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Discover the incredible health benefits of overnight oats and transform your mornings. Packed with essential nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants, these delicious breakfast bowls promote heart health, aid digestion, and boost energy levels. This basic overnight oats recipe is a heart-healthy breakfast that you can customize to your dietary and health needs!
Overnight oats have become very popular in the past few years, mostly due to convenience and the fact that kids and adults alike love them! People are becoming more and more aware of the health benefits of overnight oats. This breakfast is simple to make and is a great source of many vitamins and antioxidants.
My kids love to eat oatmeal. I have no problem making it, quick oats only take a couple of minutes to make on the stovetop!
However, making overnight oats is healthier and more nutritious for you than eating regular cooked oatmeal. This is because soaking the oats breaks down the starches that naturally occur in them, making them easier to digest and to better absorb the nutrients!
Nutritional Value of Overnight Oats:
- Oats in general have some very good nutritional benefits for us
- They are a good source of fiber.
- They have decent protein content.
- They are high in key nutrients for our bodies.
- They are a good source of complex carbohydrates.
High in Fiber:
Oats are a good source of soluble fiber, which means they can help with digestion and regularity. The promotes healthy digestion, absorption of nutrients, and proper detoxification processes in our body.
Fiber binds to excess hormones in our body so this is especially important for women who have hormonal issues because the increase in fiber will help get rid of the excess hormones in your body! Our fiber intake, especially in the United States, is severely inadequate, so eating overnight oats is an easy way to get fiber in!
Source of Complex Carbohydrates:
Carbohydrates have gotten a very bad reputation over time, but they are actually necessary for lots of functions in our body. It’s a popular belief that all carbs are bad for us.
We use certain carbohydrates to provide sustainable energy, for thyroid health, and for satiety. However, there are “good carbs” and “bad carbs.”
Oats fall into the category of good carbs due to their nutritional content, and fiber content, and are not processed. They also go through our digestive tract slower than simple carbs or simple sugars and therefore are better for our health, glucose levels, energy levels, and gut microbiome!
Good source of natural folate, other B Vitamins, and Iron:
Oats are a great food source because of their nutrient content. Oats have 4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein in a serving.
This is a great way to get in good sources of plant-based proteins. There is also 22% of your daily iron intake in a serving! Oats also have good levels of folate and antioxidants as well. By soaking your oats overnight, you are breaking down the oats’ natural phytic acid which can inhibit our body’s absorption of these nutrients.
Health Benefits of Overnight Oats
Oats also have some great health benefits for our bodies. By soaking oats rather than just cooking oats, we increase their health benefits even more!
Can stabilize blood sugar levels better:
People often think “How does something so carb-filled not raise my blood sugar?” Well, it is because oats are made up of long glucose chains called resistant starches. Resistant starches are not absorbed by our small or large intestine and therefore are reserved for breakdown by the bacteria in our colon.
By not being absorbed right away by our digestive system, like simple sugars and carbs, the glucose molecules are released slower into our bloodstream causing a slower and small spike in blood sugar. This is especially good for those who have insulin resistance and type two diabetes. They keep insulin levels at a steady rate instead of a quick spike and a sudden drop.
Filling and can give you more energy:
Since oats are digested slowly, they keep us full for longer periods of time. Since oats digest slower they also trigger a slower glucose release in our body which gives us constant energy instead of giving us a sudden burst of energy and then a crash later because our glucose levels dropped suddenly. By feeling full for longer periods of time and by stabilizing our glucose levels, oats can aid in weight loss and weight management.
Promotes Good Digestion:
There was a small clinical trial done that suggests that oatmeal “has an effect on gut microbial functions and may possess potential prebiotic properties that deserve to be investigated further.” This means that oatmeal has been shown to promote good gut flora which helps our body properly detox.
By soaking them overnight you are helping them retain more of their resistant starches than by cooking them alone. Since the soaked oats are also digested much slower than regular oats or raw oats the good bacteria in our colon are able to become “stronger” and therefore multiply and, essentially, “work better” in our digestive system. Oats are also naturally gluten-free, which means those with gluten sensitivities are able to enjoy these foods!
Can Lower Blood Pressure and lower risk of heart disease*
Oats contain antioxidants that promote overall general health to our body, especially our immune system. They also have a certain antioxidant, avenanthramides, which helps increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, and lower blood pressure. Oats also contain beta-glucan which is shown to help reduce cholesterol levels.
Different Types of Oats
If you go to the grocery store, you will most likely find multiple types of oats or oatmeal. Usually, you will see the following:
Steel-cut oats or oat groats are the least processed oats you can get. This means that they have an even higher nutritional value than the regular oats you see in the store. Note that there are regular steel-cut oats and quick steel-cut oats. The quick steel-cut oats have been broken down and processed more than the regular.
This is typically what instant oatmeal is made from. They are the most processed and cook very fast compared to old-fashioned oats or steel-cut oats. Their texture is slightly different as well and they absorb liquids more quickly than steel-cut or old-fashioned oats.
old-fashioned oats or rolled oats:
Old-fashioned oats are oat groats that are steamed and rolled into flakes. This breaks down the oat more making it so it cooks faster and has a different texture. The nutritional content of rolled oats is lower than steel-cut oats but they still have great health benefits.
Which oats have the best health benefits?
To make overnight oats I would use steel-cut or old-fashioned oats. They have higher health benefits and `the quick oats will be very soggy by the next morning if you soak them due to their properties.
Steel-cut oats and old-fashioned oats can be made roughly the same. Steel-cut oats may require more liquid than old-fashioned oats and may take more time to take in the liquid. If you happen to remember right before you go to bed to make overnight oats, I would use old-fashioned oats.
A Basic Recipe for Overnight Oats
I have a base recipe that I use for my oats and then add extras if I choose! This easy overnight oats recipe is very simple and therefore can have any additions to it without you having to make tons of changes!
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups milk (Or any liquid. Coconut milk, almond milk, or water works just as well!)
- 1 tablespoon nut butter (we use cashew butter or peanut butter)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
Mix all ingredients together and store in the fridge overnight!
Additions or toppings to overnight Oats
To increase the health benefits of overnight oats even more, you can add in whatever foods you would like! Our favorite additions are
- Fruit ( both fresh fruit and frozen fruit work)
- Chia seeds
- Protein Powder ( I love using Just Ingredients plain protein powder)
- Chocolate Chips
- Coconut Flakes
- Ground Seeds
If you choose to add fruit, it doesn’t matter if you add it the night before or the next morning. I prefer to add it the next morning because all the juices don’t seep into the oats that way and I can continue using my base recipe for other flavors that may not go well with fruit!
If you utilize protein powder, you can also add flavor! I have bought chocolate-flavored protein from Just Ingredients and used it to make chocolate protein overnight oats! It’s a great way to add extra, yummy flavor and add even more protein for a very balanced breakfast!
Tips for preparing overnight oats:
To make overnight oats you will need the following materials:
- A bowl or a mason jar with a lid
And that’s it! Along with a little fridge space, these don’t require much effort!
To have overnight oats that aren’t too dry you will want to have a good ratio of liquid to oats otherwise you will not reap all the health benefits of overnight oats. For 1 cup of steel-cut oats, I find that 2 cups of milk work best. For rolled oats, I find that 1 cup of oats to 1.5 cups of liquid has served me well! However, if I am to be honest, I don’t measure out my ingredients anymore.
If you want to make a large batch of oats, like I normally do, you will put your ingredients in a bowl or jar and then cover the entire mixture with liquid plus about an extra 1/2 cup of liquid over the top. In time as you make this more often you will get to know what kind of texture you like and how much liquid to add.
How To Serve and Store Overnight Oats
Overnight oats can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days before they get too soggy. Overnight oats can be served warm or cold. I prefer them warm while my kids will eat them cold!
Overnight oats are best if you serve them with eggs or another protein source to reap the health benefits of overnight oats. To stabilize insulin levels even more, it is important to serve them with another protein source since oats aren’t that high in protein. If I add protein powder, I will serve them plain, otherwise, I will add eggs or breakfast meat.
I hope this post gave you some insight into the health benefits of overnight oats. This is an easy make-ahead breakfast that the whole family will enjoy! You can make enough for one breakfast or enough to last the entire week! Linked Below are some of our favorite overnight oats recipes: