It’s no secret we love breakfast around here. Like really love it.
But, not everyone has this burning love for the am meal. And, far too often I see athletes skimping on breakfast or skipping it all together, which means they’re missing out on a serious opportunity to fuel, recover, and gain from all that hard training.
When we look at our typical distribution of food intake over the day, most of us are eating the most at dinner, a little less at lunch, and a lot less at breakfast. This is especially true when we take into account our protein distribution. Many of our typical breakfasts are severely devoid in protein – oatmeal, cereal, toast, granola bars, and even some smoothies are great choices but not a good source of protein.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that our bodies are great at storing excess fat (as adipose tissue) and carbohydrates (as glycogen). But did you know that our bodies cannot store excess protein? When we eat extra protein at dinner, we cannot store this for the morning when our breakfast is lacking in protein. In order to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis to maintain or build new muscle, we should eat 0.25 gm of protein per kg of body weight PER MEAL. You heard me right – per meal. This would be 15 grams for a 135# person or 25 grams for a 200# person. Who may need more? Athletes. Who may need even more? Athletes over the age of 50.
I absolutely love baked oatmeal for breakfast. It’s easy to prep ahead of time and just down right delicious. Baked oatmeal is a great source of complex carbohydrates but not the best source of healthy fats and protein. For years I have been trying to pack more protein into this morning staple, but I was never happy with the results. Greek yogurt made it too sour. Cottage cheese made it too chunky. Protein powder was just gross. So, I just stuck to the old trusty recipe and added greek yogurt on top. Some days that extra step of getting a spoon out of the drawer and scooping the yogurt on top was enough to make me say – forget about it. I really needed everything to be compact into each hunk of baked oatmeal.
And, guess what guys?! I think we finally nailed it! But, you can be the judge of that.
Two specific ingredients leave this tasty breakfast with 22 gm of protein per serving. First is the peanut butter powder. Peanut butter powder is made by removing a significant amount of the fat from peanuts and grinding it down into a powder. This leaves a high protein powder that tastes just like peanuts. Have no fear – this recipe also contains the real deal peanut butter. The second ingredient is the choice of milk or milk alternative. If you have taken a stroll down the dairy aisle lately, you will know that there are a bagillion different milk and milk alternative options these days. Heck our refrigerator currently has 5 types of milk: skim, 2%, almond, pea, and ‘Mama’ milk. From a protein standpoint, these can vary dramatically.
|Type of Milk||Grams of Protein/Cup|
|Ultra Filtration (Cow)||13|
|Pea||8 to 10|
If you want this oatmeal to be a good source of protein, I would recommend choosing a milk product with 8 or more grams of protein per cup. I used pea milk, Ripple, for this recipe and was very happy with the results.
Once this is in your little (or big) hand and you’re running out the door juggling 12 things at once while eating said oatmeal, make one of those juggling balls letting me know if you love it and what milk made its way into your oatmeal!
Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal
Servings: 6 hungry runners
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
3 1/2 cups milk or milk alternative (check for at least 8 gm of protein per cup)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup peanut butter powder
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp baking powder
Optional toppings: more peanut butter, chocolate, and peanuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8×8 inch baking pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs together. Add milk, peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Whisk well.
- Add peanut butter powder, chia seeds, and baking powder. Whisk again.
- Stir in oats.
- Pour into baking pan.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes or until center is firm.
- This would also taste delightful with dried tart cherries added!
- The toppings are optional. But let me tell you, it takes this from good to absolutely mind blowing. Next time, I will definitely bake it with chocolate chips IN it.
- If you like sweet oatmeal, you may want to increase the maple syrup to 1/2 cup. Or, add a little on top before eating.
- Use gluten free oats, if needed.
Athletes: This recipe was designed to be the perfect post workout breakfast. The perfect amount of protein and complex carbohydrates to refuel and rebuild muscles to get the maximum gains from your sweat session.
Healthy Eating: Get ready for a super balanced breakfast ready to fuel your morning and keep you full for hours.
Kids: My son calls this peanut butter cake and I am positively okay with this. Let them drizzle some extra peanut butter on top and score extra points with a few chocolate chips. Have a busy, older kid? Cut a hunk, slap in on a napkin, and shove in their hand as they run out the door. Done and Done.