These are not your average overnight oats! These overnight oats are high in protein and full of healthy fats, fiber, and flavor! Overnight protein oats are meal prep friendly and a nutritious way to start your day. Even better, they only take about 5 minutes to prep!
To be honest, I ate way too much overnight oats in graduate school and I haven't even humored the idea of having any since then. However, overnight oats are a very nutrient dense, easy to make, and a great way to get in some extra fiber. Knowing that, I wanted to create a recipe to help people enjoy the numerous benefits of oats.
Click here for the ultimate fiber guide to learn more about how fiber can benefit your health.
In addition to the fiber from oats, overnight oatmeal is also a great way to get in some chia seeds, which are an excellent source of fiber and plant based omega-3s.
Click here for my chia seed pudding recipe if you're looking for another way to get in chia seeds.
The problem with most overnight oats or regular oatmeal
Yes, oats have a lot of health promoting benefits. However, a lot of people are eating instant oatmeal thinking that they are eating a nutritious breakfast. The problem with oatmeal is that it is lacking in protein and healthy fats. So, if you just add some water to instant oatmeal and have that for breakfast you are eating mostly just carbs for breakfast. Healthy carbs, but carbs by themselves despite being healthy or not, do not set you up to feel great throughout the day.
Oats do contain some protein themselves, about 5g per ½ cup, but ideally you want to aim for 20-30g of protein at meals.
Click here to read more about why protein is important at breakfast.
I also find that many overnight oats recipes are kind of lack luster when it comes to flavor - the orange zest and orange juice in this recipe make these overnight oats anything but boring.
Overnight oats protein options
Whether or not you use the recipe below, I recommend adding protein whenever you have oatmeal. To do this, some options include:
- Peanut butter powder
- 2 tablespoons = 6g protein
- Hemp seeds
- 2 tablespoons = 7g protein
- Almond butter
- 2 tablespoons = 7g protein
- Peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons = 7g protein
- Greek yogurt
- ½ cup = ~12g protein
- Protein powder:
- 1 scoop = ~ 20g (will vary depending on the type and brand of protein powder)
- Unflavored collagen powder
- 1 scoop = ~10g (will vary depending on the type and brand of collagen powder)
What you'll need for overnight protein oats
Below is a note about some of the things needed for overnight oats. See the recipe below for a full list of ingredients.
- In addition to using mason jars for overnight oats, I like to use them to store my nuts and seeds in the refrigerator.
Unsweetened almond milk
- Click here if you are interested in making your own almond milk, it's easier thank you think!
- If you do not have lactose intolerance or avoid dairy for any other reasons, using regular cows milk can be another way to increase the protein in overnight oats.
- Old fashioned oats vs instant oats
- I always recommend using old fashioned oats instead of instant oats. Old fashioned oats are less processed than instant oats. When you eat the more intact oat (old fashioned oats) your body does not digest it as quicky which means you will stay full for longer. Steel cut oats are even more intact that old fashioned, but don't work well for overnight oatmeal.
- If you tend to opt for the instant oats so that they will cook quicker, you can actually cook old fashioned oats just as quickly. You can just as easily microwave old fashioned oats as you can instant oats.
- Health benefits of oats
- Oats are up there on the list of foods that have been studied in relation to how they can benefit human health. They contain a specific type of fiber called beta glucan. This type of fiber has been shown to improve cholesterol levels (1). Beta glucan forms a gel like substance once it's in your intestines and it is this property that is at least in part responsible for many of the health benefits associated with beta glucan.
- Chia seeds absorb up to 12x their weight in water. If you are new to eating chia seeds, make sure you increase your water intake when you eat them.
- Not sure what to do with your leftover hemp seeds? I like to add them to smoothies, yogurt bowls, and salads. They are offer a nice protein boost and contain healthy fats.
- My favorite place to get nut butters is from Trader Joes. I find that their prices and flavor are the best.
- I prefer unflavored collagen powder over regular protein powder in just about everything. I like that it doesn't change the flavor of whatever I am making and mixes into things without any grittiness. However, if you have a protein powder that you like, feel free to use that in this recipe instead.
- Combine all ingredients into a mason jar or a container with a lid that you can store in the refrigerator.
- Mix all of the ingredients until combined well. Make sure the chia seeds and collagen powder are distributed evenly and there are no clumps.
- Cover with a lid and place in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 1-2 hours. You will know it's ready to eat when the mixture has thickened and the chia seeds have become gelatinous.
- When you're ready to eat, remove from the refrigerator, add your favorite toppings (see below for some ideas), and enjoy!
TIP: I recommend waiting to add fresh cut fruit until you are ready to eat. This way your fruit is nice and fresh.
I recommend using old fashioned oats.
You can eat them either way but most often overnight oats are eaten cold.
For the orange zest overnight oats, I recommend adding fresh banana, pistachios, and a drizzle of almond butter but you really can add any toppings you like.
I would imagine dark chocolate chips and walnuts or pecans would also be great toppings.
High Protein Overnight Oats
- ½ cup old fashioned oats
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 scoop unflavored collagen powder
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- ½ tablespoon hemp seeds
- ½ tbsp almond butter
- ½ tbsp honey (you can also use maple syrup or completely omit)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- 1 pinch salt
- Add all ingredients into a mason jar or a single serving container that you can store in the refrigerator with a lid.
- Mix together all of the ingredients. Be sure the chia seeds and collagen powder and mixed in well and not clumpy.
- Store in the refrigerator overnight or at least 1 hour.
- Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!
- 375 calories
- 10g fiber
- 20g protein