What are overnight oats
There are many reasons why some people skip breakfast in the morning. Be it there is not enough time, or simply they’re not a morning person.
With overnight oats you have no excuses. If you don't have enough time to cook in the morning, you can enjoy healthy overnight oats from the glass as a to-go meal.
All you need is a jar and a spoon! That’s why this latest healthy food trend has taken the food, athletic and work industry by storm--and for all good reasons!
Oats have been around for many years and among the healthiest foods but not until recently it’s gained major public attention because of its benefits and effortless preparation.
Sure, overnight oats are nothing more than oatmeal soaked overnight.
But oats are versatile and are never boring. You can adapt this power breakfast to your diet requirements, too if you’re vegan, vegetarian, high protein, plant-based or even gluten-free (just make sure you choose gluten free oats!).
Everything is possible.
Prepare your breakfast in the evening, leave it soaking and chilling overnight in pretty mason jars. The next morning, just top it with a mix of fresh or dried fruits, nuts, seeds and drizzle with your favorite sweetener -- done!
You can keep hitting the snooze button and still be on time for work or school.
Not only that, oats are a real all year-rounder so you can pair them with any fruits in season.
Oats may be, by far the easiest and healthiest of all common cereals. They’re so easy to prepare, super affordable and available almost anywhere.
They taste sensational and considered a superfood!
However, the biggest advantage of overnight oats, and here I’m sure, we can all agree is--we can all sleep a little longer in the morning!
Are overnight oats healthy
Oat are small grains with a big impact. It is made from seed oats and the whole grain is processed with all the valuable ingredients.
It is recommended eating around 50 grams of healthy oats every day as they can lower the risk of a lot of diseases.
- Protein packed: Oats are one of the best plant-based sources of protein, they contain around 14 grams of protein per 100 grams. You can still build muscles if you’re into muscle building. And you don’t need to worry about hitting your daily protein requirement if you’re vegan or plant-based eater.
- Complex carbs: The flakes consist of 70% long-chain carbohydrates and provide the body with energy for long term use. These long-chain carbs go into the blood more slowly preventing your blood sugar levels to spike. If you’re into sports, eating oatmeals 2 hours before working out is advisable.
- Digestive fibers: Oats are high in dietary fiber, beta-glucan. So, when they’re mixed with water, they form a gel-like protective layer soothing to the stomach and intestines which stimulate digestion and prevent inflammation. These will keep you full for a long time and with 100 grams of oats you cover a third of your daily fiber requirements.
Download >>> Overnight Oats: 7 Ways to Turn Your Basic Oats into Powerful Plant-based Breakfast
How to make overnight oats--the RIGHT way
1. The base: oats, of course!
These are always the first ingredient to go into your mason jar or any container with a cover. Oats are the foundation of your healthy breakfast, both literally and figuratively.
You will find two types of oats in the supermarket, these are rolled oats and steel cut.
Steel cut oats are less processed and are suitable for soups and stews but both can be used for overnight oats.
If you prefer to use other grains, spelt flakes are also highly nutritious.
However, if you’re on a gluten-free diet, you can use buckwheat, rice flakes, quinoa flakes and millet flakes.
2. Layer up with seeds
Seeds are a fiber and protein bomb. They stimulate digestion, provide essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, vegetable protein and essential fatty acid omega-3.
Some have neutral taste, like chia and flax, so you don’t have to worry about which seed will go well with your oats.
On the other hand, if you like your oats to have a sweet and nutty flavor, use sunflower seeds. For an earthy and nutty taste, use hemp or pumpkin seeds.
3. Temperature: warm or cold
Overnight oats can, of course, be eaten warm. Give it a little stir and simply warm it up in the microwave in the morning.
But if there’s yogurt in it, heating it in the microwave is not recommended as yogurt becomes flaky when put in the microwave.
4. Milk and alternatives
Normally, the optimal mixing ratio of oats and any liquid is 1:3. For example, for 40 grams of oats, use 120 ml of dairy or non dairy milk. If you want it creamier, add more liquid.
To make a vegan or plant-based overnight oats, use almond milk, soy milk, rice milk or coconut milk. Also suitable are vegan yogurt, tea and fresh fruit juices.
If in the next day, your overnight oats are too creamy, stir in some more milk and consume immediately.
5. Spices and sweeteners
Overnight oats can be delightfully refined with cinnamon, cocoa powder, gingerbread spice, vanilla extract, a hint of turmeric, protein powder or nut and seed butter.
Cinnamon and turmeric are popular fat burners. Whereas nuts or seed butter provide additional nutrients from vegetable protein and healthy fats, one or two teaspoons are enough.
If you like your oats sweeter, stir in a teaspoon of agave syrup, coconut blossom sugar or date syrup. As much as possible, refrain from using refined or processed sugar in your overnight oats.
6. Fruits for natural sweetness
What else to put in your oatmeal? Fruits!
These are usually added in the morning or they go on top for an easy overnight oats recipe. Whether fresh or frozen, regional or seasonal, you can use your favorite fruits.
Apples, apricots, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, dates, kiwis or oranges--slice them into small pieces, mash them a little bit or puree--they all work well with oats.
But be careful with preparing bananas, apples and other fruits that turn brown overnight. Squeeze a little lemon juice over these fruits before you mix them in with the oats to prevent them from browning.
7. Crunchy toppings
Cacao nibs, coconut chips, chopped nuts, chia, sunflower and pumpkin seeds or granola give your saturated oats a brilliant crispy texture.
Possibilities are limitless when choosing toppings to create these healthy, protein packed overnight oats!
8. The perfect container
We often see overnight oats in lovely mason jars. They’re nice to look at and take pictures with, but this is not a requirement, so you don’t need to bust out your credit card and buy all sorts of mason jars on Amazon.
What’s important is, your container has a cover. You can use a simple cereal bowl and cover it with a cling film.
See how easy?
More Tips for your overnight oats
- If you’re using yogurt (vegan), stir it in with the oats before leaving overnight in the fridge.
- Citrus fruits like oranges cause milk and yogurt to clump, so add them fresh before you eat them.
- If you’re using frozen fruits, stir these in. It will thaw overnight and make your oats refreshing and enjoyable especially on a hot summer day.
- Make twice as much, it can last for two days.
- In a jar with a lid, take your overnight oats with you to work or eat on the go.
- For an added crunch, sprinkle nuts and seeds and mix them in at night. Then in the morning, top them over your oats. This increases the protein in oats even more.
How long can oatmeal last?
When stored properly, oats can last for about a year. A best-before date printed on the package serves as a reference.
Whether in their original packaging or in a sealed container, be sure to place your oats in a cool and dry place.
If stored properly, you can still eat oatmeal even a few weeks after the expiry date if it looks good and is not discolored.
However, with whole grain oat flakes, you shouldn’t wait too long. These can go rancid due to the higher fat content.
Basically any food that smells and looks spoiled or bad should be disposed of.
Granted that, overnight oats that have been soaked in dairy free milk should be consumed the next day or at the most, the day after.
Are oats gluten free?
Compared to most other cereals, oats contain little gluten.
If you are sensitive to gluten, this may cause chronic inflammation of the lining of the small intestine called gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
Symptoms of gluten intolerance include vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea, constipation and severe fatigue.
Even if oats contain little gluten you should stay away from oat products if you are gluten intolerant.
This is because oats become contaminated during production when mixed with other cereals that have high gluten content.
Contaminated oats are also available in stores, so be careful and look at ingredients and packaging thoroughly.
For a more extensive gluten free diet guide, check out our blog post: Going Gluten Free Guide: 5 Things You Should Do to Simplify Transition
What happens when you eat oats everyday
Overnight oats is a true power breakfast that provides plenty of strength and energy.
This is because of its high natural protein and fiber content that stimulate metabolism. They’re complex carbohydrates break down slowly and keep you full for longer.
10 Good Reasons to Include Oats in Your Daily Diet
1. Oats support weight loss
In spite of their high calorie content (100 g = 353 calories) oats can help you lose weight. The high unsaturated fatty acids and magnesium content promote fat burning.
2. Oats boost digestive health
Oats have been proven to be a home remedy for gastrointestinal complaints. The indigestible fiber in oats acts like a protective layer that keeps acidic gastric juices away from the mucous membrane. This also helps regulate LDL cholesterol levels, improve a bloated belly and relieve constipation.
3. Oats are an excellent source of plant-based protein
One serving of approximately 50 g of oats is equal to 7.5 g of protein. If combined with other plant-based protein sources like seeds and plant-based milk, the protein in oats becomes even higher quality which the body can convert easily into its own protein.
4. Oats promote beautiful skin, hair and nails
As a result of eating oats everyday, you’ll get shinier hair, younger-looking skin and healthier nails because of the biotin or vitamin B7 it contains. Oats also contain plenty of copper, manganese and zinc which are all beneficial to skin, nails and hair.
5. Oats keep you full longer
We mentioned earlier that oats’ complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber, provide satiety for a long time. When soaked in milk or water, they swell up and get a larger volume. When you top it with fruits and seeds, you create a perfect and healthy breakfast that keeps you from having crazy cravings later in the day.
6. Oats aid in sports nutrition
High protein in overnight oats are a perfect source of energy especially if you’re an athlete. Because oats contain dietary fiber, protein, B vitamins and minerals, they are also excellent for building muscles. The magnesium it contains promotes muscle regeneration and relieves muscle cramps.
7. Oats promote healthy eating habits
Eating oats every day, will unleash your creativity and nourishing side that you may not know about.
Taking 5 minutes to make healthy and beautiful oats in a jar every night is something to look forward to doing and consuming in the morning.
It is one of the healthiest, easiest and most sensible breakfasts ever because it provides energy without filling you up too much and comes with all kinds of health benefits.
At the same time, you start to eat consciously, by becoming more aware of your ingredients which prevent you from picking unhealthy snacks and sweets from the supermarket.
8. Oats strengthen the immune system
The zinc in oats provide exactly the same amount of zinc in a steak. Zinc is an essential trace element that strengthens the body's defense function, promotes wound healing and fights inflammation.
9. Oats help regulate blood sugar levels
The beta glucan in oats helps lower cholesterol levels by binding cholesterols in the intestine, which are then excreted instead of going back into the bloodstream.
10. Oats improve nerve health
The vitamin B1 in oats helps build tissues and cells in the nervous system, provide energy and stimulate metabolism.
4 Most Common Oats Mistakes We Don’t Realize We’re Making
The principle of overnight oats or oats preparation is simple.
Mix a reasonable amount of oats with milk. Consume right away or store in the refrigerator overnight.
Of course, you can use ingredients according to your personal preferences or diet requirements.
If you prefer your oats to be creamier, you can add more milk, and top it with a wide variety of ingredients and toppings in the morning.
Easy, right? But most of us don’t realize, we often commit these 4 common mistakes:
1. Using water to prepare oats
When you use plant-based milk or other regular milk, instead of water, you’re filling your stomach and won’t feel hungry until lunch.
Do you prefer almond milk or coconut milk? Wonderful, the creamier oats will taste.
And since both types of milk contain less protein, add a handful of sunflower or chia seeds.
2. Using the wrong container
If you’re using a small bowl for your oats, you’re doing it incorrectly.
Instead, use a large and deep container to prevent the oats from overflowing after swelling.
It also gives enough space for the oats to develop their taste and combine with all ingredients.
3. Adding oats at the wrong time
There are two things to consider when you want warm milk with your oats.
If you like creamy oats, add them after boiling the milk. But if you want the oats to keep its shape, add the cold liquid before heating everything.
With overnight oats, you simply soak them with your favorite ingredients in the fridge overnight. But always put them at the bottom of your bowl or jar.
4. Forgetting to add salt
Whether you enjoy your oats sweet or savory, you should definitely add a pinch of salt.
Do this right at the beginning for a nutty and toasty taste and to prevent them from turning like glue.
If you do this in the end, your oats will just be plain salty.
Helpful Oat Hacks
Anyone can make overnight oats, but did you know there are a variety of ways to prepare them? And other ingredients you can use instead of fruits?
Here are some helpful oat tips for when you get tired of your usual overnight oats or if you have plenty of them in stock.
1. Boil oats with tea
Instead of boiling oats with water or milk, try tea.
Jasmine tea, for instance, blends well with oats and adds a large amount of antioxidants to your breakfast.
A big advantage of boiling oatmeal with tea is it gives oats extra flavor without extra calories.
Another alternative is fresh fruit juice. The combination of apple juice, cinnamon, oats and pecans are definitely aromatic and delicious.
2. Roast briefly or soak oats overnight
Overnight oats are the breakfast trend par excellence. With simply soaking your oats overnight, you get the best health benefits of your favorite ingredients.
Why should you soak oatmeal, you might be wondering.
Just like legumes, oats contain phytic acid. Phytic acid binds minerals to itself, which in turn inhibits our body from absorbing nutrients.
When oats are soaked, the phytase enzymes are released which help break down the phytic acid.
You can achieve the same effect by roasting oats briefly.
3. Bake with oats
When baking bread and pastries, you can replace up to 50% of the amount of flour with oats.
You can use rolled oats for this, or use steel cut flakes if you like a thicker texture.
Grinding oat flakes in a mixer and using them instead of wheat flour in making pancakes or cakes is also another technique.
But since oats don’t bind as well as wheat flour, it is advisable to either add a vegan egg replacement or half a banana to the dough mixture. Or you can just replace only half of the flour with oats.
4. Coat with oats
Oats have many uses, in fact you can also use it in hearty meals. That’s right, they’re not only for fruits and pastries!
They are ideal as breading or meat substitutes. Awesome, right?
Simply coat your plant-based meat or vegetables with oats and VeganEgg. You can do this real quick and it will turn out crispier and healthier than a normal breadcrumb coating.
Moreover, when mixed with quinoa, black beans or tofu, oats give vegan patties a meaty structure.
5. Use seeds
A great alternative to nuts is seeds. Whether it's hemp, sunflower, pumpkin, flax or chia seeds, these are perfect sources of protein and fiber and have fewer calories than nuts.
6. Use vegan cottage cheese
Vegan cottage cheese not only gives oats a creamier consistency, but also an extra boost of protein that has a satiating effect and ultimately reduces calories during the day.
7. Add a shot of espresso
Coffee in oats for breakfast? Coffee lovers, rejoice!
This combination of an espresso shot and oats is not only a good foundation, but also a perfect starter for the day.
If the taste of espresso is too bitter for you, add a drizzle of your favorite plant-based milk and sweetener to take the bitterness out.
Easy Overnight Oats Recipes
For almost 2,000 years, oats have been a staple food in any household. They’re filling and inexpensive--ideal for anyone on a budget.
They’re the most protein-rich cereals. The carbohydrates they contain are easily digestible and provide energy quickly.
The vitamin and mineral contents are remarkable, especially the B-vitamins, which are beneficial to the nerves and energy supply.
Oats also beat other cereals in their calcium, iron and zinc content.
But oats are not just food, they’ve also been used as a home remedy for digestive issues. Oats support the liver and pancreatic function and have a very positive effect on the digestive organs.
The beta-glucans help remove excess stomach acid, pollutants and unwanted bacteria from the body.
Needless to say, oats should have a place in any healthy diet. And with a multitude of possible variations, overnight oats are anything but boring.
Instead of eating the same cereal every day, you can make new creations with different fruits in season, seeds, spices, and many other healthy toppings.
Boil, bake, soak, roast, and coat--there’s so much you can do with oats!
Warm or cold, oats provide a pleasant and nutritious breakfast for a slow morning or on the go meal.
Really the most nutritious, flexible, colorful and easiest breakfast--overnight oats!
Are there other ways you’re preparing your oats?
What’s the most unusual topping you’ve tried? How did it taste?
Have you tried other grains for your overnight “oats”? What’s the best one, do you think?
Share your thoughts, comments, recommendations and recipes below!