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Dietitians and fitness trainers encourage their clients to eat a balanced diet, complete with all three macros (protein, carbs, and fat). But getting enough daily protein seems to be a hot topic. As far as breakfast goes, registered dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition recommends getting 13 to 20 grams of protein for that first meal. If you love to dive into a bowl of oatmeal in the morning, check out how much protein that hearty bowl offers you.

As you can see from the chart below, it depends on which oats you choose. Quick oats offer the least amount of protein per serving, and also the least amount of fiber, so those get the breakfast veto. Both steel-cut oats and rolled oats offer seven grams each of protein, which definitely doesn’t meet Leslie’s recommendations.

Steel-cut oats Old-fashioned (rolled) oats Quick oats
Description Also called Irish or Scotch oats, these are cut, not rolled. They look like chopped-up rice, take the longest to cook, and have a slightly chewy consistency. Sometimes called rolled oats, these look like flat little ovals. When processing these oats, the kernels are steamed first, and then rolled to flatten them. They take longer to cook than quick oats but are quicker than steel-cut oats. Also called instant oats, these oats are precooked, dried, and then rolled. They cook in a few minutes when added to hot water and have a mushy texture.
Typical Serving Size 1/4 cup dry 1/2 cup dry 1/2 cup dry
Calories 170 190 150
Total Fat 3 g 3.5 g 3 g
Carbs 29 g 32 g 27 g
Fiber 5 g 5 g 4 g
Protein 7 g 7 g 5 g

In order to increase the amount of protein in your bowl, scroll through to see some ingredients you can add, such as nut butter or protein powder. They’ll up the protein, but they’ll also add fiber, and healthy fats, and offer a pleasing texture, making your bowl even more satisfying. Choose a few of these ingredients and you’ll be on your way to the 13 to 20 grams of protein you need.

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