Today, I wanted to piggyback off my “Hectic to Healthy: How to Jump Start Your Day in a Healthy Way” post and provide you with a few simple yet delicious Overnight Oats options!
This is an excellent way to ensure that you’re eating a nutritious breakfast that can be prepped in just a few short minutes the night before! Using Old Fashioned Oats where the only ingredient is 100% whole grain rolled oats will not only benefit your health but your wallet as well! For example, a 42oz canister of Quaker old-fashioned rolled oats will typically cost you roughly $3.99 with about 30 servings per canister (buying store-brand such as Market Pantry at Target or Giant brand will save you even more and it’s the same ingredient list!). A box of Quaker flavored oatmeal packets 8ct will typically cost you anywhere from $2.50 to $4.99. So, as you can see, you will get more meals for less money out of purchasing simply rolled oats, compared to single serving packets. Also, by purchasing plain oats, you’re eliminating the added sugars and fillers found in oatmeal-flavored packets, and your options are endless with the different flavor combinations and add-ins you can make!
Before I delve into the makings of overnight oats, I wanted to highlight a few of the benefits of 100% whole grain rolled oats and why it can make a great healthy option for breakfast!
- Oats are a good source of insoluble and soluble fiber. A typical ½ cup serving will contain about 4 grams of fiber. Dietary fiber, a type of carbohydrate, passes through your body slowly, which in turn helps keep you feeling full longer. Some benefits of including an adequate amount of fiber in your diet include lowering blood LDL cholesterol levels (the “bad” cholesterol) and helping control blood sugar levels.
- 100% whole grain rolled oats are rich in several minerals (did you read my previous post on the mineral, calcium? :)) including iron, zinc, thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium.
- With 5 grams of protein for ½ cup serving, 100% rolled old-fashioned oats are a good source of protein too! The protein content can be increased if made with milk instead of water as well.
So now that we have a better understanding of the health benefits of oats, it’s time for the fun part:
I hesitate to call these recipes since making overnight oats is SO SIMPLE with endless healthy options, so I will simply break down the steps and offer you a few healthy flavor enhancers and add-ins to try!
- The general rule of thumb is to have a 1:1 ratio so 1 part rolled oats to 1 part liquid. For example, ½ cup of rolled oats to ½ cup of water or milk. If you like thicker oatmeal use less liquid and vice versa for thinner oats.
- Once you add your oats and water/milk to a large cup, bowl, or mason jar, add fresh or frozen fruit such as blueberries, strawberries, banana slices, or apples. Fruit will increase the fiber content in addition to enhancing the vitamin and mineral amount as well!
- Add healthy fats like nuts (i.e. almonds, walnuts, pecans), nut butters (i.e. almond, coconut), or seeds such as chia seeds or sunflower seeds. Adding healthy fats will help keep you feeling satiated longer after your meal and can help reduce your risk of bad cholesterol while also maintaining the functioning of your body’s cells.
- If you want to add sweetness to your oats, some healthy options include natural flavor extracts such as vanilla, almond, or banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, a dash of honey or maple syrup, stevia, or no sugar added jam.
- Other healthy add-ins can include greek yogurt which will add more protein and calcium to your breakfast while also increasing the volume and thickness of the oats or pumpkin puree which is packed with the antioxidant beta-carotene and Vitamin A!
- Finally, give everything a good stir or add ingredients layer by layer starting with the oats, liquid, then add-ins and place in your refrigerator overnight!
Now, of course, if you have more time in the morning, you can opt to cook oats on the stove or in your microwave, but making overnight oats is an excellent breakfast option when crunched for time in the mornings or for when you simply don’t want to make breakfast!
Nutrition and healthy eating. (2012). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/fiber/ART-20043983?p=1
Healthy benefits of Oatmeal. (2015). Dairy Council of California. Retrieved from: http://www.healthyeating.org/Healthy-Eating/All-Star-Foods/Grains/Article-Viewer/Article/208/Health-Benefits-of-Oatmeal.aspx