I travel a lot for my job — and I love to take the earliest flights available. (My philosophy is, the earlier you are, the less likely you’ll be delayed.) That means, however, that I’m often eating my first meal of the day on the go — as well as any days I’m actually traveling.
As tempting as that cranberry-orange scone tucked inside every Starbucks pastry case looks, I know eating one won’t give me enough energy to hit the ground running, or keep me satisfied until lunch. In fact it’s surprisingly difficult to find something that is fast, portable, and filling when I’m away from home. That’s why I’ve started to bring my own breakfast with me. Here’s my recipe for the easiest, cheapest, healthiest breakfast to pack for a flight. I’ve been using it for at least five years now, and it’s never let me down.
The beauty is, this recipe has only three ingredients: rolled oats, protein powder, and cinnamon. To make it, you just add hot water (available at the airport and most hotel rooms). If I know I’ll be gone five days, I measure out the ingredients into five individual sandwich bags, set one aside in my carry-on, and pack the rest in my suitcase. And what’s better, they’re almost infinitely upgradable: Stir in a little fresh fruit or squeeze an individual nut butter pack on, and it’s even better.
Just the protein oatmeal mix, or “proats,” has between 25 to 30 grams of satiating protein (rolled oats have about 5 grams per 1/2 cup, and the rest depends on what kind of protein you use, but most powders have 20 to 25 grams per scoop). That’s more than enough to keep you full.
Ready to give up your fast-food breakfast for something better in every way? Here’s how to make it.
Travel-Style Protein Oats
- 1 scoop
vanilla protein powder
- 1/2 cup
whole rolled oats
Cinnamon to taste
resealable sandwich bag
Place one scoop protein powder, 1/3 cup oats and a few shakes of cinnamon into a bag. Repeat process for each bag. If you’re making multiple bags, put them all together in a quart-size zip-top bag to keep them together. These can travel safely in your carry-on or checked suitcase.
Get through TSA security and head for a coffee shop.
Ask for a double cup of hot water and a spoon. They’ll usually give it to you at no charge, although it doesn’t hurt to order a coffee, too.
Carefully separate the cups and pour your protein oats mixture into the empty one. Then, pour a little hot water over the top of the oats and stir. Add only a few tablespoons at a time; you don’t want it to get runny. The texture should be thick, but not dry, resembling oatmeal cookie dough.
When you reach the desired texture and the oats are no longer dry, replace the lid on the cup and let it sit for a few minutes.
For extra staying power and a serving of healthy fats, add a scoop of nut butter on top. Starbucks sells Justin’s nut butters in individual squeeze packs, or you can buy your own from brands like RX (the vanilla almond butter is especially perfect here) or Julie’s Real.
What to Know If You Make Protein Oats
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