Oatmeal does not have to be boring! Try these simple recipes for a healthy, flavorful start to your day.
Have you tried overnight oats? If so, then you know how to quickly create a delicious start to your day. If not, you are missing out! Whether or not you have tried overnight oats, read on to discover some flavorful, nutrient-dense recipes that take only minutes to prepare.
Oatmeal has long been praised as part of a heart-healthy diet. Oats are a healthy source of carbohydrates and contain plenty of fiber including beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that is thought to lower cholesterol. In fact, some studies have shown that consuming 3 grams of soluble oat fiber per day may lower cholesterol by 5-10%.
However, not all oatmeal has such health benefits. Those packets of flavored instant oatmeal are filled with sugar and contain little fiber. Oat groats, stone ground oats, and steel cut oats are the least processed and offer the most health benefits.
These forms of oats require longer cooking. They are all delicious and offer a nutty flavor and a chewy texture. I do enjoy these types of oats and will often prepare a big batch at one time, enough to get me through the week. I will reheat them with some almond milk and add my favorite toppings for a meal that will fuel me through a busy morning.
Old-fashioned oats are made by steaming oat groats and flattening them with rollers. This is the type of oats that work best for overnight oats.
So, let's get started!
To make overnight oats, grab a class container that has a lid. Canning jars work great for this, but a glass bowl with a lid works perfectly also. Add 1/2 cup oats to the jar and enough liquid to cover the oats. You can use milk, any type of plant based milk, or even water; just be sure the oats are well covered with liquid. (Generally I use 1/2 cup oats and 1/2 cup almond milk) Place a lid on the container and stash in your refrigerator overnight. In the morning, you will wake up to a jar of creamy, healthy oats.
Tip: Toast the oats prior to using for a nutty flavor boost.
But why settle for ho-hum oats when you can add flavor and nutrients with the addition of some of your favorite ingredients? Amp up your overnight oats with these simple recipes.
Use the basic recipe above then follow the directions for each variety.
1. Peach, honey, almond: Add 1 tablespoon of honey to the basic overnight oats and stir well. Mix in chopped, fresh peaches. Top with toasted, sliced almonds.
2. Banana bread: Add 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp pure maple syrup and 1 tblsp. chopped walnuts or pecans. Mix well.
3. Black Forest: Add 1 tblsp. cocoa powder, 1/4 c. chopped cherries (fresh or frozen), and 1 tsp. cocoa nibs. You may need to use a bit more liquid due to the addition of cocoa powder. If you prefer more sweetness to this, you can add some honey, maple syrup, or sweetener of your choice.
4. Pumpkin Spice: Mix in 2 tblsp. canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix), 1 tblsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp ground ginger. Top with chopped walnuts.
5. Apple Cinnamon: Add 2 tblsp unsweetened applesauce, 1 tsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp cinnamon to basic oats. Mix well. Top with chopped apple and walnuts. *Because apples oxidize quickly, it is best to wait until right before eating to add the apples. Or, you can bake the apples ahead of time and use the baked apples as a topping.
6. Orange Berry: Mix 2 tblsp orange juice and 1 tsp grated orange zest to basic recipe. Top with chopped oranges and berries of choice. Oranges and blueberries are delicious together!
7. Carrot Cake: Yes, you really use carrots and this is delicious! Add 2 tblsp shredded carrots, 1 tblsp raisins, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp maple syrup to basic mix. Top with chopped walnuts.
8. Tropical delight: Add chopped pineapple and chopped mango to basic mix. Top with toasted coconut and chopped macadamia nuts.
9. Banana Berry: Add 1/2 cup mashed, ripe banana to oat mixture. Top with your favorite berries.
10. Oatmeal Cookie: Add 1 tblsp raisins, 1 tblsp chopped nuts, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
So now you have 10 simple, delicious overnight oats recipes. Be creative and mix up your own variation. If you prefer your oats warm, a minute in the microwave will do the trick (depending on your microwave). Just be sure to stir well after 30 seconds.
Though I do enjoy oatmeal, I find I need some protein to keep me full until my next meal. I have found a few delicious ways to add protein to my overnight oats.
Greek yogurt offers a healthy protein boost and a creamy texture to the overnight oats. Many times I just top my oats with plain yogurt, fruit, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Sometimes I mix Greek yogurt right into my overnight oats - generally I will add equal parts oats, yogurt, and liquid and let it sit overnight.
A scoop of plant-based (or any type) protein powder can also be added to the oats, though you will have to increase the amount of liquid used. Some people supplement with collagen protein and this offers a good amount of protein without any added flavor. Pasteurized egg whites are another option. Simply shake 3-6 tblsp of liquid egg whites with the milk you use, add the oats, shake again and leave overnight for an extra 5-10 grams of protein. No, it won't be like downing a bunch of raw eggs! The egg whites add a bit of creaminess without adding any extra flavor - you won't even notice they are in there!
There are so many options when creating your overnight oats. Seeds such as chia & flax and nuts such as walnuts and almonds add crunch and heart-healthy fats. Cocoa nibs provide antioxidants, crunch, and a chocolate flavor without the added fat and sugar.
Nut butters turn the oats into a more substantial meal and the added fats and protein will help keep you full. For best results, thin the nut butter with a bit of milk until well blended. Then add the rest of the milk you will be using and shake well before adding the oats. Keep in mind that nut butters are high in calories and some are high in sugar.
Peanut butter banana overnight oats sprinkled with some cocoa nibs tastes like dessert but offers plenty of healthy fiber, fat, potassium, and antioxidants for about 400 calories (using 1/2 c. oats, 1/2 c almond milk, 1 tblsp peanut butter and 1 banana).
Truth be told, I often enjoy a jar of overnight oats as my snack. Sometimes I just want something filling, flavorful, and creamy and these oats offer a nutrient-rich option that I can enjoy guilt-free!
Thanks so much for reading!
I hope I inspired you to try overnight oats or experiment with some new variations.
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