Tuesday, August 23, 2011

commentary: overnight oats for beginners

Oats are healthy, we all know this. Instant oats tend to be a bit slimy, and, if you think I'm standing over a stove top making old fashioned rolled oats for breakfast you have lost your mind. I am not Betty Draper. The answer may be the healthy living blog sensation, overnight oats.

Me? I was an overnight oats virgin. But, I was so curious after reading post after post and variation after variation, that I had to put the overnight oats concept to the test. It is a simple, healthy, fulfilling, and easily manipulable breakfast concoction. For your reading pleasure, here are all the juicy details from my first time.

I based mine off of the recipe by Kath Eats Real Food. The base for overnight oats can always be the same and for my first try I used 1/3 cup old fashioned oats + 1/3 cup Greek yogurt + 1/3 cup original almond milk.

Combine these three in a bowl (I must admit, I was feeling pretty skeptical at this point and I imagine you, reading and looking at this, may be feeling that same way. Stick with me guys).

You can add both pre-soak and post-soak mixers to your base. Let your hair down and get crazy! Any mixer you want to absorb moisture or penetrate flavor into your oats should go in at night and any mixer you want to maintain the texture of (e.g., crunchy granola) should be added in the morning. 

The night before I added a few good shakes of cinnamon + sprinkling of golden raisins (left). In the morning, I added 1/8 cup of Cascadian Farm granola + a drizzle of honey + fresh blueberries + 1 tbsp of peanut butter (right).

Other mixer Ideas:
  • jams/jelly's
  • fresh and dried fruit
  • granola
  • brown sugar/stevia
  • chia seeds (thickens the mixture)
  • vanilla extract
  • nuts
  • shredded coconut
  • cereal
  • chocolate chips (butterscotch chips)
  • lemon zest
  • nut butter
  • honey, maple syrup
  • cinnamon 

Once you have mixed your base and pre-soak mixers together (left), cover the bowl and set in refrigerator overnight. The oats will absorb the moisture from the yogurt and milk. Next, wait in great anticipation for the magical transformation. In the morning your oats will be creamy, thickened and ready for eating (right).

Top and eat. Yuuuuuummmmmm.

My thoughts on overnight oats?

I thought overnight oats would burden me the night before, but they did not. I mixed mine up (and photographed the process, for that matter) while my dinner was in the oven. It was quick and simple. I'm not sure overnight oats will replace cold cereal as my 'regular' breakfast, but they are a great way to change things up.

I thought overnight oats would be soggy and weird, but they were creamy and delicious. The resulting mixture was a brilliant fusion of textures: creamy, gooey, crunchy, hearty, delicious, and satisfying. I did think the oats could have been a little thicker (see chia seeds note above), but the combination of mixers, especially the cinnamon, peanut butter (of course), and honey was delicious.

I thought overnight oats wouldn't be satisfying, but they really, really were. The morning of the oats' consumption was my long-run day - so I was especially excited to have breakfast waiting for me in the fridge when I returned in a famished state. The oats were texturally enticing and promoted slow, conscious eating (the very best kind). To top it all off I was shockingly satisfied the entire day. Satisfied, but not full and gross. Granted my overnight oats mix was ~150 more calories than I typically eat for breakfast - but, I needed them. And, the ingredients were healthy and high in fiber and protein, for a truly 'stick to your ribs' breakfast. Perfect after a long workout.

If you are an overnight oats virgin, give them a try and let me know here how it goes. If you are an overnight oats veteran, I would love to know your favorite combination of mixers.

For me...I have a feeling overnight oats and I are going to be dear, dear friends.


  1. I like this idea a lot...It's perfect if you are in a rush in the morning!! Fun pictures too!!

  2. As someone who makes his wife oatmeal or oat bran most mornings, I'm definitely interested in trying this out. Thanks!

  3. What a great, quick breakfast idea. I always find myself skipping breakfast but this is something I could just keep in Tupperware and grab on the way out. Thanks for sharing!

  4. @Fincher. Wow what a great husband you are. Try this and maybe it will give you a break in the morning.

    @Bethany. Yes! I imagine this would work perfectly if you make it in a to-go container.