On the Go: Overnight Oats

I made it through my first week of work! If it hadn’t been for mason jars and overnight oats, I might have gone back to eating way too many Clif bars a day… But with my oats sitting in the refrigerator in a portable jar every morning, I could eat them en route to work. It gave me another fifteen minutes in the morning to finish up a workout, shower, and get dressed before catching the train because I knew a healthy, delicious, and filling breakfast was already prepared and ready to eat.

Besides the fact that you can prepare your breakfast the night before, overnight oats are great because there are so many different options. The oats soak up the liquid overnight and the flavors mix together, creating a chewy, flavorful, and filling breakfast in the morning that you can eat immediately. Even though I ate them three mornings in a row, I felt like I had a different breakfast each day. Fruits, nuts, nut butter, seeds, powders, spices, milks, yogurts, jams, chocolate… Customize your overnight oats to anything from gingersnap or pumpkin to peanut butter chocolate chip. I’ll share my basic recipe and then a few ideas. I described one recipe previously in my Clean Eating breakfast post. Make your overnight oats pretty by using a Mason jar! Covered bowls or Tupperware work fine as well.

 

Blue mason jar--my favorite color
Blue mason jar–my favorite color

Overnight Oats Basic Recipe:

½ cup instant oats

½ cup almond milk (any milk works fine)

¼ cup Greek yogurt (sometimes I omit this and just use almond milk)

½ tsp cinnamon—I might as well just add this here because I use it in all my recipes

**I usually add some water as extra liquid, but if you prefer thicker oats then you can omit this. Additionally, you can just add some more milk

And that’s it! Here are some options:

Gingersnap overnight oats: tastes like the cookie!

Once making the base, add 1 tsp molasses, ½ tsp ginger, sprinkle of nutmeg. Also, adding a bit of microwaved/cooked banana helps the oats absorb water and will thicken up your mixture.

Apple or pumpkin pie:

Add 1/3 cup of canned pumpkin or applesauce and a sprinkle of nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. A bit of maple syrup also tastes good in this recipe. In the morning, add some chopped walnuts or almonds.

Blueberry cocoa chia: so many antioxidants!!

Add 1/3 cup blueberries, 1 tsp chia seeds, 1-2 tsp cocoa powder. You can substitute any berry for this. Adding a bit of peanut/almond butter is also a good addition! Like a PB&J but with extra chia power.

Chocolate chip cookie:

Add 1 tsp vanilla extract, as many chocolate chips as you would like, ½ cooked banana. Optional additions include shredded coconut or walnuts. Also make peanut butter chocolate chip.

Another fun idea is to flavor your oats with tea—chai, green, roibos, any type of herbal. To do this, soak two tea bags of your choice in ½-1 cup of water for 20 minutes. Then add the tea water to your oats to soak in overnight. My favorite for this are chai (be sure to add some of your own cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg) and sugar cookie herbal tea from Celestial Seasonings.

I could make overnight oats every day for a year and still not run out of options. My favorites tend to involve almond butter, chia seeds, melted banana, and cinnamon. And in the fall, it is always satisfying to feel like I am eating pumpkin pie for breakfast!

Oats, chia, almond butter, and banana ready to eat
Oats, chia, almond butter, and banana ready to eat
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