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Fact checked by Andrew Lenau, ISSA CPT & Sports NutritionistFACT CHECKED
June 02, 2023
Over the last few years, one of the most popular breakfast items (thanks, Instagram!) for many gym goers is high protein overnight oats. And, this breakfast concoction tends to become even more fashionable during the summer as it's served refreshingly cold, which is basically a lifter's equivalent to having iced coffee on a hot day.
Many people know the health benefits of eating oatmeal, a healthy whole-grain meal loaded with fiber to help keep you feeling full for hours. The only downside for lifters and athletes alike is the small protein content of regular oatmeal.
Enter: High protein overnight oats, a perfectly balanced breakfast meal that enables you to benefit from oats while hitting your protein goals. Using a handful of ingredients and these recipes, your breakfast is about to get a whole lot tastier!
Table of Contents:
High-protein overnight oats are a popular breakfast meal that is made by combining old-fashioned oatmeal and protein powder, plus a few other ingredients, and letting them sit overnight.
Traditional oatmeal and even high protein oatmeal are made using hot water and served hot, whereas high protein overnight oats are often served cold. And because you put in the work ahead of time with overnight oats, you've got a breakfast dish that requires little prep and is ready to be enjoyed in the morning.
In addition, if you prefer warm breakfast meals, overnight oats can also be served warm. Simply microwave the container for 30-60 seconds.
While traditional oatmeal is a great source of whole-grain carbohydrates and fiber that keeps you feeling full longer, it is not a great source of protein. That leads us to high-protein overnight oats, a mixture of old-fashioned oats and protein, mixed with additional toppings to create a delicious, refreshingly cool breakfast.
High-protein overnight oats get the majority of their protein from protein powder or a protein alternative such as Greek yogurt. The oats have a small protein content, while the milk and chia seeds also add valuable protein and fats. Toss in some nuts, seeds, or berries and you have a complete meal that will energize you for hours while helping build muscle.
As always, we like to feature our favorite recipe immediately. We picked a recipe that is a relatively basic and versatile recipe for high-protein overnight oats, so you can personalize it with your favorite ingredients. Don't forget to include one of these protein powders, as a flavorful high-quality protein powder will significantly improve your oats' flavor.
This recipe only requires six ingredients and ten minutes of prep.
This is the most basic recipe so we encourage you to add plenty of items for additional flavor and extra protein. Include your favorite protein flavor powder, some additional high protein nuts and seeds, Greek yogurt, or fruit. The possibilities are endless!
This recipe serves one and contains roughly 338 calories, 33 g of carbohydrates, 28 g of protein, 9 g of fat, and 8 grams of fiber.
If you are looking to add more protein, but either don’t have protein powder or prefer not to use it, there are other ways to add protein to your recipe. Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are two common high protein low fat foods that are used in substitution or in addition to protein powder.
Another great topping is nuts or nut butter, which adds more protein and healthy fats, as well as improves the thickness of your oats.
Almonds, walnuts, pecans, and peanuts all add great flavor and a nice boost in protein, as well as a serving of healthy fats. We also recommend adding any type of fruit including dried, fresh, or frozen.
The reason overnight oats are so high in protein is that nearly all of the ingredients add protein content. Oatmeal in itself has a moderate protein content, containing roughly five grams of protein, 24 grams of carbs, and only 150 calories per half-cup serving.
Chia seeds are an important ingredient because they add protein, fiber, and healthy fats, as well as help absorb liquid to make the mixture thicker. One full tablespoon of chia seeds has roughly 69 calories, 2.3 g of protein, and 4.9 g of fiber.
Milk is another ingredient that adds to protein content, with a half cup containing roughly 8 grams. While these three ingredients help form the base nutritional content for the overnight oats, the main source of protein will come from protein powder or another alternative protein source.
Most protein powders contain 20 to 30 grams of protein per scoop, so this will elevate your overnight oats to a muscle-building breakfast.
Adding the right toppings will increase the protein content even further. One of the most commonly added ingredients to increase protein content is Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
We recommend using a quarter of a cup of either to the above recipe. Healthy toppings, such as granola, nuts, or seeds can help increase protein as well. Peanut butter is a great addition to any recipe, as it adds healthy fats and protein, as well as delicious flavor.
Ready to stock up on high protein overnight oats ingredients? Here's what to get!
Whether you want to add even more protein or you're looking for a way to add protein without including protein powder, these suggestions pack a powerful protein punch.
Hoping to make the most delicious bowl of overnight oats? Make sure you follow these tips!
Looking for more delicious overnight high protein oats recipes? We've got three more!
Peanut butter is a staple in most of our recipes because of its protein and healthy fat content, not to mention it is delicious. Peanut butter also helps the oats thicken, making them a great addition to any recipe.
You can use crunchy, creamy, or natural peanut butter, it is personal preference. Feel free to add banana slices for even more flavor.
This recipe serves one and has roughly 463 calories, 51 g of carbohydrates, 33 g of protein, 14 g of fat, and 7 grams of fiber.
Looking for a creamy overnight oats recipe? This dish is so delicious you will think you are eating dessert. They take only five minutes of prep and are packed with over 30 grams of protein.
At under 350 calories per serving, it is a great, flavorful option to include in your weight loss meal plan.
This recipe is for one serving and contains approximately 317 calories, 35.4 g of carbohydrates, 33 g of protein, 4.7 g of fat, and 4.4 grams of fiber.
If you are looking for a more traditional oatmeal flavor, the maple walnut overnight oats will hit the sweet spot. Walnuts are one of the best nuts you can eat, consistently listed as one of the top superfoods.
Walnuts have powerful antioxidant properties and are high in healthy omega-3 fats, iron, and B vitamins. One ounce of walnuts contains 2.5 grams of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), 4 g of protein, and 2 g of fiber, which is important for the texture of overnight oats.
This recipe is one serving and is based on a half cup of milk. It contains approximately 400 calories, 35 g of carbohydrates, 17 g of protein, 25 g of fat, and 8 grams of fiber.
If you want to give this recipe a boost and make it a great muscle-building bulking option you can add protein powder as all other recipes use. By adding one scoop of whey protein powder, you can boost this recipe to 515 calories, 37 g of carbohydrates, 42 g of protein, 25,5 g of fat, and 9 grams of fiber.
We have found the best way to store overnight oats is in a glass container, such as Mason jars or glass Tupperware. Don’t worry if you do not have glass, other containers work fine as long as the container has a lid and is air-tight it will be sufficient.
Most recipes will last in the refrigerator for up to five days, getting thicker and creamier each day. If they are too dry for some reason feel free to add more milk or other liquid. You can also freeze your high protein overnight oats, but be sure to thaw them out in the refrigerator the night before you plan on eating them.
Overnight oats can safely last up to three months in the freezer.
Let's answer some frequently answered high protein overnight oats questions.
Yes, overnight oats are a great source of protein with most recipes containing around 30 grams per serving. The protein content comes from oats, chia seeds, Greek yogurt, protein powder, milk, and healthy toppings like high protein nuts and seeds.
Yes, overnight oats can be a great option for weight loss, but stick to the lower-calorie options. Avoid recipes with extra fat or sugars, or use healthier alternatives.
Making overnight oats is a great way to include protein. And if overnight oats are not your thing, you can still add protein to your hot morning oats. Make sure to add your protein powder after you cook it, once the oatmeal is hot. The heat will help dissolve the powder but be sure to stir thoroughly. The protein powder will absorb liquid so it might dry out your oatmeal. Feel free to add more liquid if the protein powder makes it too dry or doesn’t fully dissolve.
While many baked goods require a specific type of protein, you can use pretty much any kind for overnight oats. We recommend traditional whey protein in vanilla, chocolate, or unflavored. Vegan protein powder and plant-based protein powders, such as pea or almond, are perfectly fine but can alter the flavor. Avoid using casein protein because it might dry out the oats.
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