While oatmeal may bring you memories of mornings before high school or all-nighters in college when those small packet of quick oats and water were enough to keep you satisfied, those days are most likely over. Today, you’re probably looking for a breakfast (or late-night snack) that will both satisfy your hunger and keep you energized through tough workouts or long work days. Revamping your traditional oatmeal into a meal that’s high in protein is an easy and nutritious way to keep you fueled.
Throw away any of those old oatmeal packets and buy a large container of rolled oats instead — this will ensure that you can build your oats from the ground up using only the best ingredients for your body. Once you’ve got your basics, you’ll want to take a look at these seven ways that you can sneak protein into your oatmeal to ensure that your breakfast has as much muscle-building power as possible.
1. Skip the water — cook your oatmeal with milk
Though you may have traditionally made your oatmeal with water, try using skim or whole milk for an added protein boost. According to Healthy Eating, one cup of whole milk provides you with 7.7 grams of protein. The recommended daily amount of protein for men is around 56 grams, and you should aim to get 10% to 35% of your total calories from protein as well. With this in mind, cooking your oatmeal with whole milk can offer you about 14% of your daily amount of protein.
Whole milk aside, skim milk and milks lower in fat actually contain even more protein than its full-fat counterpart—one cup of 2% milk contains 8 grams of protein, and 1% milk contains 8.2 grams of protein. If you’re aiming to keep your oatmeal on the vegan side, go for soy milk instead of milks that are derived from almonds, coconuts, or rice. You’ll find about 7 grams of protein in one cup of soy milk, which is comparable to the amount found in dairy milk, so don’t sweat it too much if you’re not a dairy consumer.
2. Stir in nut and seed butters
One of the easiest and tastiest ways to improve the protein content of your oatmeal is to add in peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter to any of your traditional recipes. While folding in two tablespoons of traditional peanut butter can also add a whopping 8 grams of protein to your oatmeal, there are plenty of other nut butters that add just as much protein and even more health benefits along with slightly different flavor profiles — you’ll never have to worry about another boring bowl of oatmeal again.
Greatist describes the benefits of butters such as cashew, almond, and hazelnut, but the list doesn’t just end here — for an added protein boost, consider soy butter, pecan butter, pistachio butter, and even seed butters like pumpkin or sunflower. While cashew butter and hazelnut butter does not have as much protein as other butters (about 4 grams per serving), adding in some skim milk to your oatmeal can add quite a big protein boost. Almond butter, however, holds 7 grams of protein per serving.