Meal prep isn’t just for lunch and dinner. Preparing a healthy breakfast the night (or a few days) before not only saves you precious time in the morning, but it also makes making a healthy option easy.
I don’t know about you, but I like to have as little “excess” time as possible in the morning (a.k.a. more sleeping time ;)). Even on days when I get myself out of bed at 5am to go to the gym, I still have very little time to make and eat breakfast. To avoid feeling even more rushed, or worse waking up even earlier, I’ve gotten into the routine of eating overnight oats every weekday morning. And with so many possible flavor combinations there’s no worry of getting tired of eating the same thing (and in actuality I pretty much keep to the same two overnight oats recipes. . .).
Time-wise, overnight oats are awesome as they take less than 5 minutes to prepare the night before, they are already in a portable container making it easy to grab and go in the morning, and as there’s just one container (and a spoon) you have very little dishes to do after eating. I like to make mine each night as I’m cleaning up dinner, but you can also prepare a few batches on Sunday for the week. I personally think they taste best when eaten within 3-4 days, so you may need to make one or two extras during the week.
Nutritionally speaking, overnight oats are also a champion-worthy breakfast. Oats are rich in fiber, which is important for heart health, bowel health, and weight management. I use a mixture of yogurt and a milk alternative, but regardless if you go all yogurt or all milk, you’re still getting in protein and calcium, which help with bone and muscle strength. Finally, chia seeds are a serious nutrition boost, giving you an impressive amount of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, minerals (such as magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium), and fiber. Besides being nutritionally important, chia seeds also give overnight oats a thicker, creamer texture. Chia seeds come in both black and white varieties, and I’ve found when counseling patients that the white seeds tend to be the best place to start if you aren’t used to chia seeds as they have a milder flavor.
The best part of overnight oats though is all the mix-ins and toppings! My favorites are cinnamon, peanut butter, coffee, and cut up fruits. For more filling power, you can also add your favorite protein powder or get creative with other nut butters (almond and cashew butter are delicious in overnight oats!). I’d love to hear some of your favorite flavor combos!
While I like to make my overnight oats nice and thick, the texture is easily modifiable by using more or less liquid when making them or, for thinner oats, adding extra milk when you go to eat them in the morning. I also like mine nice and cold from the fridge, but some people prefer them slightly warm or even microwaved. Bry, for example, likes to let his sit out for about 10 minutes before digging in.
So whether you’re new to overnight oats or are just looking for a new flavor combination, here’s a few healthy recipes to get your mornings off on a good start!
From The Healthy Toast:
Peanut Butter Overnight Oats (my all-time favorite overnight oats recipe!)
Other great healthy recipes:
Matcha Overnight Oats from Oh My Veggies
Strawberry Rhubarb Vegan Overnight Oats from Food Faith and Fitness
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Overnight Oats from Lively Table
Simple Blueberry Overnight Oats from As Easy As Pie
Vegan Carrot Cake Overnight Oats from Kara Lydon
Chocolate Almond Butter Overnight Oats from The Healthy Maven
Banana Bread Overnight Oats from C it Nutritionally
Coconut-Cardamom Vegan Overnight Oats from Oh She Glows