Overnight Oats: 4 Recipes to Make Breakfast Fast, Easy and Yummy
If you haven’t heard of overnight oats, prepare to have your mornings get easier and more delicious. And if you have heard of this popular breakfast idea, we have some tried and tested recommendations for you!
What’s the deal with overnight oats?
This easy way of making breakfast the night before involves mixing uncooked oats—gluten-free or otherwise—usually with any kind of milk and flavoring it with nutritious foods like fruit, nut butter, spices, seeds, coconut, maple syrup or whatever else you want. Then you put your oats mixture (usually made in a jar) in the refrigerator for at least four hours or overnight, hence the name.
The oats soak up the liquid and soften overnight so that they are ready to eat in the morning. All you have to do is open the fridge and grab a spoon! Or bring it to work with you for a simple and portable breakfast or snack. Talk about a way to save time and fuel yourself well so you can get going with the rest of your day.
Most overnight oats can stay well in the fridge for about 5 days so you can even make a whole work week’s worth of overnight oats at once. That way, you do food prep and clean up just once and have breakfast done for the week ahead. Yay!
What’s good about oats?
Plain oats, preferably unsweetened, non-GMO or organic (which is also non-GMO) can be a good source of fiber, which helps us feel full and helps the body eliminate waste. Oats also usually have protein that helps us feel full and gives us energy.
What you add to your overnight oats can have benefits too. Food like nuts and seeds have protein and healthy fat that help your body and mind function better, fruit has beneficial vitamins and fiber, and coconut has healthy fat.
Note: Everyone’s body reacts differently to different foods. Gluten sensitivity or celiac disease are issues for some people so feel free to try gluten-free oats (they taste the same) and see how you feel. Some people can’t have grains at all and we have a recipe for you below too!
With literally thousands of overnight oats recipes online, where do you begin and how do you know what’s good?
Luckily, we know someone awesome who makes delicious, ready-to-go breakfasts on the regular and she has some recommendations for us.
When Rebecca Plevin isn’t reporting on health for NPR affiliate station KPCC, she’s rock climbing, teaching yoga, and doing acroyoga moves that look like they’re out of a Cirque du Soleil show.
Rebecca clearly needs good fuel to keep up with her active lifestyle. She and her sister share beautiful wholesome breakfasts on Bowled Over, where overnight oats and chia pudding make frequent appearances.
Here are three of Rebecca’s favorite overnight oats recipes to make. Hopefully you’ll find at least one that tastes good and fuels you too!
This take on classic muesli has almonds and seeds that lend protein and healthy fats, plus tasty and energizing fruit.
Rebecca says: “The oats are creamy, crunchy from nuts and sweetened with dried fruit. I use store-bought almond milk. I top this with a dollop of yogurt, a drizzle of honey and fresh berries.”
Maca is a hot superfood thanks to its ability to boost mood and energy, balance hormones and more. Cacao has benefits like cell-protecting antioxidants and magnesium that boosts energy and helps the brain. It’s more nutrient-dense than cocoa, which is processed.
Rebecca says: “I love these! I make them when I want an energy boost, after teaching a yoga class or before a long day of rock climbing outside. I’ve topped them with fresh strawberries and shredded coconut.”
Matcha is super popular, especially in the health world. This powerful green tea has more caffeine than regular green tea, is high in cell-protecting antioxidants and can help promote calm and good mood.
Rebecca says: “I’d recommend adding maple syrup to taste, as Matcha can be quite bitter if you’re not used to the flavor. I also added cacao nibs! I love that Trader Joe’s now sells cacao nibs at an affordable price. I’d also top these with fresh berries.”
This is our recommendation for the paleo/grain-free crowd, or anyone else. If you can’t or don’t want to eat grains at all—some people don’t feel well when they eat them—this paleo version has nuts and coconut instead of oats as the base.
(Thumbnail photo: Rebecca Plevin/Bowled Over)
Jessica Hamlin is an LA-born and bred journalist and editor who started taking pictures of food back when everyone used film cameras. A graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s health coach training program, she’s passionate about wellness and enjoys making and discovering delicious and healthy food. Her work has appeared in Clean Plates, NPR affiliate KPCC, AOL, and Eater LA.