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JAN 22, 2024

Meal Prep: Overnight Oats Protein Recipe for Busy Mornings


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Read time: 7 minutes

Most of us suffer from the same problem: either struggling to squeeze in a healthy breakfast or looking for ways to pack more protein into our morning routine. And yet, it feels like you simply don’t have the time. Well back away from the donuts and sugary cereal, we've got the ideal solution with our recipe for Overnight Oats Protein. A tasty, nutritious, and oh-so-convenient fix for those hustle-bustle mornings. So, let’s redefine 'meal prep' with a dish that fuels your day with power-packed nutrients, while also saving precious minutes every morning.

Incorporating protein into your overnight oats is easy and delicious. And there are various options like vanilla protein powder, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or nuts/nut butter as alternative protein sources.

Preparing Overnight Oats

We can all agree that overnight oats are one of the easiest breakfast options to prepare, and since you can customize them with an array of ingredients, they quickly become a staple meal. The best part, however, is that you can make them in advance for busy mornings, freeing up some time to attend to other tasks.

  • Whether running late or if you prefer an easy, no-fuss breakfast, overnight oats are an excellent solution.

  • The first step in preparing overnight oats is selecting your ingredients carefully. Typically, the basic ingredients include old-fashioned oats and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. But don't be afraid to experiment and explore alternatives like coconut or soy milk.

  • Next, select your protein powder of choice. Vanilla-flavored protein powder will work best as it complements the flavor profile of the oats.

  • When making overnight oats, most recipes call for chia seeds, which provide additional fiber and maintain satiety after breakfast. Add half a tablespoon or more, depending on your preference.

  • Finally, sprinkle cinnamon on top of the mixture before soaking it all night in the refrigerator.

Easy Overnight Oats Recipe

Here’s the protein-rich recipe you’ve been waiting for! It’s packed with all the goodies that do well to fuel your body throughout a long day without weighing you down.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats

  • ¾ - 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

  • ½ ripe banana (mashed)

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Optional:

  • 1 teaspoon peanut butter

  • Berries or sliced almonds for toppings

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients (except toppings) in a jar or bowl until everything is well mixed.

  2. Cover the jar/bowl tightly with a lid or saran wrap.

  3. Allow the mixture to sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

  4. Once ready to serve, remove from the fridge and add fresh toppings of your choice.

If you're rushing out the door, grab your jar, and off you go! If not, feel free to heat up your oats before serving them warm.

Different Protein Sources for Overnight Oats

Adding enough protein to keep hunger at bay in overnight oats is vital. Whether you're lactose intolerant or prefer plant-based protein sources, there are an array of options to meet all dietary considerations.

  • Dairy and Plant-Based Options: The most popular dairy-based sources include soy milk or Greek yogurt vanilla flavor, which has a creamy texture and offers over 20g of protein per cup serving. However, individuals who prefer plant-based alternatives will be delighted with the variety: unsweetened vanilla almond milk provides up to 2-3g of protein in each 8oz serving.

  • Other nut-based milk, such as macadamia and cashew milk, can offer various vitamins and minerals in addition to their low-calorie content- perfect if you're looking to lose some weight.

  • Lastly, egg whites are an excellent protein source when added to cooked oats, creating a creamy, custardy texture. In addition to their protein content, they offer nutrients such as potassium and calcium. Liquid egg whites can be used instead of milk or water in overnight oats recipes, which can take your meal preps to another level.

Dairy and Plant-Based Options

Depending on various dietary needs, there's a wide range of dairy and plant-based options for overnight oats. For traditional overnight oats, cow's milk or Greek yogurt can be used as a base; these are excellent protein sources but come with higher amounts of saturated fats and lactose, which may only work for some. On the other hand, plant-based milk substitutes like almond and soy milk, among others, provide similar protein levels for fewer calories and lower fat content.

Did you know, almond milk has just 60-80 calories per cup compared to about 150-160 in cow's milk? It also contains no cholesterol and is low in carbohydrates, making it an excellent option for those watching their caloric intake.

For those on a vegan/plant-based diet or with lactose intolerance, alternatives like coconut yogurt or soy yogurt can also be mixed with oatmeal to yield robust results.

 

 

Dairy Products

Plant-Based Alternatives

Source:

Cow Milk

Almond Milk

Protein:

About 8 grams

About 1 gram

Sat Fat:

About 5 grams

Less than 1 gram

Chol

About 24 mg

0

Source:

Greek Yogurt

Coconut Yogurt

Protein:

About 18 grams

0

Sat Fat:

About 2 grams

7 grams

Chol

About 10 mg

0

 

While protein powder effectively boosts protein content in your overnight oats recipe, it may not be ideal for everyone. So, with that in mind, let's explore some alternatives to protein powder.

Alternatives to Protein Powder

If you don't have protein powder and still want to fortify your overnight oats recipe with more protein, many readily available options can serve as suitable alternatives. For instance, when making an overnight oats peanut butter banana recipe, mashed bananas or chia seeds can act as great sources of protein and fiber.

  • A quarter cup of chia seeds packs up to 6 grams of protein - perfect for those avoiding processed powders.

  • Another option is Greek yogurt, which contains about 18-20 grams of protein per cup and works well in recipes calling for milk; it also adds a creamy texture and tangy flavor.

  • Alternative milk from nuts, organic grass-fed milk, and pastured eggs can also help achieve the required protein levels.

Enhancing Flavor with Toppings

As you can see, overnight oats are incredibly versatile and easy to customize. Adding toppings, you can take plain overnight oats to the next level by enhancing the flavor profile and adding a nutritional boost. Not only do various toppings add crunch or creaminess to your oatmeal, but they also reduce the monotony and make each day's breakfast feel different.

Healthy and Delicious Toppings Options

Choosing the right toppings ensures you don't add unnecessary calories and sugar that could hinder your weight loss or health goals. Here are some healthy and delicious toppings that elevate your protein overnight oats.

Fresh Fruits

Fresh fruits provide natural sweetness, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a fun texture when added to protein overnight oats. Berries like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are low in calories and antioxidants. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium. Pineapple adds a tropical flair.

Nuts and Seeds

Adding nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans, or seeds like chia seeds or flaxseeds to your overnight oats provides healthy fats, protein, and fiber while creating a crunchy texture.

Spices

Spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger can be used to enhance the flavors of your overnight oats without adding additional calories. Cinnamon is particularly helpful in managing blood sugar levels.

Sweeteners

Choose natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup instead of refined sugar, which could increase blood sugar levels and add extra calories.

Nut Butters

Nut butter is an excellent protein and healthy fat source in moderation. Almond butter adds creaminess, while peanut butter is ideal for those who prefer a nutty taste.

As a great example of how to combine these ingredients, adding sliced bananas plus almond slices on top of vanilla protein overnight oats is a simple but delicious topping option packed with flavor and nutritional value.

Advantage of Overnight Oats for Busy Mornings

Put simply, the choice of food we eat plays a significant role in our digestion process and daily energy levels. So, eating an appropriate breakfast is crucial. And if you're a big fan of oatmeal, protein overnight oats can be a perfect way to start your day. The oats' soluble fiber is known to help digestion by absorbing water, bulking up stools, and promoting smooth movement through the digestive tract. This process ensures that everything moves efficiently through the body, reducing the likelihood of constipation or other related digestive disturbances.

Furthermore, adding protein (from either powders or alternative sources like nuts) can supplement the protein gallery required by the body while repairing tissues, building muscle, making enzymes/hormones, and better balancing mental health.

And there's also the fact that consuming enough protein is essential for satiety, keeping hunger pangs at bay throughout the day. Combining complex carbohydrates from oats and proteins ensures you remain full for longer, resulting in fewer cravings and less snacking between meals.

Another reason our choice of breakfast is critical is because it supplies us with energy to start our day on a high note. Overnight oats are packed with complex carbohydrates that offer slow-burning fuel during your morning activities. Having sufficient energy helps prevent lightheadedness, weakness, or even fainting spells; it also keeps us alert and focused throughout the day.

Protein overnight oats added with nutritious toppings (such as fresh fruits or nuts) are one of the best-balanced breakfasts available - low cost but powerful enough to push through your busy morning routine.

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Written by Matthew Stogdon

Matt has been writing for two decades, across print and digital media. He is also an accomplished filmmaker, with several accolades under his belt.

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