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:
1. Cook your oatmeal in high protein milk
If you want to add more protein to your breakfast, 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.
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.
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.
4. Add ground flax, chia seeds, or hemp seeds
All three are a good source of protein. Flax and chia seeds have 1.5 g and 3 g of protein per tbsp, respectively. Hemp seeds are a protein powerhouse and have 5 g per tbsp! 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.
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!
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 chia seeds = 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!
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