This proats recipe is for you if you find your oatmeal boring, bland, and unsatisfying. Proats (protein and oats) are the way to go for satisfaction and a boost in nutrition. This simple recipe is for chocolate proats and provides about 22 grams of protein without any protein powder. Instructions include how to cook in the microwave or on the stove.
Why This Works
- Satisfying and nutritious with protein, fiber, healthy fats, and micronutrients
- 5 basic ingredients with optional flavors and toppings
- Quick, hot breakfast
- Cooks in the microwave
- Cook it at work if you have microwave access
- No special equipment needed
- Take cooked proats to-go in a thermos
Ingredients and Nutrition
Old Fashioned Oats
Oats are a great source of protein and fiber. Protein serves as the main building block for our bodies and is found in muscles, tendons, skin, and organs. Fiber is essential for gut health and together with protein, promotes satiety in meals.
A half cup of uncooked oats contains 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Oats also offer the following micronutrients.
- copper – an antioxidant mineral that’s important for heart health.
- iron – helps transport oxygen in the blood.
- magnesium – supports regulation of muscle and nerve function, blood pressure, blood sugar, and bone formation.
- manganese – involved in bone formation, immune response, and metabolism.
- phosphorus – works with calcium for bone health, plays a structural role in the body’s cells and is involved in energy production.
- zinc – plays a role in many chemical reactions in the body.
- vitamin B1 or thiamine – participates in metabolism and helps prevent complications in the brain, heart, and nervous systems.
- selenium – an antioxidant nutrient that supports the immune system and mental function.
Unique to oats is beta-glucan, a type of fiber that forms a gel-like solution and can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar.
I use old-fashioned oats when I cook oatmeal because it retains a more oat-like taste and chewier texture compared to quick-cooking oats. However, if you like the mushier consistency of quick-cooking oats, feel free to go with that and reduce the cooking time.
Tiny yet mighty, chia seeds contain an impressive amount of nutrients and antioxidants. A 2-tablespoon (1-ounce) serving contains about 4-5 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber.
Chia seeds are loaded with omega-3 fat, an essential nutrient linked to a lower risk of heart disease. In addition, they’re high in calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus–minerals that play a role in bone and muscle health.
Chia seeds can help with regularity due to their high fiber content.
However, overdoing it on fiber is not a good idea as it may cause digestive issues. Therefore, it’s best to stick to a moderate intake of no more than 2-3 tablespoons of chia seeds per day.
Milk is an easy way to get your calcium and vitamin D intake in—both essential for bone health. Boost the protein in your oatmeal by using milk instead of water for cooking.
While we have a variety of milk and non-dairy alternatives to choose from these days, keep in mind you want to choose one that offers more protein to aid with feelings of fullness and to help you meet your protein needs. Do this for your cold cereal, too.
Most adults need a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of the body for optimum functioning and more if you’re elderly and depending on your health goals. That means if you’re 150 pounds (68 kilograms), you need a minimum of 55 grams of protein per day.
The following types of milk and non-dairy alternatives are higher in protein compared to others.
- Cow’s milk: 8 grams of protein
- Pea milk: 8 grams of protein
- Soy milk: 7 to 8 grams of protein
I’m using soy milk for this specific recipe.
Nut Butter or Seed Butter
For this recipe, I’m adding peanut butter, but you can use almond butter, another nut butter as well as sunflower seed butter, too.
All these types of butter spreads offer a good amount of nutrition such as protein, healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
It’s not chocolate proats without cocoa powder! I’m using unsweetened cocoa powder. However, you can also use sweetened cocoa powder or chocolate chips if that’s what you have; just omit the honey or maple syrup.
Cocoa powder, along with other foods such as fruits, vegetables, tea, and wine, contains flavanols, a type of antioxidant. Having said that, heating cocoa powder may reduce the flavanol content.
Nonetheless, when it comes to cooking, baking, and making oatmeal and smoothies, cocoa powder is a convenient way to add a chocolatey flavor.
I prefer my oatmeal on the lumpy side so if that’s not your thing, feel free to add a little bit more milk.
Combine all the ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Use a bowl that’s large enough so you have some room at the top to control any spill over (about 1/3 of the top).
Heat for about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, stirring every 20 to 30 seconds. Stirring occasionally ensures thorough heating and no spill over.
Remove cooked proats from the microwave and top with desired toppings such as chopped nuts or fruits. See the recipe card for more topping suggestions.
If you plan to microwave proats at work, store in a microwave-safe container, and don’t forget to pack a spoon and the toppings you’d like to add.
To cook proats on the stove top, start by bringing the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.
Once the milk is boiling, reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining ingredients. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and serve with optional toppings.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and consume within 3 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. I created this proats recipe for people who don’t want to spend money on powders and want to enrich their proats through foods. However, I am all about adapting recipes to suit your taste and needs so feel free to bump up the protein with powder if you want.
There’s a world of protein powders out there so choose wisely if this is all new to you. You’ll find animal-based and plant-based powders as well as different flavors and a range in protein content.
I don’t have a specific powder to recommend but I do suggest you research and look at the ingredients and nutrition facts label.
Also keep in mind that protein powders are considered supplements and like all other supplements, they’re not regulated in the same way that food and medicine are by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Therefore, I recommend choosing a powder that’s passed quality testing with a third-party independent organization like U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International, and Consumer Labs.
These companies have no affiliation with supplement companies. They check for impurities and ensure that the ingredients in the product match what’s stated on the label.
Lastly, be skeptical of protein powders that make bold health promises. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
For more information about dietary supplements in general, check out the FDA’s information for consumers on using dietary supplements.
The following foods are sources of protein. Pay attention to the grams of protein (g) in a serving size.
1/4 cup Greek yogurt = 4-5 g
1/4 cup cottage cheese = 6-7 g
1 tablespoon peanut butter, nut butter, or sunflower seed butter = 3-4 g
1/4 cup of nuts = varies by type of nut, about 4-7 g
1 tablespoon chia seeds = 2-3 g
1-ounce hemp seeds = 9 g
1-ounce pumpkin seeds = 9 g
Alternatively, you can also eat some of these foods on the side or later on as a snack after consuming your proats.
No. Steel cut oats aka Irish oatmeal have a chewier and coarser texture and nuttier flavor compared to rolled oats (quick-cooking and old-fashioned). As such, they take longer to cook, about 15 to 30 minutes.
So, while you can add the other ingredients in the recipe to steel cut oats, note the longer cooking time.
Proats Recipe Chocolate No Protein Powder
- 1 microwave-safe bowl or small saucepan
- ½ cup old fashioned oats
- 1 cup milk with higher protein (cow's milk, soy milk, or pea milk)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter, nut butter, or sunflower seed butter
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Optional: 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
Optional toppings and flavors: fresh fruit; chopped nuts or seeds; yogurt; ⅛ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract; ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice
To cook in the microwave
- Place all the ingredients including maple syrup or honey if you're using it into a microwave-safe bowl and stir together.
- Heat in the microwave for about 2 to 2½ minutes, stirring every 20 to 30 seconds to ensure even heating and no spill over.
- Carefully remove the cooked proats from the microwave and add optional toppings.
To cook on the stove
- Place the milk in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining ingredients, including maple syrup or honey if you're using it.
- Cook and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add optional toppings.
Tried this recipe? What variations or adaptations did you make? Share in the comments.