How to Make a Healthy Meal (or 3) out of Overnight Oats

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Overnight Oats recipe for Banana Chocolate Oats by Valaer MurrayBy Valaer Murray
In the summer, a hot meal isn’t always the way you want to start an already steamy day. But if you’re missing your morning oatmeal, overnight oats are more than just a perfect stand-in—they might just become your breakfast or snack of choice. Overnight oats have all the great heart-healthy and cholesterol-lowering properties of oatmeal, but less of the fuss of cooked oatmeal. Anyone who’s had to clean up the stove or microwave after the oatmeal has bubbled over knows what I mean. When I discovered these easy oats, I had to try them—and now I’m hooked!

Overnight oats are essentially cold oatmeal in which the oats soak up the added liquids—from almond milk to yogurt—while the addition of chia seeds give the oatmeal the thick, creamy consistency it has when cooked. As the name denotes, overnight oats require some preparation the night before, but making a few batches for the days ahead is truly efficient. Plus, having a pre-prepped breakfast means you get to hit the snooze button one more time.

Most overnight oats recipes from my favorite healthy food blogs are made in a jar with a screw-top lid, although they can also be made in a bowl or Tupperware, then covered with a lid or plastic wrap. However, there’s something whimsical about eating from a jar—plus it means that a breakfast on the go is that much easier. Some of the most enticing recipes I’ve seen sound more like dessert than breakfast! I recommend the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Overnight Oats from Live and Love to Eat, the Oatmeal Cookie Dough Overnight Oats from PB Fingers, the Banana Cream Pie Overnight Oats from The Oatmeal Artist, and the Healthy Berry Cobbler Overnight Oats from Eating Bird Food.

It’s fun to get creative with the toppings, using nut butters or raw nuts, fresh, dried or frozen fruit, and various sweeteners from honey to brown sugar. You can add toppings overnight for more depth of flavor, or top the oats off in the morning so the fruit is fresh.

With a basic recipe like this one from Skinny Taste, mix and match with different proportions and ingredients until you get the desired consistency. Below are two recipes that I created after some very delicious experimenting: Each one pretty much filled up a half-pint jar.

Overnight Oats recipe for Raspberry Beach Ginger Fizz Oats by Valaer Murray

Raspberry Peach Ginger Fizz Overnight Oats

1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup almond milk
Palmful whole raspberries
1/4 peach, cubed
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon ginger, grated
1/4 teaspoon roasted flax seeds
1/2 teaspoon honey

Combine all ingredients in a half-pint canning jar. Screw the lid on tightly and shake until the ingredients are combined. Place in the refrigerator overnight (or can be kept refrigerated for about 3 to 4 days); unscrew and eat from the jar.

Overnight Oats recipe for Chocolate Banana Walnut Oats by Valaer Murray

Chocolate Banana Walnut Overnight Oats

1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon chia seed
1 teaspoon chocolate-flavored green drink powder*
1 teaspoon chocolate-flavored protein drink mix**
1/4 cup raw walnuts, chopped
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 banana, sliced (for garnish, next day)

In a half-pint jar, combine all ingredients except the banana, which shouldn’t be sliced and added until shortly before eating the oats. Screw on the top tightly and shake until ingredients are combined. Place in the refrigerator overnight (or can be refrigerated for about 3-4 days); when ready, unscrew, top with sliced banana, and eat from the jar.

*I used Amazing Grass’ GreenSuperFood, but any chocolate-flavored green drink powder will work.
**I like Chocolate Shakeology, but feel free to replace with a chocolate-flavored protein drink mix of your choice.

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Photos by Valaer Murray

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