Make-ahead, protein packed meals are an amazing way to fuel our bodies and overnight oats are complete game changers. I love having protein-dense snacks at the ready for me and the kids. I also look for recipes that have less sugar AND are non-dairy, as my 15-year-old has a dairy allergy.
I love cooking and baking — I look for any opportunity to bring everyone together with a yummy treat. But there are some days where there aren’t enough hours and I need food that is healthy and filling.
I make sure I always have two staples in my pantry: oats and protein powder. I’m not the only mom who relies on oats as a staple. But it’s not just oats. Let’s talk about my deep love of protein powder. I know, I know. protein powder is having a moment. But for good reason! Adding it to my recipes helps stop me from feeling hangry in the afternoon without having to, you know, actually cook. Added bonus? It helps build muscle.
Did You Know?? Usually protein powder is made from whey, a dairy derivative. Anyone with a dairy sensitivity should stay away from this. My daughter has a sensitivity, so our house uses a plant-based protein powder. You have a few different options; soy, hemp, pea, rice, and peanut — pea protein is our go-to. I get mine on Amazon — but if you’re in a pinch and need it fast, check your local Whole Foods or grocery store.
If you’re worried about a nose-wrinkling taste, don’t be. Protein powder — from whey or plants — is pretty neutral, unless you’re going for a specific flavor like chocolate or peanut butter. Your milk is what’s going to make the biggest difference in taste. More on that in a minute.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes that I can whip up the night before and grab when I’m running out the door. And I’m usually running out the door 😉
Oatmeal Recipes for Breakfast
We hit the ground running most mornings. I make sure I keep a few containers of overnight oats ready to go. These are great for meal prep — just add all your dry ingredients to each jar, set aside for the week — as you are ready, add milk and refrigerate over night. I make my weeks worth on Sunday when I do all my meal preps. You can eat overnight oats cold or hot. I prefer mine cold. Shaker bottles are great for taking your oats to go: they’re made of durable plastic and feature an easy removable top — making it easy to pop into the dishwasher. Just make sure to take out the ball! Oats absorb moisture, so the ball will get stuck if you leave it in overnight.
You can also use Ball mason jars (my favorite) if you need a container to go. When you’re at home, any container that has a lid and can be put in the fridge overnight will work great.
This recipe makes it easy to make bigger yields, as everything is a 1:1:1 ratio. Here are your ingredients:
Milk of choice (dairy or non-dairy)*
*We like using coconut milk. But feel free to experiment! You can use creamier non-dairy alternatives like cashew milk or milder ones like oat milk.
If you’re feeling fancy, you can also add in a banana for some sweetness or nuts for an extra crunch and protein boost.
Super simple, right? That works out to:
1 cup oats
1 scoop of protein powder
1 cup milk of choice (almond, oat, coconut)
Add-ins to taste
Mix them all together in your container of choice and place in the fridge. Let them sit for a few hours at least to give the oats a chance to soak up all that tasty goodness. Ta-da!
These will keep for about 3 days — but I would recommend eating this within 24 hours (if they even last that long)! If you’re bringing them with you, try to keep them refrigerated before eating — especially if you’re using dairy milk!
Over Night Protein Oats
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 3/4 cup quick oats
- 1 scoop of protein powder I use pea protein but you can substitute your protein powder of choice
- 1 cup coconut milk substitute milk of choice
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 teaspoons of maple syrup I use sugar free
- 1. Add oats, milk, maple syrup, sea salt, vanilla and chia seeds into a mason jar, shaker bottle or any storage container with a lid. Stir ingredients together. Place in Refrigerator overnight or a minimum of 3-5 hours. I recommend putting the milk in the container first so the oats and other dry ingredients don't lump up at the bottom.
- 2. In the morning, remove lid and stir. if the oats are too thick add a drop of additional milk until you achieve your desired consistency. Add your favorite topping and enjoy. When the weather begins to get cool - you can warm your oats up in the microwave.
Protein Oat Waffles
For quieter mornings, you can use these same ingredients for something a little more indulgent: WAFFLES. Just because you’re a very busy adult doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to this breakfast treat. The ratio is a little different compared to the overnight oats. Feel free to double this recipe to make extra — they are perfect in the fridge or for other hungry waffle lovers in the house.
I use the Dash Mini Waffle maker to whip these up. They’re the perfect size! And they’re also available in a bunch of fun colors.
Yield: 4 Waffles
2 cups rolled oats
1 scoop protein powder
1 ½ cups coconut milk*
2 bananas, medium-ripe
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon of cinnamon to taste**
* = Substitute your favorite milk here!
** = We love cinnamon in our house, so I always add more.
Use coconut oil or non-stick spray to grease the waffle iron. Turn on to pre-heat. Set aside.
Splash a few drops of water on the iron; if you hear it sizzle, it’s hot enough. If you have a Dash waffle maker, there’s a light on the top of the iron that goes off when it’s ready. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour batter in the center of the waffle iron. Press down. That light will go off when your waffle is done!
When they’re done, feel free to top with yogurt and fruit or maple syrup. Put any extra waffles in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll keep for at least three days. You can also freeze them. I ALWAYS freeze my extra waffles. It makes it easy to have a healthy pick-me-up in the middle of the week. When we are ready to eat them, we pop the frozen waffle in the toaster oven.
Protein Oat Waffles
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 2 banana medium ripe
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1. blend the oats in blender for approximately 30 seconds, until fine flour forms.
- 2. Add in banana, milk, protein powder, baking soda, vanilla and cinnamon. bland for another 30 seconds on high, until the mixture is smooth with no lumps.
- 3. Set aside for several minutes to thicken slightly
- 4. Plug you dash waffle iron on and wait until the indicator light signals its at the correct temperature.
- 5. spare waffle iron with Pam or use cooking oil to coat the top and bottom iron to avoid the waffle from sticking.
- 6. Drop a 1/4 cup of the mixture onto the mini waffle iron, ensuring it spreads across the entire bottom surface without over filling it. close the lid and let cook for 3-5 minutes or until the indicator light signals they are done. The waffle maker will steam as it cooks the waffles. if you are using a larger waffle iron, adjust cooking times accordingly.
- 7. When ready, open the top and use a flat knife to gently remove the waffle from the iron surface.
- 8. Plate, add your favorite toppings and enjoy!
Oatmeal Breakfast Cookie
There are those days when all you want is a cookie. You know the ones I’m talking about, where all you want to do is curl up under a blanket and binge-watch your favorite Netflix series, but you still have to go do Adult Things. This breakfast cookie will give your morning a boost without the sugar crash later.
My kids will usually grab two of these in the morning — but they’re so filling, sometimes they only make it through one! I still feel good about them since they’re high in protein and low in added sugar.
You’ll need a few additional ingredients, including:
Truvia brown sugar
When it comes to ingredients, I buy organic when I can.
Food tip: Use very ripe bananas. They’re pretty sweet! That way, you won’t need to add as much sweetener.
Truvia uses stevia as its sweetener. Stevia is a pretty solid sugar substitute as it doesn’t have a strange aftertaste; you can use it just like regular granulated sugar. Your kids (or, in my case, my mom when she visits) won’t notice the difference. And even if they do, they’ll still snack on them regardless.;)
Yield approximately 24 cookies
Prep time 10 min
Cook time 12-15 min
Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
- 2 large very ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup almond butter creamy
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 3 Tablespoons Truvia Brown Sugar blend or any brown sugar substitute blend you like
- 1 Tablespoon of water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup craisins
- 1. preheat oven 350º F
- 2. In a bowl mash the bananas with the back of a fork
- 3. Stir in the almond butter, coconut oil, trivia blend, water and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth
- 4. In a separate bowl, mix together the almond flour, rolled oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt
- 5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined
- 6. Stir in the chopped almonds, and craisins
- 7. Drop dough by the tablespoonful onto a parchment lined baking sheet
- 8. Grease the back of a cup with butter and use that to press down the cookies
- 9. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are slightly brown on the bottom
- 10. Let cool on the baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
Did you know?? According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, pure oats are gluten free. This is a debatable topic as many gluten free consumers beg to differ. The conflict comes in when oats are produced in commercial facilities that also produce gluten containing wheat, rye, and barley. Cross contamination also occurs when oats are grown close to wheat crops. If you are Gluten Free, be sure to seek out certified gluten free brands such as Bob’s Red Mill.