I am always hungry in the morning. But I don’t always have time to prepare a nutritious breakfast before I leave for work. That’s where overnight oats come in. These oats are the whole package–they taste amazing, you can make them ahead of time (in batches!), and they are really good for you. I mean, what more could you ask for in a breakfast? I can’t think of anything. Plus, you can make them in mason jars, which I LOVE. If you love mason jars too, be sure to check out these other mason jar friendly recipes: Baked Oatmeal (On-the-Go) and Chia Seed Jam. I’ve also been know to use really big mason jars for my Infused Beverages. I digress, back to Overnight Oats…
One of the great things about Overnight Oats, is that you can customize them all you like. You just need a few basic ingredients, and then have fun mixing and matching the toppings. Here is your basic oats recipe:
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup milk of your choice (I prefer vanilla, unsweetened almond milk, but whatever you like will be fine)
1/4 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt (if you’re not going to add in any fruit or other toppings, I might suggest using a flavored Greek yogurt)
1/2 Tbsp chia seeds (these can be a bit pricey, but the bag you get will last a long time because a little goes a long way with these guys)
1 to 2 teaspoons of a sweetener of your choice (I usually use Agave nectar, but you could also use maple syrup, honey, or even brown sugar)
Toppings of your choice: I like to use frozen fruit, chopped nuts, cocoa powder, dark chocolate chips, nut butters, etc–the possibilities are endless!
*For the photos in this post, I did three different toppings: 1) strawberries and dark chocolate chips 2) blueberries and maple syrup as the sweetener 3) peaches and sliced almonds.
**Also, I made double batches of what’s listed here because I wanted to make enough to fill the jars up. For me, the recipe as it is above is enough for me for breakfast, but if you like to eat really big breakfasts or you get up and run six miles in the morning, then maybe you should go with double what’s listed above.
*in case you couldn’t tell from the name, these oats need to be let sit overnight to soak up all the deliciousness, so prepare these at least 8 hrs in advance of when you plan to eat them.
1. In a mason jar or another container that has a lid, mix together the rolled oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, and sweetener. Then, add on your toppings of choice and give it a good stir. With mason jars, I screw the lids on and then shake, shake, shake.
2. Let the oats sit overnight in the fridge, and then in the morning give them one last stir and enjoy these oats cold, straight from the fridge!
Here is what it looks like the next morning….
Not the prettiest, huh? Tasty though. However, I wanted something a little bit more visually appealing for the blog, so I scooped it out into a lovely wooden bowl (I want to call it a porridge bowl, but I don’t know if that’s technically a “thing”. It just reminds me of porridge for some reason…. Anyway, it looked a heck of a lot better for photos:
As mentioned, OO’s are great cause you can pretty much experiment as much as you want. Here are the three that I did:
Nutty for Peaches OO’s:
Blueberry Pancake OO’s:
I used the oats, yogurt, milk, chia seeds, maple syrup for the sweetener, and a big handful of frozen blueberries.
This one has oats, yogurt, milk, chia seeds, agave nectar for the sweetener (although you could probably omit that since there’s chocolate chips and fruit in here…), two large, frozen strawberries diced, and about a Tbsp of dark chocolate chips, diced (I use Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips because they are my favorite, but any would work fine). This is basically dessert for breakfast–who doesn’t love that? Except unlike typical sugar-laden desserts, this will actually keep you full until lunch and provide you with fiber, protein, and complex carbs to fuel your morning 🙂
A few people expressed concern over the amount of sugar in these oats, and I thought that I would post my reply here as well as on reddit (where the conversation began), in case any one else has concerns about sugar content.
Natural fruit sugar, fructose, is digested differently than added sugar, and does not raise blood sugar in the same way. The agave syrup, also does not raise blood sugar as quickly as table sugar (sucrose), which is why I use it frequently in healthy cooking. If you were particularly worried about sugar intake, you could definitely make this without the agave and it would still taste great. And I would only recommend using flavored Greek yogurt if you do not have fruit to add to the oats, as it is much higher in sugar than plain Greek yogurt. Dark chocolate does have sugar, but it also has important flavonols that help to lower blood pressure, so eating 1 oz per day is actually recommended. Dark chocolate is a “functional food” that I frequently recommend to clients in small amounts. Keep in mind, that the amount of “sugary” foods in these oats is very small. 1-2 teaspoons of a sweetener is not very much, and combined with all the protein in these oats (from the oats, Greek yogurt, milk), it is not going to impact your blood sugar very much. Eating protein with carbohydrate is always a good way to ensure that you don’t have blood sugar spikes. I would not worry about the sugar in these oats as being “unhealthy” at all. If you are diabetic, then it would be something to consider, but even then I would still consider these oats “diabetic friendly” and if you were still concerned, I would suggest not adding a sweetener and just going with natural fruit. Here is the nutritional profile for the Strawberry and Dark Chocolate Oats:
225 kcal, 35g CHO, 12g PRO, 7g fat, and 11 mg iron (just added the iron cause I thought that would be good to know for anyone who might be anemic). For this nutrient analysis I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and half a Tbsp of agave (which is 1.5 tsps). 14 of those grams of carb are from the oats, 8 are from the agave, 2 from the yogurt, 3 from chia seeds, 4 from strawberries (2 extra large berries), and 4 from the chips (8 of the larger, Ghirardelli chips). So if you wanted to cut out the agave and the chips, you would be down to 23grams CHO, but 35 grams of CHO really is not bad for a meal, considering our brains need 120 grams of glucose a day to function, you would only be getting 29% of that absolute minimum amount of carbohydrate that you need.
So there you have it–you can enjoy with confidence. Although these oats might taste like dessert, their nutritional analysis looks nothing like a typical dessert.
Aren’t they all so beautiful?
Have you ever tried overnight oats? What flavor combos do you want to try?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
I must say that some of my other breakfast favorites include leftover Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese, leftover Smoked Salmon Potato Salad, Honey Raisin Pumpkin Banana Bread, a DIY healthy Egg McMuffin, or my Savory Breakfast Bread Pudding.
Leave comments and let’s talk about breakfast!!!