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You may have heard about people putting oats in protein shakes and wondered how to do it yourself. Below, I will explain step-by-step how to do it properly (yes, there’s a right and wrong way to do it).
- According to nutritionist Amanda Parker, adding oats to your protein shake is a great way to increase carbohydrate, fiber, and micronutrients (like Manganese, Copper, and Thiamin), all of which help you stay full, support your immune system, and provide energy for your workouts.
- Adding oats to your protein shake is an easy, convenient, and versatile meal that can aid in weight loss goals.
- While a protein shake and oats can easily replace any meal during your day, the best time to consume this meal would be post-workout, since the oats contain carbs to restore glycogen in the muscle.
6 Reasons to Put Oats In A Protein Shake
1. High In Protein & A Source of Gluten-Free Carbs
Oats are an excellent gluten-free source of carbohydrates. They are higher in protein than many other grains and are a good source of fiber.
Including high-fiber carb sources in your diet is also important for maintaining optimal digestion and making you feel more full and satisfied after eating. This can come in handy if you are eating in a calorie deficit.
One half-cup (40g) of dried rolled oats has the following nutritional content:
- Calories: 150
- Carbs: 27g (4g fiber; 1g sugar; 0g added sugar)
- Fat: 3g
- Protein: 5g
- Sodium: 0mg
- Fiber: 9g
2. Oats Are Full of Micronutrients & Antioxidants
Here is a list of micronutrients in oats by Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) per 40g serving and their benefits:
- Manganese 86% RDA: Supports healthy metabolism and can help to reduce inflammation, which can ease soreness from exercise.
- Copper 28% RDA: Helps your body to make red blood cells and collagen, which are important for the health of your connective tissues. Copper also assists in the absorption of iron.
- Thiamin (B1) 26% RDA: Helps with converting food to energy and cell repair. Vitamin B1 is important for cognitive function by supporting the brain and the central nervous system.
- Phosphorus 21% RDA: Works with calcium to form strong bones. Phosphorus is also key in how the body stores and uses energy and can reduce muscle pain after exercise.
- Magnesium 17% RDA: A key mineral for all organs in the body, assisting with metabolism, digestive health, sleep, and recovery from training and life in general.
- Zinc 11% RDA: Assists with blood clotting and has an important role in the immune system. These aspects make it important for recovery from training and for ensuring a healthy metabolism.
- Pantothenic acid (B5) 11%: Helps turn the food you eat into the energy you need.
- Iron 10% RDA: An important component of red blood cells, carrying oxygen-rich blood to all cells of the body and assisting in the production of energy. Iron can assist in sports performance.
3. Oats Mixed With Protein Is A Convenient Meal
Oats are easy to add to protein shakes. Packets of plain instant oatmeal are a great portable, pre-portioned option.
You do not have to cook oats before adding them to a protein shake.
However, soaking them first will make them easier to blend and improve their digestibility (more on this later).
4. Oats Are Versatile
On their own, oats have a very mild taste, which means it will mix easily with whatever other flavors you want.
5. Oats & Protein Can Aid With Weight Loss Goals
If your goal is weight loss, adding oats to a protein shake can be a great tool to help you feel full for longer, which will help you to manage your appetite. This will make it easier to stick to a calorie deficit needed for weight loss.
“The fiber content of oatmeal is filling and satiating, which in turn can help with eating fewer calories throughout the day and managing your weight”Maggie Michalczyk, RDN
However, because oats will also add calories, it is important to track them as part of your overall intake.
You can track your macros using an app like MacroFactor (click to read our review of this app).
6. Oats & Protein Can Aid With Weight Gain Goals
If your goal is weight gain, adding oats to a protein shake will add more calories and carbohydrates without requiring you to have an extra meal or snack.
This can help you to increase your intake over the day without feeling like you are eating all the time.
The only difference between weight loss and weight gain goals when adding oats to protein shakes is the portion size. For weight gain, you’ll be adding more oats than for weight loss goals.
Who Should Not Mix Oats With Protein Shakes?
There are a few cases where oats are not a good idea to add to protein shakes:
The high fiber content in oats can cause abdominal bloating, cramps, and flatulence.
These symptoms can be eased by soaking or cooking the oats in water before adding them to protein shakes to enhance digestibility.
However, if uncomfortable symptoms persist, then oats should not be added.
Inability To Meet Target Calories
For Weight Loss:
For some individuals, drinking calories does not provide a sense of fullness, even if there is a high fiber content.
They feel hungry again soon after eating, making it hard to manage a calorie deficit.
Studies show that chewing food can reduce energy intake and increase satiety.
In this case, it is better to focus on chewing and eating whole foods rather than having liquid calories of any kind, including protein shakes.
For Weight Gain:
For some individuals, the fiber content in oats makes them feel uncomfortably full.
This makes it harder for them to finish a protein shake with oats.
In this case, it is better to add faster-digesting carbohydrates including simple sugars.
These can come from fruits or fruit juices or refined sources of sugar.
- Related Articles: 1000 Calorie Protein Shake (5 Weight Gain Recipes)
Paleo Diet or Keto Diet
The paleo diet eliminates ALL grains, including oats. As well, oats are too high in carbohydrates for the keto diet.
Note: Our team of nutrition coaches and Registered Dieticians at FeastGood.com does not generally recommend eating approaches/diets that restrict or remove entire categories of food, except in special, medically-necessary circumstances.
When To Have Oats In A Protein Shake
The best time to have oats in a protein shake is post-workout, as part of glycogen replenishment. Oats can provide some or all of the carbohydrates needed to provide a 2 to 1 carbs to protein ratio.
Oats are too high in fiber to provide the quick energy needed for an immediate pre-workout snack.
Because of their long-lasting energy, a protein shake with oats can also replace a meal at any other time of the day.
This makes a convenient, portable option for people with time constraints.
- Related Article: Does Protein Powder Have Carbs? 8 Types of Protein Explained
How To Mix Oats In A Protein Shake
For optimal digestibility and nutrient absorption, the best way to include oats in a protein shake is to use fully cooked, cooled oats that are added to the other ingredients in a blender.
Step 1: Choose your oat preparation method:
- Stovetop: Use a 2:1 liquid-to-oat ratio. Boil the water, add oats, reduce heat, and stir occasionally for 3-5 minutes. Cool before blending.
- Microwave: Combine oats and water in a microwave-safe container, heating and stirring at 30-second intervals until the desired consistency is achieved. Cool before blending.
- Uncooked: Soak raw oats in a 2:1 liquid-to-oat ratio for at least 30 minutes or overnight for ease in blending and digestion.
- Ground: Grind oats into a powder with a coffee grinder or blender. Ready-made oat flour is also an option.
Step 2: Add liquid and ingredients for blending:
- For the stovetop, microwave, and uncooked methods: Add the cooled oat mixture into a blender with other ingredients. Use a 2:1 liquid-to-oat ratio to avoid a thick consistency. Blend until smooth.
- For the ground method: Add liquid and ingredients to the blender first, then the oat flour to prevent caking. Blend until smooth. You may need to use a 3:1 liquid-to-oat ratio since no liquid was used in preparation. Enjoy!
What Kind Of Oats To Use For Protein Shakes?
Sprouted oats have been prompted to germinate, a process that increases nutrient availability and makes them easier to digest.
If you do not have time to cook, soaked sprouted rolled oats are next. If you do not have sprouted rolled oats, regular rolled oats also work.
If you do not have time to soak, oat flour (homemade or store-bought) is next.
Finally, the fastest option is to use packets of instant oats.
What Is The Best Type of Protein To Mix With Oats?
The best type of protein powder to mix with oats is your preferred protein powder for protein shakes.
I use Transparent Labs Grass Fed Whey Protein (click for my complete review).
It’s produced by a company that uses third-party testing to validate ingredients and test for impurities. It also uses whey protein from grass-fed cows without any additives.
It also tastes amazing and mixes easily, which is important if you are blending it with oats into a shake, since a chalky protein powder that does not mix well will likely not blend easily with oats.
Protein Shake & Oats Recipes
1. The “Sticky Toffee” Protein Smoothie
With water and 2 dates: Calories 350 (33g Protein, 50g Carb, 3g Fat)
With 2% milk and 3 dates: Calories 525 (41g Protein, 73g Carb, 8g Fat)
- 1 cup milk or water
- 1 scoop (30g) vanilla protein powder of choice
- ½ cup rolled oats + 1 cup water
- 2-3 large dates, pitted (30-45g)
- Handful of ice cubes
- Optional: sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt
Cook or soak the oats in the water for up to 30 minutes before making the shake to allow them to blend more easily.
Then, combine the ingredients in the order listed in a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Calories/macros will depend on the exact ingredients and amounts used.
2. The Oatmeal PB and Banana Smoothie
Calories 544 (42g Protein, 53g Carb, 20g Fat)
- ⅓ cup rolled oats+ ¾ cup water
- 2 Tbsp peanut butter
- 1 whole banana
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
Cook or soak the oats in the water for up to 30 minutes before making the shake to allow them to blend more easily. Then, combine the remaining ingredients in high-speed blender and process until smooth.
3. Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal Protein Smoothie
Calories 371 (27.5g Protein, 45g Carb, 6.5g Fat)
- ½ cup rolled oats + 1 cup water
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
- 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup frozen or fresh raspberries
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup ice cubes
Cook or soak the oats in the water for up to 30 minutes before making the shake to allow them to blend more easily. Then, combine the ingredients in the order listed in a high-speed blender and process until smooth.
Looking for more oatmeal recipes, check out these 9 Best High-Protein Bodybuilding Oatmeal Recipes
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Put Raw Oats In My Protein Shake?
If you want to skip the soaking process, you can blend raw oats straight into your protein shake. However, doing so could cause digestive issues for certain people since the soaking process makes the oats easier to digest.
Can I Put Oat Flour In My Protein Shakes?
Using oat flour in your protein shake is a good option if you don’t have time to soak your rolled/ quick oats beforehand. Oat flour is simply whole oats that have been ground into a fine powder, and this grinding down process will make the oat flour easier to digest.
How Much Oats To Put In Protein Shakes?
Adding ½ cup of oats to your protein shake will provide you with a creamy texture without making the shake too thick.
You should add 2 servings of liquid for every serving of oats (1 cup of liquid for ½ cup of oats), and you will need to increase liquid slightly after including a protein powder.
Can You Do Overnight Oats With Protein Powder?
Yes, you can use protein powder in your overnight oats to enhance the flavor of your oats along with increasing the protein content.
If you choose to do this, make sure you are adding plenty of liquid (either milk or water) since the oats and the protein powder will soak up the liquid when it is left to sit.
Is An Oat Shake Better Pre or Post-Workout?
A protein shake that includes oats is going to be better as a post-workout meal, since it contains both protein and carbs to help replenish glycogen stores and assist with muscle repair and growth.
The high fiber content and filling nature of oatmeal means that this meal might sit a little too heavy in your stomach to be considered a good pre-workout meal.
Other Ways to Mix Oats With Protein Powder
- Add half a scoop of protein powder to this recipe to boost the protein content even more: Egg White & Oatmeal Protein Pancake for Bodybuilding
Rasane, P., Jha, A., Sabikhi, L., Kumar, A., & Unnikrishnan, V. S. (2015). Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods – a review. Journal of food science and technology, 52(2), 662–675. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-013-1072-1
Hollis, J. H. (2018). The effect of mastication on food intake, satiety and body weight. Physiology & Behavior, 193(Part B), 242-245. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2018.04.027.
About The Author
Lauren Graham is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She focuses on helping busy professionals balance healthy eating and purposeful movement. Lauren has a background in competitive swimming and is currently competing as a CrossFit athlete. She has a passion for training, teaching, and writing.
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