Overnights oats are a delicious, chilled version of oatmeal that involves just a few, quick steps to prep the night before. After reading the health benefits of each ingredient, you'll better understand the popularity of overnight oats.
Why Overnight Oats?
Taking control and thinking ahead about just one of your meals each day is the easiest way to begin meal planning. Meal planning is an important tool to help take the guesswork out of healthy eating when the minutiae of life takes over. It gives you a foundation to work off of during the busyness of the week and helps regulate the context of your eating. Enter: overnight oats! Perhaps the easiest meal to execute and so very delicious. To simplify your meal times and master the skills of meal planning, check out my free Meal Planning Bootcamp. Now, let's dive into the health benefits of overnight oats.
Health Benefits of Oats
Whether you choose to use raw oats, instant oats, steel-cut oats, or quick oats- they're all the same oats! They have just had different things done to them.
Rolled oats (aka old fashioned oats) are oats that have been rolled into a flat piece that helps them cook quicker, making them a great choice for overnight oats recipes. A ½ cup serving of old fashioned oats is 100% whole grain, providing 40 grams total and 4 grams of fiber.
Steel cut oats tend to be recommended for slower digestion, but rolled oats have a lot of research around them to make them a great choice. Quick oats have been pre-cooked and dried so they take even less time to prepare. The dietary fiber is all pretty much the same between types of oats. A 2022 study showed that oats, when added to a typical diet, reduced BMI, waist circumference, total cholesterol, LDL, and fasting blood sugar, making them a great addition especially if your goal is weight loss.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are an incredibly powerful little seed. They are a good source of essential fatty acids (healthy fats) and can contribute to a better ratio of healthy fats in your overall diet. In addition, they are a source of plant based protein.
Since they are easy to add to a variety of foods, not just cold overnight oats, it’s an easy way to add a little protein. Lastly, chia seeds are a good source of fiber, something almost everyone needs more of in their diet. A high fiber diet is associated with MANY benefits and less risk for several chronic diseases. A 2021 study showed that chia seed consumption decreased total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol and increased HDL cholesterol levels.
There are many milk options, depending on your taste preferences and dietary restrictions.
- Almond Milk is perhaps the most popular dairy-free option. The unsweetened variety is low in sugar and is considered a low glycemic index food.
- Coconut Milk is another vegan, dairy-free, plant-based milk that is a popular choice for those desiring a slightly thicker texture.
- Dairy milk has about 8 grams of protein per cup, as does soy milk. Soy would be a sufficient replacement for dairy as far as protein goes and is my go-to first choice.
Healthy overnight oats recipes will derive much of their sweetness from fresh fruit or frozen fruits. Strawberries are a common choice as they are low in sugar (only 7 grams per cup) but taste perfectly sweet.
Wild Blueberries are what we use in my recipe below. They have twice (2x) the antioxidant capacity of larger, cultivated blueberries. A growing body of research shows the potential health benefits of Wild Blueberries including gut health, diabetes, cancer and brain health (direct quote from Wild Blueberries). It may not be obvious, but all of these have a direct connection to performance as well as taking care of your body for the long haul. Plus, they are just so delicious.
Another superstar ingredient for easy overnight oats is Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is a natural source of protein and tends to have more per serving than traditional style yogurts. It is a whole food way to easily boost protein overnight oats and make it a more balanced meal. There are benefits to yogurt in general though, not just Greek yogurt. For instance, a 2021 study showed that higher yogurt consumption was associated with a 13% lower odds of colorectal cancer.
Have you considered adding flaxseed to your healthy overnight oats recipe? Flax seeds contain a type of fiber called lignans to help you meet your fiber goals. Flax is also a source of plant based omega-3 fatty acids which may play a role in reducing inflammation and may also support heart health.
A great way to begin integrating this into your diet is with adding 1-2 tablespoons to your smoothies, yogurt, salad dressings, and of course to your easy overnight oats recipes. It's important to choose milled or ground flaxseed because whole flaxseeds cannot be broken down by your body.
Blueberry Vanilla Overnight Oats Recipe
One of the easiest ways to receive the benefits from all of these powerhouse ingredients in one simple meal is by making overnight oats. If you're tired of breakfast just happening to you, take charge and get ahead of the game by prepping breakfast the night before to start your day with a delicious meal full of important nutrients. Ready for the easiest overnight oats recipe?!
You'll need only 6 ingredients for this delicious breakfast:
- Old fashioned oats
- Milk of choice
- Vanilla Greek yogurt
- Chia seeds
- Milled flax seed
- Frozen blueberries
See recipe card below for exact measurements.
Take a wide mouth mason jar and add old fashioned oats. Next, add your milk of choice and stir together until oats are moistened. Add yogurt and mix well. Add chia seeds and frozen blueberries and mix well. Put lid on jar and place in fridge overnight. Wake up the next morning and enjoy!
Tips for the best results:
- Get all your ingredients out and prepped before beginning. This makes assembly really quick.
- If you can, use the wide mouth mason jars. They make it way easier to dump in these ingredients.
- If you like your oats a little runnier, just add more milk. If you like them thick and creamier, add a little more milk.
More Easy Overnight Oats Recipes
If you love strawberries but never quite eat all the fresh ones you buy in time before they go bad, try these Strawberry Vanilla Overnight Oats. They are one of my favorite make-ahead breakfast recipes and taste perfectly sweet and delicious.
And if berries aren't your thing, try these Pumpkin Apple Overnight Oats. Shredded apple, yes shredded, adds natural sweetness, in addition to even more fiber and phytonutrients. The shredded texture perfectly distributes the apple flavor.Print