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By Alina Petre
Overnight oats make for an incredibly versatile breakfast or snack.
They can be enjoyed warm or cold and prepared days in advance with minimal prep.
Moreover, you can top this tasty meal with an array of nutritious ingredients that benefit your health.
This article provides 7 tasty, nutritious, and easy overnight oats recipes.
Basic Overnight Oats
Most overnight oats recipes are based on the same few ingredients.
- Oats. Old-fashioned oats work best for overnight oats. For a shorter soaking time, use quick oats, and for a longer one, use steel-cut oats.
- Milk. Use cow's milk or a fortified, unsweetened, plant-based milk of your choice at a 1:1 ratio with the oats. For example, 1/2 cup (120 ml) of milk per 1/2 cup (120 ml) of oats.
- Chia seeds (optional). Chia seeds act like glue to bind the ingredients. Use 1/4 part chia seeds per 1 part oats. For instance, use 1/8 cup (30 ml) chia seeds per 1/2 cup (120 ml) oats.
- Yogurt (optional). Yogurt adds extra protein and creaminess. Use a dairy or plant-based yogurt and adjust the amount to your preference.
- Vanilla (optional). A dash of vanilla extract or vanilla bean adds a touch of flavor to your overnight oats.
- Sweetener (optional). A little maple syrup, 2-3 chopped dates, or half a mashed banana can sweeten your overnight oats.
Overnight oats are a great source of many nutrients.
One prepared cup (240 ml) of the basic recipe made with 2 percent cow's milk and without the optional ingredients provides the following (1):
- Calories: 215 calories
- Carbs: 33 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Sugars: 7 grams
- Fat: 5 grams
- Protein: 9 grams
- Vitamin D: 299% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Manganese: 25% of the DV
- Selenium: 27% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 26% of the DV
- Vitamin B12: 25% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 23% of the DV
- Copper: 22% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 22% of the DV
This amount of overnight oats also provides 12 – 19 percent of the DV for calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, thiamine, and pantothenic acid.
Oats contain more protein and fat than most other grains. They are also a particularly good source of beta glucan, a type of fiber that reduces hunger and promotes feelings of fullness.
Naturally, the nutritional content of this recipe varies depending on the type of milk and which optional ingredients you choose to include.
To prepare your overnight oats, simply combine all the ingredients and refrigerate them overnight in an airtight container.
The oats and chia seeds soak up the milk and soften overnight, yielding a pudding-like texture come the next morning.
Overnight oats keep for up to four days when refrigerated in an airtight container. That means you can easily batch-prepare larger portions of the base recipe and add your favorite toppings to individual portions throughout the week for variation.
SUMMARY Overnight oats use simple ingredients, are rich in many nutrients, can be made in large batches, and don't require any heating. Simply mix the ingredients, refrigerate overnight, and add your favorite toppings in the morning.
Chocolate Peanut Butter
This variant of basic overnight oats is reminiscent of the popular treat peanut butter cups.
Simply add 1 – 2 tbsp (15–30 ml) of cocoa powder to your basic overnight oats recipe. In the morning, mix in 2 tbsp (30 ml) of natural peanut butter and top with chopped peanuts, fresh raspberries, and mini chocolate chips for extra flavor and texture.
The peanuts and peanut butter add a dose of healthy fat to this recipe while the cocoa and raspberries add antioxidants, which are beneficial compounds that help protect your body from disease.
SUMMARY Chocolate-peanut-butter overnight oats are a nutrient-rich take on a popular sweet. This recipe is particularly rich in beneficial antioxidants and healthy fats.
For this tropical overnight oats recipe, swap the milk and yogurt in your basic recipe for coconut milk and coconut yogurt.
Then top it with a handful of pecans, sprinkle of unsweetened coconut flakes, and freshly cut or defrosted tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, or kiwi. Refrigerate it overnight just like the base recipe.
You may also use dried fruits, but remember to exercise portion control. Generally, a portion of dried fruit should be 2 – 3 times smaller than the same portion of fresh fruit. Opt for unsweetened, oil-free varieties.
SUMMARY Tropical oats are a coconut-infused variant of the traditional overnight oats recipe. Simply add fresh or defrosted fruit of your choice, or swap the fresh fruit for a smaller portion of unsweetened, oil-free dried fruit.
Pumpkins are high in fiber and vitamins C and K. They add a rich and perhaps unexpected flavor to this overnight oats recipe.
Pumpkins are also a good source of beta carotene, a compound that may reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
To make this recipe, add 1/2 cup (120 ml) of pumpkin purée to your basic overnight oats recipe and refrigerate it overnight. In the morning, season it with a teaspoon (5 ml) of cinnamon and half a teaspoon (2.5 ml) each of ground cloves and nutmeg.
SUMMARY Pumpkin-spice overnight oats are rich in fiber, vitamins, and beta carotene, a compound that may protect against metabolic syndrome and associated diseases.
Carrots are rich in fiber and rank low on the glycemic index (GI), which means they are less likely to cause a blood sugar spike after you eat them.
Similarly to pumpkins, they are rich in beta carotene. Your body converts this compound into vitamin A, which is important for your vision, growth, development, and immune function.
To prepare this nutritious take on a popular dessert, simply mix 1/2 cup (120 ml) of shredded carrots, 1/4 cup (60 ml) of raisins, and 2 tbsp (30 ml) of cream cheese or a cream cheese replacement with your basic overnight oats ingredients.
Refrigerate it overnight, and garnish it with freshly shredded carrot, a few raisins, and a sprinkle of cinnamon or allspice in the morning.
SUMMARY Carrot-cake overnight oats are a great alternative to the sugar-laden dessert. The recipe is a good source of fiber and beta carotene, and given that carrots rank low on the GI index, this version may help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
High-Protein Mint Chocolate Chip
Protein is a nutrient that's known to reduce hunger and promote feelings of fullness.
With around 13 grams per cup (240 ml), the basic overnight oats recipe already contains a moderate dose of protein.
Adding yogurt to your recipe and topping it with nuts or seeds further boosts the protein content to around 17 grams per prepared cup (240 ml).
If you'd prefer even more protein, consider incorporating 1 – 2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) of protein powder to the mix. This will bring the protein content up to around 20 – 23 grams per cup.
For extra flavor, add a dash of peppermint extract and top it with freshly sliced strawberries, mini chocolate chips, and a few mint leaves. Finally, use 1 tsp (5 ml) of spirulina powder for a natural, nutrient-rich touch of green color.
SUMMARY Yogurt, nuts, seeds, or protein powder boosts the protein content of your overnight oats. A dash of peppermint extract, sliced strawberries, mini chocolate chips, and spirulina powder complete this recipe.
This recipe is an interesting way to infuse your breakfast with caffeine.
Substitute 1 ounce (30 ml) of milk with a shot of espresso, or simply mix 1 tsp (5 ml) of ground or instant coffee with the original quantity of milk.
This adds 30 – 40 mg of caffeine to your overnight oats — an amount that research shows may be enough to improve alertness, short-term recall, and reaction time.
Top this recipe with your choice of fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds.
If you like the taste of coffee but want to limit your intake of caffeine, simply substitute the espresso or ground coffee with ground chicory root. Brewed chicory root tastes similar to coffee but is naturally caffeine-free.
SUMMARY Adding a shot of espresso or 1 tsp (5 ml) of ground or instant coffee to your overnight oats infuses it with just enough caffeine to wake you up. Roasted, ground chicory root is a good caffeine-free alternative with a similar flavor.
The bottom line
Overnight oats are healthy and easy to prepare.
They can be enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack, require minimal prep, and are a time-saving meal option.
Overnight oats are also incredibly versatile, as simply changing up the toppings gives yield to a large variety of recipes. They're worth adding to your meal rotation if you haven't done so already.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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