Add Greek yogurt, milk, and flavorful mix-ins to make high-protein overnight oats (without protein powder). Because of taste, texture, and sometimes even smell, protein powder is not for everyone. This high-protein overnight oats recipe has 28 g of protein per serving which can help you with your macros or weight loss goals by providing a meal that will keep you full for hours.
Why is oatmeal good for you?
Repeatedly studies show oatmeal has several benefits, including lowering cholesterol (both total and "bad" LDL cholesterol) and helping with weight control.
Looking for a breakfast full of vitamins and minerals? High-protein oatmeal is chock full of energy-producing Vitamin B1. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a one-cup serving of cooked oatmeal has about 1.8 milligrams of vitamin B1, or thiamin. That's close to 15% of what an adult needs each day. High-protein overnight oats also has 1.36 mg of manganese per serving. Manganese is good for immunity, and blood clotting, and can improve the way cholesterol and blood sugar are metabolized. Every 1 cup serving of oatmeal serves up nearly 4 grams of dietary fiber.
Oatmeal has beta-glucan, a soluble fiber. Soluble fiber has special qualities where it dissolves in hot water and then thickens. By thickening it helps you feel full longer and it helps undigested food travel farther down your digestive tract, where it feeds the friendly bacteria living there.
Oats and barley help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Oats vs quick oats
"Steel Cut" oats are processed with a steel cutter, and rolled oats are steamed first, then pressed with a roller. Steel-cut and rolled oats are virtually the same nutritionally. The way the oats are processed is the main difference. Standard oats are those that have been steel-cut. The oats are run through a machine with razor-sharp knife blades. Quick-cooking oats are rolled between cylinders to produce a flatter, lighter flake. Additionally, these processes are repeated several times to produce the desired texture. In both processes, the hull is separated from the grain. For more information on the manufacturing process of oatmeal, click here. The hulls are sifted out and used for other purposes. Notably, instant oats, have a higher glycemic index, meaning they raise your blood sugar faster. Lastly, when oats are ground to flour, the coarser portion is extracted and called oat bran.
How to add protein to oatmeal without protein powder
Now you know why oatmeal is so good for you; the only downside to oatmeal is it isn’t very high in protein on its own. So, to get all of oatmeal's wonderful benefits AND meet your protein goals, check out this quick list of ingredients to increase the protein of overnight oats per serving:
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Fairlife Milk
- Nuts and seeds
- Nut butter
Add cottage cheese to your breakfast rotation. If you are not a cottage cheese fan, don't worry, add it to warm oatmeal and you will not even know it is there. Known for its high calcium content, calcium is just one of several nutrients that make cottage cheese worth adding to your diet. A great source of vitamin B12, which plays an important role in preventing anemia.
Other nutrients in cottage cheese include:
- Vitamin A
A half-cup serving of low-fat cottage cheese contains:
- 93 calories
- 12.5 grams of protein
- 1.4 total grams of fat (0.7 grams saturated fat)
- 5.5 grams of carbohydrates
- 0 grams of fiber
- 4.5 grams of sugar
- 68 mg potassium
I prefer to use plain Greek yogurt. Similar to cottage cheese, add Greek yogurt to warm oatmeal to create a lovely creaminess. Simply Nature Organic Plain Whole Milk Greek Yogurt (0.67 cup) contains 8g total carbs, 8g net carbs, 5g fat, 17g protein, and 150 calories.
1 cup serving = Fairlife 1%: 13 g protein; 6 g sugar; 380 mg calcium
Nut or Seed Butter
If dairy isn't your thing, adding nut and seed butter is a fantastic way to increase the protein in oatmeal. You can mix it right into the oats for added flavor. 2 tablespoons of peanut butter has 8g of protein, 2 tablespoons of almond butter has about 7 g of protein and 2 tablespoons of sun butter (sunflower seed butter) has about 6g of protein.
Almonds are one of the world’s most nutritious and versatile nuts, renowned for their many health benefits and culinary uses. Adding 1 oz of sliced natural almonds can add 6 g of protein to your oatmeal.
High Protein Overnight Oats
Overnight Oats - Base
- ½ cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 tablespoon ground flax optional
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ ea banana sliced
- ¾ c Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup milk of choice for a very thick consistency or up to ⅔ cup milk for a thinner consistency
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup or honey optional
- Combine oats, yogurt, and milk in a mason jar or a container of your choice. Mix well.
- Place the lid on the container and refrigerate overnight, or up to 5 days. When you are ready to serve, add a drizzle of maple syrup or honey if you’d like, and enjoy chilled or warm.
- Once ready to serve, top with honey, flax, and sliced banana.