Here is another great MEAL PREP option for breakfast…OVERNIGHT OATS.
They are super simple to prepare and can take on any flavor of your choice! You can enjoy them for breakfast of course, but also as a snack any time of day.
As the name suggests, you can make this the night before and store in the fridge overnight or you can make an extra-large batch and keep it in the fridge for days – making this the perfect breakfast option to include as part of your weekly MEAL PREP. See below for more MEAL PREPPING TIPS.
The texture is similar to cooked oats although there is no cooking required. The oats are left to soak in liquid and soften up while remaining intact.
OATS are considered the ultimate breakfast food in my opinion (although I crave oats any time of day!). This whole-grain helps keep you full and satisfied until lunch, not to mention that oats are nutrient-rich and contain:
- Soluble Fiber
- Vitamins B1 and B5
There are numerous studies documenting the power of oats and how they can improve our health from helping to lower cholesterol, improve blood sugar levels and even promote HEALTHY GUT BACTERIA.
I use ROLLED OATS in my overnight oats recipe but you can also use STEEL CUT OATS (the QUICK cooking variety). QUICK OATS or MINUTE OATS are not recommended, as the texture will be a bit mushy unless of course you prefer a softer texture or plan to enjoy your overnight oats warmed up, in which case QUICK OATS would work fine.
CHIA SEEDS are necessary in overnight oats and the perfect morning fuel for your body and brain. They are packed with fiber, protein and healthy fats. Check out all the benefits CHIA SEEDS have to offer here in my CHOCOLATE CHIA SEED PUDDING post.
Now let’s talk liquid. Overnight oats are generally made with any MILK of your choice or YOGURT or a combination of both. I prefer using just MILK when making my overnight oats but I have been known to mix-it up on occasion and use a combination of milk + plain natural yogurt.
Ground FLAX SEEDS also work nicely in overnight oats (although not a popular addition in most overnight oat recipes). They work in combination with the chia seeds and oats to help absorb the liquid and thicken up the mixture to create a delicious healthy breakfast. Flax seeds are super nutritious and offer a fabulous nutty taste, but they are optional.
If you are part of the Guided Wellness community or follow me regularly on social media you know that I try to include both flax seeds and chia seeds into my diet everyday – so checking them off first thing in the morning is always a BONUS!
This recipe is very forgiving and your overnight oats can be made with more or less liquid depending whether you prefer a “thinner” soupy texture or “thicker” pudding texture. You can experiment with different liquid options like almond milk, coconut milk, yogurt or a combination of both. Even swap out the maple syrup for mashed bananas, dates or any sweetener of choice.
BASIC RECIPE FOR MAKING ONE SERVING OF OVERNIGHT OATS:
½ CUP ROLLED OATS + 1 TBSP CHIA SEEDS + ¾ CUP MILK (of choice) + 1 TSP PURE MAPLE SYRUP
+ 1 TSP of GROUND FLAX SEEDS (optional)
MIX TOGETHER UNTIL WELL COMBINED. COVER AND STORE IN THE FRIDGE OVERNIGHT OR UP TO 3 DAYS OR LONGER.
HOW TO JAZZ UP THE BASIC RECIPE OF OVERNIGHT OATS
Add any of the below on their own or in combination to create a variety of unique flavor combinations.
FRUITS/VEGGIES – mix in ½ cup or more of fresh or frozen chopped fruit or veggies before storing in the fridge overnight or before serving.
FLAVORS – raw cacao powder, nut butter, cinnamon, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, lemon zest…the possibilities are endless. Go ahead and add the flavors of your choice before storing in the fridge overnight for maximum flavor!
MIX-INS – shredded coconut, raw cacao nibs, dried fruit, nuts or seeds etc. Add in as much or as little either before storing in the fridge overnight (or right before serving to preserve the original texture).
BONUS: PROTEIN POWDER or COLLAGEN – if you’re looking for a way to sneak in some supplements, go ahead and add in a serving of protein powder or collagen right before you are ready to enjoy!
MEAL PREPPING TIPS
Overnight oats keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days or longer, which makes this perfect for MEAL PREPPING. When making an extra-large batch I prefer to make the BASIC RECIPE so that my family and I can enjoy a variety of flavor combinations throughout the week and each person can add the ingredients of their choice. Alternatively, you can MEAL PREP any flavor combination you choose and then reserve any ingredients to be added before serving (i.e. protein powder, sliced bananas, nuts). You can choose to STORE this in a large container in the fridge and then portion out when you are ready to enjoy, or alternatively, you can divide the batch among individual serving size containers for the perfect on-the-go breakfast or snack!
TRY THESE FLAVOR COMBINATIONS
CHOCOLATE & BANANA: BANANA + CHOCOLATE + CACAO NIBS
Mix in 1 tbsp of raw cacao powder before storing in the fridge overnight then add sliced bananas and a sprinkle of cacao nibs before serving.
RASPBERRY LEMON SQUARES: RASPBERRY + LEMON + SHREDDED COCONUT
Mix in ½ cup fresh or frozen raspberries, ¼ tsp of lemon zest and 1 tbsp of shredded unsweetened coconut before storing in the fridge or before serving.
PUMPKIN PIE: PUMPKIN PUREE + PUMPKIN SPICE + PUMPKIN SEEDS
Mix in 1/3 cup of pure pumpkin puree and 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice before storing in the fridge overnight and then add a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds or walnuts before serving.
BLUEBERRY PIE: BLUEBERRIES + VANILLA + HEMP SEEDS
Mix in ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries, ½ tsp of vanilla and 1 tbsp of hemp seeds before storing in the fridge overnight or before serving.
PB & J: STRAWBERRY + NUT BUTTER + ALMONDS
Mix in ½ cup fresh or frozen chopped strawberries and 1 tbsp of peanut butter (or any nut butter of choice) before storing in the fridge overnight and then add a sprinkle of chopped almonds before serving.
CARROT MUFFIN: SHREDDED CARROTS + CINNAMON + WALNUTS
Mix in 1/3 cup of shredded carrots and 1 tsp of cinnamon before storing in the fridge overnight and then add a sprinkle of chopped walnuts before serving. A few raisins or chopped dates work nicely as well!