There’s no denying it. One of the most common statements I heard from previous patients is that they didn’t have time to eat breakfast in the morning. I’m not sure about you but I wake up hungry and I’ll be darn, I make time for food. But that’s just me. That and coffee of course. Need me my caffeine fix - addicted and readily admit it.
But I do get it. With the recent time change, it’s hard just to wake up in the dark, let alone ask someone to wake up earlier to make sure they make breakfast. And with kids, I can only imagine it’s that much worse - they question why they have to start winding down when it’s still light outside at night and have to wake up in the dark in the morning. Total confusion. But here’s my suggestion for a remedy if you will. Overnight Oats..
Overnight Oats started gaining popularity a few years ago and well, I think it’s still popular. I just think it’s popularity phases in and out based on the season/temperature. I could be wrong, but I think it will boil down to the temperature in which you like to eat the oats. I’ll explain.
Overnight Oats you can prep the night ahead. So no mad rush in the morning because breakfast was prepped the night ahead. Overnight Oats you can teach your kids how to prep and they can help you out and basically make your breakfast. That’s winning, am I right? And believe me, I have the crowd of non-believers out there that will say they don’t like oatmeal and I get it. I’m not here to say that you have to eat oatmeal just because it’s good for you. Because believe me, you can make oatmeal unhealthy with all the added sugar some people add. But more than that, I hope this post gets you thinking as to what you might be able to prep the night ahead. That’s the name of the game. Planning. Prepping. It’s half the battle.
But back to overnight oats (and again, insert what you might prep as a breakfast the night ahead if it’s not the oats) . I make the overnight oats a couple of times a week. I typically eat the oats on the days I run, but it varies. And there are times even I forget to prep the oats the night ahead and will just eat my toast and/or frozen waffles I’ve prepped for the week. It happens to the best of us. But as I’m packing my lunch is when I find the best time to prep my oats. Overnight Oats as their name implies requires that you prep them the night ahead. You mix the oats with milk and let them sit in the fridge overnight. The beauty is that you can eat them hot or cold, and because they’ve been soaking overnight you can eat them immediately (cold) or hot (requires less cooking time). Win win for all. Here’s a video where I explain and show how to make them.
The key with overnight oats and this is where it will take a little experimentation on your part is with how much milk you will add. It all depends how you like your oatmeal - thick or thin - and as I said this will require experimentation. I’ll provide the ratios, give it a try, and then adjust as you see fit. The great thing for me about Overnight Oats is that I can change the flavor based on what nut butter I use and/or fruit that I add in. So far you’ve seen my peanut butter and berry combo along with my blueberries and walnuts, but truthfully there are endless combos when you think about it. It’s spring now and I can’t wait to have a cinnamon peach almond combo. Fall is always cinnamon apples as a go-to. There really are so many ways to change the flavor up, it’s hard to get bored! And if you like savory, savory oats are trending too!
The one thing I will add about Overnight Oats is the nutritional component. I am a dietitian, it’s kind of my job. Overnight Oats can go from healthy to unhealthy, quickly. Oats are inherently healthy - they’re a whole grain, they have fiber and protein. It’s what we add into them is where it gets tricky. I’m’ not saying you can’t use a drizzle of honey or a sprinkle of sugar, but here’s what I’ll say about that - know how much sugar you’re using and aim to cut back. (Some people don’t even know how much they’re using). Measure one or two times so you have an amount and know where to start cutting back. That’s the goal with added sugar in general, decrease the amount you’re using. The best part of these Overnight Oats is what I said earlier- by changing your fruit and using what fruit is in season your Overnight Oats will be naturally sweetened along with the added benefit of fiber from the fruit. Not my normal fruit to add in, but when persimmons were in season I added persimmons in to my oats and let me just say, one of the best Overnight Oat combos I’ve had in awhile. Along with the fruit I’ll add a few spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom - and a few seeds - flax, hemp, or chia - added nutritional benefit of the fiber and omega-3 fatty acids but also a variation in the flavor combo. Additionally I add a nut or nut butter for added protein and healthy fats - this combo of oats, nuts, and fruit truly can sustain me for about 4 hours.
So there you have it, a little inspo to get you thinking about what to prep the night ahead to make your morning that much easier. And I’d be remiss in mentioning that the best part of the Overnight Oats is that they’re portable. All my pictures so far have shown how I make and eat it while at home. If you have a long commute and/or heat breakfast up when you get to the office, a mason jar will do the trick - it has a top and makes life easy to heat the oats up too (or eat cold, you do you). Give it a go and let me know what flavor combo is your favorite. The mixed nut butter from Trader Joe’s has such great flavor and goes well with almost any fruit. In case you didn’t know, now you know. Bon appetit!
1/3 - 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup - 1 cup milk (depends on how thick you like it)
1 tbsp nut butter (2 tbsp actual nut)
Sprinkle of hemp seeds (chia or flax work well too)
1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
To a mason jar or small bowl, add 1/2 cup milk, nut butter, cinnamon, and vanilla. Add oats and stir a few more times. Then press down with a spoon to ensure all oats have been moistened and are immersed in the milk.
Cover securely with a lid or plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator overnight (or for at least 6 hours)
The next day, add 1/2 cup more milk (if you like the oatmeal thinner) and enjoy as is - add fruit at this time. OR
If you like your oatmeal hot, still add 1/2 cup more milk (if you like the oatmeal thinner), microwave for 30 seconds at a time - total time is about 1 minute 30 seconds. Add fruit once warmed and sprinkle with the chia seeds (I prefer to add the flax, chia, and hemp at the end . If this is too many steps in the morning, add it all the night ahead. It works that way too!
Overnight oats will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, though best within the first 12-24 hours.
“This is amazing for on-the-go breakfast. No excuses. It’s a healthy meal on-the-go”