have to eat a lot of oatmeal, but often do not get the protein to go with it in the mornings and have to make it up later in the day, now I can balance it out a bit more! Thanks for the post :)

  5. I usually top my oatmeal with an egg – it sounds so weird, but when I add nut butter and jam it makes for an awesome sweet/savoury combo!

    • Chelsea

      I’ve heard a lot about the egg/jam combo – I know some people like to do it on sandwiches. I still haven’t tried it though!

  6. I love all of your suggestions! I usually only add a nut butter, but that’s not enough protein for me because it doesn’t last too long! I am going to try out your suggestions tomorrow! :)

  7. I always see the whole add eggs or egg whites but I have never personally tried it, I kind of want to though

  8. Most of the ways you mentioned haha. I always cook it with water, skim milk, egg whites, and ground flax and then top it with nut butter. Sometimes I’ll mix in Greek yogurt when it’s done, too, to make it extra creamy! Breakfast of choice every week day morning right now :)

  9. Great post!!! I am always looking for ways to add more protein to my breakfast. I’ve totally resisted the egg and oatmeal combo thus far, but I think I may have to try it!

  10. I love these tips! I always always always add nut/seed butter on top, but I should try adding cottage cheese or Greek yogurt at the end for an extra oomph!

  11. Such a smart post idea! I love add egg whites for the fluff factor and chia seeds because I love anything that’s jam packed with nutrients and is mini lol.

    I haven’t had oats in too long…so long I can’t actually remember the last time. What is wrong with me?

  12. Can you believe I’ve never done the whole ‘egg white’ oats thing!? I seriously need to try it! It sounds so yummy! And I always like a good boost of protein!

  13. I have a bowl of egg white oats every morning with PB2 and no sugar added jam mixed in. I add a whopping 1/2 cup of liquid egg whites. It’s so good, I crave it the minute I get up in the morning.

  14. Great post! I’ll be trying the nut butter + hemp combo for sure :)

  15. Ohh I add egg whites all the time or sometimes protein powder….I always forget other foods contain protein too- thanks for this!

  16. I wish I were creative back when I could eat oatmeal!!!!! I would have went to TOWN ! Now I cannot eat it, but I have SO MANY brilliant ideas! Pumpkin, Roasted Butternut, Cinnamon, Egg Oats with a little bit of stevia sweetened Maple “Syrup”! UM, yes please!

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  18. my favorite is definitely chia and lots of nut butter! I haven’t had oatmeal in a month or so and this is making me want some right now!!

  19. I have been looking forward to reading this post! I am loving oatmeal lately! Did you know January was national oatmeal month?!? Awesome post girl!

  20. Love this! I usually add a tablespoon of either ground flaxseed or chia seeds and then a big honking scoop of almond butter!!

  21. I love this so much because so many people think I am weird for adding things to my oats to give them a nutrition punch. I am just getting back into oats and am loving experimenting right now.

  22. It was nice to see high protein alternatives from REAL food. No protein powder or unpronounceable concoctions! Definitely pinning this article as it features so many great pre or post workout oatmeal concoctions! :)

  23. This is a great post! Typically, I add a few spoonfuls of cottage cheese or greek yogurt to my oatmeal once it’s cooked… And peanut butter, of course ;)

  24. Great post, girlie! You’re right, it’s so easy to add extra protein to a bowl of oats! I still can’t believe I went all those years (pre-blogging days) where I thought it only either A. came in packets or B. looked/tasted like slop/glue from the school cafeteria! Ha!

    I’ve done all of these, but I think my favorite (at least at the moment) is adding a whole egg to stovetop oats. You really need to try it! If you think the whites give it a French toast-y flavor, you’re in for a nice treat! :)

    • Chelsea

      Haha I know right? I never really liked oatmeal until I started reading blogs and seeing how amazing it can be.

      Ahh I’m still skeptical about adding a whole egg. I’ll try it soon though, I swear!

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  26. JoKoy

    A scoop of protein powder also enhances a bowl of oatmeal considerably. Its best to add it in slowly and stir it as that mixes the protein powder and the oatmeal very well.

  27. do you have a preference of what oats you use? are some higher in protein than others? stupid question i know but i dont eat alot of it and im trying to expand my options

    • Chelsea

      I use either large flake rolled oats or quick oats, depending on how much time I have (rolled oats take longer to cook and I usually make them on the stove, but quick oats can be made quickly in the microwave).

      As far as I know, all types of oats have similar protein content since they’re all made from the same grain, just with different processing methods. I hope that helps! :)

  28. JW

    Add 3 oz. of plain Fage Greek yogurt plus one packet (or 1/2 packet) of Truvia! It’s better to add after the oatmeal has cooled down some as to protect the probiotics.

    This will add 9 grams of protein plus Fage is one of the best yogurts available in most popular supermarkets.

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  30. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me you recommended five ways of getting more protein into your breakfast bowl and not one of them was a powder. This was so refreshing. Thank you.

  31. Can’t believe I’ve never considered putting nut butter in my oatmeal. I just added some almond butter to my muesli (that I simmered with chopped banana and strawberries) and that added quite a bit of flavor in addition to the protein! I may never make oatmeal without adding nut butter again.

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  34. CC

    Amazing post. Thanks Chelsea….just found a new best friend: Oatmeal!


    What about the banana I see in one of the pics. How much protein do that add to oatmeal? Or even raisins, which is a daily must for me?

    • Chelsea

      Neither bananas nor raisins contain much protein – 1 medium banana has 1 gram and 1/4 cup serving of raisins has about 1 gram too.

      • BEN TEN TEN

        But how about the carbs in both bananas and raisins that is needed to balance out a diet of protein for someone who works out? Shouldn’t that be a must?

  36. yenni

    today i’ve got hemp, chia, egg, almond butter and it is great! little kick of protein from bulgur wheat, a big one from quinoa as replacements for oats – takes a while to make but the energy i have is huge (still getting used to is). nice to see people searching for their ideal breakfasts :) yolks are good!

  37. i love this and can’t wait to try the nut butter in it!!

  38. Shubham

    Shall I add raw hemp seeds to my oatmeal?

  39. Andy

    Nice! I like to add some Greek yogurt to my oatmeal, or sometimes a handful of nuts. I haven’t tried adding eggs to oatmeal though. I have never in a million years thought that was possible. Do you think it’s okay to add a whole egg in? I love eggs and I love oatmeal separately, but I don’t know if putting both together will still be as lovable. :)

  40. Lauren

    Can you add the egg whites when cooking oatmeal in the microwave? How long do you think they would need? I’ve never cooked oatmeal on the stove top.

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