Overnight oats come to the rescue when you need a healthy breakfast that takes 5 minutes (or less) to make! They are high in protein and fiber and will keep you full for hours!
What are Overnight Oats?
Overnight oats are a healthy breakfast that you can make the night before. By soaking the oats in your milk of choice overnight, they’re ready to eat in the morning. They’re a perfect choice when you have a busy morning but still want to eat something healthy.
Overnight Oats Benefits
Overnight oats are high in fiber (both soluble and insoluble), resistant starch, and prebiotics. They are also gluten-free (if labeled 'certified gluten-free') and low FODMAP. Plus, they're great for meal prep because you can make multiple portions at a time and eat them throughout the week!
Overnight Oats Health Benefits
Oats are a good source of fiber - 1 cup of dry rolled oats contains about 8 grams of fiber (1). For reference, the recommended intake of fiber is about 25-34 grams per day for men and women (2). That means that oats could be providing up to 32% of your recommended fiber intake. KA-POW that’s awesome!
I could go on and on about why fiber is good for you, but to keep it simple, fiber promotes healthy digestion (aka relieves constipation and helps you poop regularly), may lower blood cholesterol, helps stabilize blood sugar, and helps you feel full longer. Convinced yet?
Oats are even more awesome because they are high in soluble fiber, especially a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, and have been shown to improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity (3). Soluble fiber absorbs water, turning gel-like during digestion, and slows down digestion.
Overnight oats are also high in resistant starch, which is a starch that escapes digestion. Resistant starches are usually destroyed during the cooking process, which is why overnight oats, rather than hot oatmeal, are a good source of resistant starch.
I call these super-starches because they have so many health benefits: they may lower post-prandial (after eating) blood sugars and insulin response, lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides, lower fat storage, and improve satiety (4).
Oats have been studied for their prebiotic properties (5). They feed the good gut bacteria, making those probiotics thrive! Along with fiber and resistant starch, prebiotics are also important for digestive health.
Are Oats Low FODMAP?
Yes, oats are low FODMAP, to an extent. For those on a low FODMAP diet, up to ½ cup of rolled oats are considered low FODMAP per the Monash University low FODMAP guidelines. This makes oats a nutritious and easy-to-tolerate breakfast option while on the low FODMAP elimination diet.
Are Oats Gluten-Free?
For those with Celiac disease or non-Celiac gluten sensitivity who are avoiding gluten, oats are naturally gluten-free (6). However, because of the common cross-contact between wheat and oat, make sure to look for “certified gluten-free” on the packaging to ensure that your oats are truly gluten-free if you follow a gluten-free diet.
Overnight Oats Meal Prep
Overnight oats are a great meal prep option for breakfast. They take about 5 minutes to make the night before, and the best part is that you can make several portions at a time!
Overnight Oats Ingredients
- Rolled oats (also known as old-fashioned oats): As mentioned before, oats are high in soluble fiber, resistant starch, and prebiotics. I prefer old-fashioned rolled oats because I think quick oats are too mushy and haven’t actually tried using steel cut oats!
- Chia seeds: These little seeds pack so many nutrients, it’s actually insane! Chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, iron and calcium. They can also help thicken your oats because they expand when soaked in a liquid.
- Almond milk (or milk of choice): The milk serves as a vessel for soaking your oats. I personally prefer unsweetened vanilla almond milk, but you do you!
- Greek Yogurt: Yogurt makes it extra creamy, and if you choose Greek yogurt or skyr, you get a boost of protein with it too!
Overnight Oats Ratio
The tried and true ratio that I use for overnight oats is 1:2 oats to liquid. By this, I mean 1 part oats for every 2 parts liquid. Basically, if you’re adding ½ cup oats, make sure you add 1 cup of liquid of your choice - whether that is almond milk, milk, or water. This ensures that all of the oats have adequate liquid to soak in overnight.
In addition to that, I add yogurt for a protein boost and to make it thicker. If you're adding yogurt, use the 1:1 ratio of oats:yogurt. So, if you're using ½ cup oats, use ½ cup yogurt.
How to Make Overnight Oats with Greek Yogurt
You can make overnight oats in a jar or any other airtight container. And to save time later on, you can even fill up 3 jars/containers for 3 quick breakfasts during the week!
Fill each container with ⅓ cup of oats, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, and ⅔ cup of your desired milk. Mix it together with a fork or spoon. Add a dollop of yogurt and mix again. Voila, you’re done!
Put it in your fridge overnight. In the morning, top with your desired toppings. I’ve listed my favorite toppings ideas below if you’re looking for some inspiration!
More Easy Overnight Oats Recipes
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Overnight Oats
- Blueberry Almond Overnight Oats
- Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats
- Cranberry Sauce Overnight Oats
Healthy Overnight Oats with Chia
- ⅔ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1⅓ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
- ⅔ cup greek yogurt
- maple syrup, to taste optional
- Combine oats, chia seeds, almond milk, and greek yogurt in a jar.
- Store overnight or for at least 2 hours in refrigerator.
- Top with desired toppings (see list below for ideas)
If you made this recipe, I'd love to see your creation! Don't forget to snap a picture and tag me @thebalancedbite on Instagram so I can see your delicious creations. Feel free to follow along on Pinterest and Facebook for other tasty recipes!
This recipe is super versatile, so you can adjust it to fit your needs.
- Make it thicker: If you prefer a thicker consistency, add less liquid.
- Vegan version: Omit the yogurt or use a plant-based yogurt instead.
- Make it gluten-free: Ensure that your oats are certified gluten-free.
- Low FODMAP version: Omit the Greek yogurt or use a lactose-free yogurt instead.
- Have fun with it! See below for 12 of my favorite recipe ideas!
My favorite toppings combine fruits and nuts/nut butters:
- Fruit: Strawberries, raspberries, cherries, peaches, bananas, pineapple, apple, and mango are all great fruit additions to overnight oats.
- Nuts or nut butter: Almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, peanut butter, and almond butter all make great toppings.
I like these two combinations as toppings for a few reasons:
- First, the nutritional benefits alone are worth mentioning! Fruit provides fiber, vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants, and natural sugar. Nuts and nut butter provide healthy fats and a little bit of protein.
- Second, the flavor and texture is contrasting in the best way. Fruit is sweet and usually pretty soft, while nuts are savory and usually crunchy. Sign me up, buttercup!
12 Overnight Oats Recipes
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Overnight Oats. This is my favorite overnight oats recipe and combines my childhood love for PB&J with my go-to breakfast.
- Blueberry Almond Overnight Oats. Full of antioxidants and fiber, this is one of my favorite recipes!
- Pumpkin Pie Protein Overnight Oats. Tastes like pumpkin pie, but much much healthier and great for breakfast!
- Cranberry Sauce Overnight Oats. Tangy and sweet deliciousness.
- Apple Cinnamon and Walnut. Core and slice 1 medium apple; add to overnight oats with 1 tablespoon of walnuts, and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of cinnamon.
- Pineapple Coconut. Add ½ cup of thawed frozen pineapple chunks and 1 tablespoon of coconut flakes.
- Chocolate Raspberry. Inspired by my Chocolate Raspberry Chia Pudding. Mix in 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup and ½ cup thawed frozen raspberries.
- Peanut Butter Banana. Add 1 medium sliced banana and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.
- Pecan Pear. Add 1 medium chopped pear, 1 tablespoon of pecans, and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon.
- Cherry Tahini. Add ½ cup of chopped cherries, 1 tablespoon of tahini, and 1 teaspoon of maple syrup.
- Trail Mix. Add 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries and 1 tablespoon of mixed nuts.
- Peach Almond Butter. Add 1 medium chopped peach and 1 tablespoon of almond butter.
Have you made overnight oats before? What are your favorite toppings? Let me in the comments below!
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