Today, I’m going to introduce you to one of my new favorite breakfast items, overnight oatmeal. And typically, I don’t even like oatmeal. The quick oatmeal mixes you’ll buy in the store that are devoid of nutrients and full of sugar will spike your blood sugar, and leave you unsatisfied and hungry long before lunch time.
But, with the right overnight oatmeal mix, you can make a pretty satisfying breakfast that’s full of nutrients. So, here’s the scoop.
Are Overnight Oats Healthy?
They can be. It’s all about what you put in them, and striking a balance. If you load anything up with sugar, the health value tends to decrease, so keep that in mind as you customize your overnight oats recipe.
But, the centerpoint of overnight oatmeal does have healthy, beneficial properties which are embedded in the oat. So, let’s take a quick look at why oats are healthy.
In addition to being a whole grain, oats are also chock full of the following nutrients:
- Thiamin (AKA Vitamin B1)
But one of the best things about oats is that they are high in soluble fiber, which can support gut health. And, among the soluble fiber in oats is a fiber called beta-glucan which has been shown to have a number of benefits.
So far, studies have suggested that beta-glucan may:
- Reduce total and LDL cholesterol
- Help lower blood sugar levels
- Increase satiety and feelings of fullness
- Support the growth of healthy gut bacteria
Yeah, that’s a lot of good stuff. Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S. and controlling LDL and blood sugar are important for your risk of developing both cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.
So, here’s how you can make a simple overnight oatmeal recipe, that’s personalized to your taste buds.
How to Personalize Your Own Overnight Oatmeal Recipe
Aside from being healthy, and convenient, overnight oats are great because you can tailor them to your own preferences. You can quickly prep them the night before, toss them in the fridge, and they’re ready to go first thing in the morning. You can eat them hot or cold, it’s up to you.
The Basic Overnight Oatmeal Formula
The key to perfecting overnight oatmeal is to know the formula, which is super easy. It’s all about this basic ratio.
1 part liquid (milk) : 1 part oats : 1/2 part yogurt
Using that formula you’re destined for greatness. The recipe below uses this formula, and then includes additional ingredients to add flavor. But you start with that basic formula, and then you can customize it to your liking. Here are a few ways to do so.
Substituting Milk Alternatives
I typically make overnight oatmeal with almond milk. But, you can also use cow’s milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, or coconut milk. Personally, I tend to switch between different milks just to make it interesting. However, since I’m lactose intolerant I typically avoid the cow’s milk.
My favorite milks are almond and hemp milk for this recipe. Both give the recipe a nutty flavor that I enjoy.
Using Different Sweeteners
The recipe below calls for honey, but you can also use maple syrup, or agave if you prefer. Or, you can just stick to fruit.
Ideally, you want to keep the added sugar fairly low. The fruit and oats already provide a fair amount of carbohydrates, so keep that in mind if you choose to add any extra sweetener. The more you add, the more you’ll offset the benefits. So, keep it minimal.
Also, if you want a non-sugar substitute, I recommend Stevia or Monk fruit which both are 0 carbs. However, go easy on these, as they are both extremely sweet compared to sugar. So, you can directly substitute them in at a 1:1 ratio.
Adding Nuts and Seeds
I often like to mix up my recipe by adding different ingredients. Often times it just depends on what I have in the cupboard. Peanut butter? Why not, toss it in. Chia seeds? Perfect. Flax? I’ll do that. Almonds? Yum.
By alternating different seeds you’ll add some extra protein to your mix which will help make it more balance and filling. That means it’s hold you over longer, so you’re not hungry immediately after eating. They’ll also add some healthy fats like Omega-3 and fiber too.
A Simple Overnight Oatmeal Recipe
Every time I make overnight oatmeal I make it slightly different. The only ingredients I typically measure are the milk, oats, and yogurt. Then I estimate the other ingredients as I add them in. But, the following recipe is pretty close to what I do, and it will get you started.
Overnight Oatmeal Ingredients:
- 1 cup milk (or less for thicker oatmeal)
- 1 cup uncooked rolled oats
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons of chia
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup frozen fruit (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc.)
How to Make Overnight Oatmeal
- Combine milk, greek yogurt, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract in a container.
- Add oats and mix well.
- Add in frozen fruit (or fresh) and mix.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Enjoy hot or cold in the morning.
That’s all there is to it. The above recipe usually lasts me for about 3-4 days worth of breakfast.
Enjoy, experiment, and let me know how it goes!