A good breakfast is one of the easiest ways to kickstart your day.
So, it’s unfortunate that we often end up skipping breakfast, or eat something quick and not very nutritious (like a coffee, a croissant or a few biscuits), so we can get the day started ASAP.
But, what if I told you that there’s the perfect solution to this breakfast problem. A filling, easy to make and super nutritious breakfast which you can even take on the go: Overnight Oats.
What are overnight oats?
Overnight oats are a non-cooked version of oatmeal. Soaking the oats overnight and this allows them to absorb the liquid and soften. And, the next day you get a creamy bowl or jar of "oatmeal" without cooking it.
Overnight oats are easy to make, and they taste so good that I think of them like breakfast desserts.
Ok, but can you eat it cold or do you need to cook it?
It depends on you.
Overnight oats can be consumed cold and raw (for a tasty on-the-go breakfast) or you can choose to heat them in the morning.
Here’s what they look like:
Why oats are good for you
Oats are one of the most nutritious foods you can put on your plate as they contain plenty of essential nutrients:
High in fibre: they’ll keep you full longer and help maintain a healthy digestive system.
High in Beta-Glucan (a type of soluble fibre): it helps to reduce the cholesterol and glucose (sugar) levels in the blood.
High in antioxidants: phosphorus, thiamine, zinc, iron and magnesium - these nutrients help reduce inflammation and promote good health.
Good source of protein: oats contain more protein than most grains.
Excellent to help you control chronic diseases: high in fibre and healthy fats, oats allow you to better control your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It also helps people who suffer from hypertension and cardiovascular disease to reduce and prevent health complications. Overall oats help with weight control and are a great ally in the fight against chronic diseases.
What's the difference between overnight oats and oatmeal?
In terms of nutritional value and even the ingredients used, there are a lot of similarities between overnight oats and oatmeal.
But there are some key differences between the two. Overnight oats are:
Quicker to prepare
First of all, overnight oats require very little preparation which makes it easier for you to get all of the great nutrients they offer. And, since there’s practically no cooking time involved, its preparation is easy to fit in your daily schedule. Just make a few portions one on night while preparing dinner and your breakfast is sorted for half of the week.
Great for the gut (high in resistant starch)
By soaking the oats, you turn the fibre in the overnight oats into resistant starch.
Resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested in the small intestine. It moves along the large intestine where it is fermented and acts as food for the good bacteria found there which helps you keep a healthy gut and reduces the risk of colon cancer.
Also, overnight oats make you feel less bloated and gassy (which is always a great bonus).
Great ally for diabetics
As mentioned above, overnight oats contain resistant starch and because resistant starch is not digested in the small intestine, it doesn’t raise glucose levels in the blood, making overnight oats even more beneficial to people with diabetes.
Better in summer
I don’t need to tell you that it gets hot in Mauritius in summer. So a cold overnight oat recipe is easier to eat than a steaming bowl of oatmeal!
Better on the go
Need a quick breakfast you can take on your daily commute? Overnight oats are easy to eat on the go so there’s no excuse not to enjoy a nutritious breakfast in the morning.
How Can I make Overnight Oats?
Let’s get into how you can make overnight oats so you can start including these beauties into your breakfast routine.
What you will need:
Old jam or sauce jars, or any bowl
The ingredients listed below
Ingredients and steps to follow:
You can always use this “blueprint” no matter which overnight oats recipe you want to make. The ingredients may change, but as long as you follow these steps, you’ll always have a tasty breakfast to enjoy.
OATS In a jar or bowl, add a portion of rolled oats/big oat leaves. Fill the bowl/jar with as much oats as you think you need
SEEDS Totally optional but super nourishing - add some chia seeds or grounded flax seeds (flax meal). It will give you some extra protein and omega-3s.
LIQUID Cover the oats with either cow’s milk, plant milk or yoghurt and some water. If going for a plant milk, the best is to choose one without added sugar.
FRUITS Top up with fruit(s) of your choice: dried, fresh or frozen - you can choose what you prefer. Or spare it for the morning when you grab your jar to go. Dried fruits work well if soaked one or 2 nights before. Fresh fruits are best when added on the day itself.
TOPPINGS (optional) This adds a bit of texture or makes your oat a little fancier - ie: nuts, seeds, fresh mint leaf, cinnamon powder
You can add some honey, maple syrup, fruit compote, grated coconut or jam for added sweetness. The fruit added in step 5 also brings natural sweetness.
You could also choose to include some coconut flakes, nut butter, cinnamon powder, cacao powder to flavour up the oats. This is where you can get creative and take your oats to a new level.
6 Great Overnight Oats Recipes to Enjoy
Before you get creative with your overnight oats, give these tried and tested recipes a go. They’re guaranteed to please and leave you wanting more.
1. Banana and PB Overnight Oats
The ultimate wellness combo, banana and peanut butter, find their way into this great breakfast recipe. If you do not like the taste of peanut butter, you can always opt for almond butter.
2. Nutella Overnight Oats
Ok, there's no Nutella in this recipe (nor any palm oil or refined sugar found in Nutella) but it tastes a lot like it. The dash of cocoa makes this recipe the perfect comforting breakfast. So your taste buds and the environment will thank you.
3. Apple and Cinnamon Overnight Oats
Apple and cinnamon are a match made in heaven. Pair them up in this recipe for a great start to your day or to enjoy as a snack. Cinnamon is an awesome anti-inflammatory compounds that also helps to control blood glucose levels.
4. Blueberry Cheesecake Overnight Oats
Blueberries are a powerhouse of inflammatory compounds, and they taste fantastic in overnight oats. Fresh or frozen blueberries both work very well in this recipe.
5. Pineapple and Coconut Overnight Oats
I'm from a tropical island and all about promoting local foods. So obviously, this pineapple and coconut recipe is one of my favourite ways to start the day.
6. Apple Crumble Overnight Oats
And for you sweet-tooths, here’s a decadent overnight oats recipe. It'll take you a little more time to prepare but it's the perfect sugar fix for your weekend :)
Overnight oats are one of the best breakfast options available.
I encourage you to try them at least once and you’ll see (or should I say taste) how good they are.
If you would like some additional overnight oats recipes, take a look at my blog, I’ve got a few there and plan on adding more soon.
Don't forget to tag us on social media if you try any of the recipes using the hashtag #fitformebyanya