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Overnight Oats

At Linked Fit, we are all about making meals simple, easy, delicious, and nutritious!

When thinking of meals that are simple, easy, delicious, and nutritious, there is one meal in particular that comes to mind, overnight oats! This hearty breakfast is sure to pack a punch! Follow along to see how amazing overnight oats are and how quickly they will become a morning staple!


Type of Oats:

  • Quick (Instant): This is the most processed form of oats. Generally, they have been precooked and dried, which makes them cook so quickly. Since these oats are more processed, their glycemic index does increase. Typically, these types of oats can be found in prepackaged oatmeal packets (flavors or unflavored), but they can also be purchased as-is in bulk packaging.

  • Old Fashion (Rolled Oats): These oats have been flattened and steamed (or lightly toasted). These oats are less processed, yet they are still easy and quick to cook. These oats are most commonly used in baking and other forms of cooking. This is our preferred style of oats!

  • Steel Cut: This is the least processed form of oat, therefore they are the most nutritionally dense. This type of oat has only been cut 2 or 3 times compared to the other types. However, steel-cut oats do take much longer to cook and prepare.


What are Overnight Oats?

  • Overnight oats are simply another way to prepare "oatmeal" the night before.

  • Typically, oatmeal is prepared by bringing milk (or water) and oats to boil in a saucepan. Once a boil is reached, the heat is reduced to the low until the oats absorb the liquid and a personal consistency is reached. Oats can also be made in the microwave. Regardless, of the cooking method, oats are generally served hot.

  • When cooking oats, it is best to use a 1:2 ratio, 1 part oats to 2 parts liquid. Example: 1/2 cup of oats will be added to 1 cup of liquid.

  • Now, to prepare overnight oats, the oats and milk are combined in a mason jar (or other containers) and placed in the fridge overnight to soak. Over the next 4-6 hour period, the oats begin to absorb the milk and create creamy oatmeal that is generally served cold. Overnight oats also tend to have a few extra ingredients in conjunction with the main ingredients, these extra ingredients aid in the creaminess and richness of the oats! The same ratio of oats to liquid is used when making overnight oats as well.


Main Ingredients:

  • Oats: Old fashion oats work best for overnight oats. They hold up the best and provide the best consistency.

  • Milk: Dairy or dairy-free.

  • Sweetener: Honey, maple syrup, agave, brown sugar, or another sweetener of choice. Adds more flavors. (Optional)

  • Chia Seeds: Added nutrients and helps to illicit a pudding-like texture to the oats. (Optional)

  • Greek Yogurt: Added nutrients, added flavor, and aids in a creamy texture (Optional)

  • Vanilla Extract: Additional flavor! (Optional)


Additional Add-Ins:

  • Fruits: Fresh, frozen, or dried. Jams and sauces (ex: apple sauces) work well too.

  • Nuts/Seeds: Pumpkin seeds, almonds, pecans, walnuts, or ground flaxseed.

  • Nut/Seed Butters: Peanut butter, sunflower butter, almond butter, or cashew butter.

  • Spices: Cinnamon, pumpkin spice, or nutmeg.

  • Others: Protein powders, chocolate chips, or expresso (coffee).

Step by Step Process:

  • Place the desired amount of oats into a storage container (or jar), mason jars are our favorite way to prep overnight oats.

  • Mix in yogurt and/or chia seeds in the same container. Mix well.

  • Next add the milk, vanilla extract, and sweetener to the container. Mix well.

  • Lastly, add any add-ins.

  • Cover the oat mixture with an airtight lid and place in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours to overnight.

  • When 4+ hours have gone by, the oats are ready to be eaten!

  • Remove lid and add any remaining add-ins right to the container or jar. If made in batch, section out the desired amount of oats and place in a serving bowl with the remainder of the add-ins.


Basic Recipe:

  • Mix together: 1/2 cup of oats, 1/2 to 1 cup of milk, 1/8 to 1/2 cup of greek yogurt, 1 tbsp of chia seeds, 1 tsp of vanilla extract (or other flavors), 1 tbsp of sweetener, and any add-ins.




LF Favorite: Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats


Hot or cold?

  • Typically overnight oats are to be enjoyed cold, but they can be warmed up if desired. Simply place the jar of overnight oats in the microwave and reheat for 30-60 seconds.



Considerations:

  • Make sure to add enough milk. Stick to the 1:2 ratio from above, for example, 1/2 cups oats and 1 cup milk.

  • Water can be used instead of milk.

  • If you add yogurt to the base you can get away with less milk. Here it can be up to a 50/50 split, half milk, half yogurt. Play around with ratios here.

  • Definitely make sure to use old fashion oats. Quick oats are too refined and continue to break down the longer they are in a liquid. Nobody wants liquified oats. If you decide to use steel-cut oats you'll have to soak longer, almost 24 hours. Even then, they still come out a bit chewy. Stick to old fashion oats for the best texture and consistency!

  • Overnight oats can quickly become more calorie-dense. Be careful not to overkill the sugary add-ins. Just be mindful of the portions and ingredients going into your overnight oats. It helps to stick to plain yogurt and milk, from there you can use your sweetener, fruits, and or additional add-ins to give the oats extra flavor.

  • Mix well before eating. This is to ensure all the oats get some love after being in the fridge all night.

  • Experiment with new flavor combinations! Get creative, as long as oats and milk are involved, and play around with ingredients, textures, and flavors.

  • Depending on the add-ins, it might be wise to wait and add them toward the end of soaking or right before eating.

  • Oats are naturally gluten-free, BUT, they are contaminated during the processing. If you are celiac or have other gluten-related health issues please purchase certified gluten-free oats!


Storage:

  • Overnight oats will hold up to 5 days in the fridge. Although, it is recommended to consume them within 3-4 days for optimal freshness.


Benefits of Oats:

  • Oats are an excellent source of many nutrients. They are high in fiber, protein, vitamin B1, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper, and iron. They are a great source of vitamin B5 and potassium. Oats are rich in beta-glucans and antioxidants!

  • The antioxidant group known as avenanthramides is most commonly found in oats. They have both anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Aiding in the protection and risk of developing certain conditions and or diseases.

  • The soluble fiber known as beta-glucan helps to decrease LDL, total cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Beta-gluten promotes the feeling of satiety (fullness) by releasing a satiety hormone. It aids in the production of healthy gut bacteria.

  • Oats can help keep you feeling full, which is perfect for weight control. By staying full longer, one will hopefully consume fewer overall calories per day.

  • Oats are great for digestion, especially after they have been soaked. The starches are broken down which will help the body utilize the oat in a more effective and efficient way. It's also easier for the body to digest which is helpful when it comes to bathroom talk.


Enjoy!

  • Overnight oats are great for meal prepping! They can be easily prepared on a "Sunday" or daily routine. Check out our "Meal Prepping: The Beginners Guide" article. When it comes to meal prepping, overnight oats are the best bang for your buck! The ingredients are relatively inexpensive and the whole process of putting them together takes all of 5 minutes or less. By morning, breakfast is ready to grab and go! Add-ins can also be prepped the night before, the same thing, in the morning just grab and go!


Start the day of right with a delicious breakfast of homemade overnight oats! Reap the all the added benefits and kick the morning intro high gear. Fuel the body for success! Have fun with the incredibly versatile overnight oats and always remember to keep things simple, easy, delicious, and nutritious!


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