Oatmeal and protein powder can be mixed together to create a nutritious breakfast or snack. There are several potential benefits to combining oats and protein powder:
– Increased protein intake – Adding protein powder boosts the protein content of oatmeal. This can help support muscle growth and repair.
– More nutrients – Oatmeal provides carbs, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Protein powder adds protein, amino acids and sometimes extra vitamins/minerals.
– Improved texture – Protein powders can give oatmeal a creamier, thicker texture.
– Enhanced flavor – Flavored protein powders like chocolate or vanilla can make oatmeal taste better.
– Weight management – The protein and fiber can help you feel fuller for longer, supporting weight loss.
– Pre/post workout – It provides carbs to fuel your workout and protein to help build/repair muscle.
The optimal oatmeal to protein powder ratio is approximately 1/2 cup oats to 1 scoop (25-30g) protein powder. Mixing instructions vary based on the type of oats and protein powder used. Most experts recommend eating oatmeal with protein powder immediately after preparing it.
Oatmeal is a whole grain food made from oat groats that have been steamed and flattened. It is an excellent source of important nutrients (1):
– Carbohydrates: Oatmeal is high in complex carbohydrates with almost no sugar. One cup of oats contains about 30 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams being fiber (2).
– Protein: Cooked oatmeal provides about 6 grams of protein per one cup serving (2).
– Fat: Oatmeal contains about 5 grams of fat per one cup serving, mostly unsaturated fatty acids (2).
– Thiamin: Provides 14% of the RDI for thiamin, a B vitamin that supports energy production and nerve function (2).
– Iron: Supplies 14% of the iron RDI. Iron carries oxygen throughout the body and helps prevent anemia (2).
– Zinc: Oats contain 12% of the daily zinc requirement. Zinc aids immune function and cell growth (2).
– Manganese: Provides 32% of the RDI for manganese which assists bone formation and metabolism (2).
– Phosphorus: Oatmeal is high in phosphorus which supports bone health. It provides 15% of the RDI per serving (2).
– Magnesium: One cup supplies 11% of the RDI for magnesium, which promotes nerve and muscle function (2).
– Selenium: Oats are a good source of antioxidant selenium. One cup has 13% of the selenium RDI (2).
In addition to these vitamins and minerals, oatmeal is rich in polyphenol antioxidants like avenanthramides which have anti-inflammatory effects in the body (3). It also contains small amounts of B vitamins, copper, vitamin K and folate.
A major benefit of oatmeal is its high fiber content. One cup of oats, cooked in water, provides 4 grams of fiber. This accounts for 14% of the daily fiber requirement (2).
The fiber in oatmeal is mostly soluble fiber, known as beta-glucan fiber. Soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol, control blood sugars and promote a healthy digestive tract (4).
Protein Powder Nutrition
Protein powder is a powdered supplement made by extracting protein from whole food sources. There are several common types of protein powder:
Whey protein comes from milk. It contains essential amino acids needed to stimulate muscle protein synthesis (5).
Nutrition facts for one 25 gram scoop of whey protein (6):
– Calories: 100
– Protein: 20-25 grams
– Carbs: 1-3 grams
– Fat: 1-2 grams
Whey is quickly digested, making it ideal for before or after workouts. It is one of the highest quality protein supplements available.
Casein protein also comes from milk. It digests slower than whey, so provides sustained release of amino acids.
Nutrition per 25 gram serving of casein protein (7):
– Calories: 100
– Protein: 20-25 grams
– Carbs: 1 gram or less
– Fat: 1 gram or less
Casein is more filling and taken anywhere, not just workouts. It’s the other main dairy protein along with whey.
Vegan protein powders are extracted from plants like peas, rice, hemp, soy and more.
Nutrition facts per 25 gram serving (8):
– Calories: 100
– Protein: 15-22 grams
– Carbs: 2-5 grams
– Fat: 3-5 grams
They contain less protein per serving than whey/casein but are still a quality option for vegetarians/vegans.
Many protein products contain blends of different proteins. For example, a whey and casein blend provides both fast and slow digesting protein.
Plant and dairy proteins are also commonly combined to improve the amino acid profile.
In addition to quality protein, some powders contain added nutrients like:
– BCAAs: Branched chain amino acids like leucine support muscle growth.
– Glutamine: This amino acid enhances muscle recovery after workouts.
– Probiotics & enzymes: May improve digestive health.
– Vitamins & minerals: Help fill nutrition gaps.
So protein powder provides protein and can also increase intake of beneficial vitamins, minerals, amino acids and more.
Benefits of Mixing Oatmeal and Protein Powder
Here are some of the main benefits you can get from combining oatmeal and protein powder:
Increased Protein Intake
Oatmeal on its own contains about 6 grams of protein per one cup serving.
Adding a scoop of protein powder, providing around 25 grams of protein, significantly bumps up the protein content (9).
This results in a high protein breakfast or snack, helping to meet protein needs.
Getting enough protein promotes muscle growth after exercise, satisfies appetite and assists weight management (10, 11).
Oatmeal delivers carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Protein powder provides protein, amino acids and some extra micronutrients depending on the type.
Together, they offer balanced nutrition with carbs, protein, healthy fats, fiber and a broad range of vitamins and minerals.
This combination provides sustained energy and helps you meet daily intake recommendations for important nutrients.
Protein powder can transform the texture of oatmeal. It makes the oats creamier, thicker and smoother.
Adding a scoop of whey or casein protein produces an almost pudding-like consistency. Plant proteins also thicken up the oats.
This improves the mouthfeel of oatmeal significantly. It makes it feel more indulgent and satisfying.
Plain oats have a fairly bland flavor. Mixing in flavored protein powders like chocolate, vanilla or cookies & cream can make oatmeal taste much tastier.
The flavor masks the natural grain taste of oats. This is helpful if you don’t enjoy the boring taste of plain oatmeal on its own.
Research shows that eating high protein foods helps increase feelings of fullness and reduces hunger (12).
By adding protein powder to make oatmeal higher in protein, it is more satisfying and helps control appetite.
The soluble fiber in oats also promotes fullness. Therefore, oatmeal and protein powder can ward off hunger and cravings.
This combination may support weight management by helping you eat less at other meals.
Pre or Post Workout
Oatmeal with protein powder can be an excellent breakfast before a workout or recovery meal afterwards.
The carbs in oats provide fuel for your muscles during exercise. And the protein supports muscle building and recovery after your workout (13).
Whey protein is ideal for using before or after training since it digests quickly. Casein and plant proteins work better at other times.
While mixing oatmeal and protein powder has many benefits, there are a few potential drawbacks:
High Calorie Count
Adding protein powder significantly increases the calorie content of oatmeal.
A typical 1/2 cup dry oats prepared with water contains around 150 calories. Adding a 25 gram scoop of protein powder tacks on another 100 calories.
So the final calorie count is 250-300 calories or more, depending on ingredients. For some, this high-calorie oatmeal may not fit into their diet plan or weight loss goals.
Too Much Protein
Consuming very high protein intakes over long periods may lead to issues like dehydration, calcium loss and kidney strain.
However, eating a high protein oatmeal meal here and there is safe for healthy people. Just avoid exceeding 35% of total daily calories from protein.
Since protein can be difficult to digest, some people experience gas, bloating or diarrhea when eating oatmeal with lots of protein powder.
This can especially be an issue with whey protein and people sensitive to dairy. Plant proteins are easier to digest.
While protein powder can produce a pleasant, creamy texture, using too much can make oatmeal thick and goopy.
Adding heaping scoops of protein and not enough liquid or oats leads to poor texture and mouthfeel.
Although flavored protein powders help the taste of oatmeal, lower quality or bad tasting protein products could make your oatmeal unpalatable.
Some plant proteins have gritty, chalky textures and earthy flavors that clash with oats.
How to Mix Oatmeal and Protein Powder
Here is a simple method for combining oats and protein powder:
– 1/2 cup dry oats
– 1 scoop (25-30 grams) protein powder
– 3/4 – 1 cup water or milk
1. Add the dry oats and protein powder to a microwave-safe bowl.
2. Add the liquid and stir to combine. Use less liquid for thicker oats.
3. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, until desired consistency is reached.
4. Stir again and allow to sit for 2 minutes before eating.
5. Add mix-ins like fruit, nuts, maple syrup, etc to taste.
6. Eat immediately before it thickens too much.
The cooking time will vary based on the type of oats used. Steel cut or rolled oats take longer than quick oats or instant oatmeal packets.
For stovetop, bring the oats, protein and liquid to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
You can use water, dairy milk or milk alternatives like almond milk. Dairy provides extra protein.
Flavored protein powders like chocolate or vanilla go especially well with sweeter add-ins. Plain protein works best with fruit flavors.
Best Protein Powder for Oatmeal
Certain protein powders work better than others for mixing into oatmeal:
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey concentrate blends easily and adds creaminess. Avoid whey isolates as they can thicken too much.
Unflavored or Vanilla Protein
Unflavored/vanilla proteins mix without overpowering oats. You control sweetness/flavors.
Look for proteins that digest in 1-3 hours, not instant or extended release proteins.
Higher in Carbs
Powders with some carbs improve texture and mix into oats easier than super low carb proteins.
Moderate Protein Content
Aim for powders with 20-25 grams protein per serving, not 30+ grams. Too much protein alters the texture.
Smooth, Fine Texture
Avoid gritty protein powders. Look for a smooth consistency and mixability.
|Whey Protein Concentrate||Smooth texture, blends easily into oats|
|Casein Protein||Gives a pudding-like consistency|
|Pea Protein||Vegetarian option; avoid gritty textures|
|Egg White Protein||Adds creaminess; may be oxidized if heated|
These protein powders mix the best into oatmeal while providing a tasty, smooth texture.
Oatmeal and Protein Recipes
Here are some delicious oatmeal recipes using protein powder:
Apple Pie Oats
– 1/2 cup rolled oats
– 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
– 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
– 1/2 apple, diced
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tbsp chopped walnuts
– Pinch of salt
1. Mix oats, protein powder, milk, apple, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
2. Microwave for 2 minutes.
3. Top with walnuts before eating.
Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal
– 1/2 cup rolled oats
– 1 scoop vanilla protein
– 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
– 1/4 cup water
– 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
– 1 tbsp chopped pecans
– Drizzle of maple syrup
1. Combine oats, protein, pumpkin, water, spice and pecans.
2. Microwave for 2-3 minutes.
3. Top with syrup and extra spice.
Protein Oatmeal Smoothie
– 1 small banana
– 1/2 cup quick oats
– 1 cup almond milk
– 1 scoop unflavored protein
– 1 tbsp cocoa powder
– 1 tbsp peanut butter
1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
2. Pour into a bowl and top with extra peanut butter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does protein powder become toxic when heated?
No, preparing protein powder with heat, as in oatmeal, does not make it toxic. As long as the oats are not overcooked for an extremely long time, the proteins maintain their nutritional quality.
Can I use plant-based protein in oatmeal?
Absolutely. Soy, pea, rice and hemp proteins all work well in oatmeal. Focus on textures that mix smoothly. Some gritty plant proteins result in poor consistency.
Which is better, flavored or unflavored protein?
It depends on your taste preferences. Unflavored lets you control sweetness and flavors. But flavored protein like chocolate or vanilla blends well with the natural taste of oats.
Do I need to eat oatmeal with protein powder right away?
Yes, it’s best to consume oatmeal with protein immediately after cooking for optimal taste and texture. The protein causes it to thicken and get gloppy if left to sit after being prepared.
Can I use protein bars or shakes instead of powder?
Protein bars don’t dissolve well into hot oatmeal. Protein shakes are already mixed into liquid so don’t work as well. Powders blend directly into oats for best consistency.
Combining oatmeal and protein powder results in a delicious, nutritious breakfast or snack. The protein significantly increases the protein content, while the oats provide carbs, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Benefits of mixing oats with protein include improved protein intake, more balanced nutrition, enhanced texture and flavor, increased fullness and better pre/post workout recovery.
Opt for whey, casein or quality plant proteins that blend smoothly into oats. Add ingredients like fruit, nuts and spices to create different flavor combos.
Oatmeal protein bowls make an ideal high protein breakfast. The fiber and protein promote fullness to reduce cravings and support your health goals.