Oats are one of the healthiest starches on the planet. They’re high in fiber, packed with nutrients, and fairly low-carb compared to noodles, rice, potatoes, and other grains. Making a bowl of oats with the right ingredients can turn this source of complex carbs into a complete meal. Below, we’ve got a few tips on how to make the perfect bowl of high protein oatmeal to start your day off right:
Don’t make the mistake of cooking the oats in water. Cooking the oats in milk won’t just make the oatmeal tastier—it will also help the oats to absorb more healthy fats. The more fats the oatmeal contains, the slower the glucose is released into your system. A slower glucose release means less risk of blood sugar spikes and crashes, so a much healthier energy supply from the bowl of oatmeal. Milk also has extra protein, so it will increase the muscle-building nutrients from your meal. You’ll need about 1 cup of milk for every ¼ cup of oats if you want the oatmeal to be nice and soft.
Nuts are an extra source of fat—the healthy kind your body needs in order to function. Walnuts are the best of the nuts, as they have the highest Omega-3 fatty acid content. However, almonds contain less saturated fat than other nuts. Pecans, cashews, and peanuts are all a good back-up option if you don’t have either of the other two. The nuts will further slow glucose absorption, preventing a rush of blood sugar. The nuts will also make the oatmeal more satisfying, and you’ll be less likely to overeat. With a handful of nuts, you can satiate your appetite for hours to come.
Sprinkle in Seeds
Seeds like pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, amaranth, chia seeds, and even sesame seeds can be a handy addition to your oatmeal. Seeds contain plenty of fat, but more unsaturated fat than you’d get from nuts. They’re also very rich in fiber, so they will slow down the rate of glucose absorption. You’ll find that seeds work a lot like nuts—they’ll help to fill you up and stop those hunger pangs from making you snack throughout the morning.
Be Wise with Your Fruit Choice
Not all fruits are created equal! Some, like peaches, contain more sugar than others. Some, like bananas, have a much higher nutritional value than the high-sugar fruits. The best options for your morning oatmeal are either bananas, apples, or berries. Bananas contain a lot of potassium, apples are high in fiber, and berries are packed with antioxidants. If you have to, use dried cranberries or raisins, but be sparing with the dried fruit—it’s mostly sugar. Fruit can help to round out the nutritional profile of your meal, but the last thing you want is to increase your sugar intake.
Sprinkle in Spice
Cinnamon is an amazing spice, one that both adds flavor and improves your health. It can lower your blood pressure, improve circulation, and enhance cardiovascular function. Add in a pinch of cinnamon to make your oatmeal a whole lot more tasty.
Consider Protein Powder
If you want to make your breakfast a truly high protein oatmeal, a scoop of whey protein powder may be a good addition to the bowl. Not only will it help to increase the amino acid content of the oatmeal, but it can also add a bit of flavor. Though it may alter the consistency, it’s a good addition for anyone who’s trying to make their breakfast a protein-rich one.