Easy Overnight Oats

Start your day off right with this quick, healthful breakfast.

Chef Jeannette’s take on this super-simple breakfast is outstanding for both its taste and its health benefits. Just look at the all-star lineup of spices. Turmeric has significant anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is another highly anti-inflammatory spice that’s also soothing for the gut. Cinnamon may have some blood sugar-lowering properties, and is packed with antioxidants. Add a scoop of high-quality, grass-fed whey protein, and you’ve got a pretty terrific, healthy breakfast.

And the best part is that this recipe is totally customizable. As Chef Jeannette points out in her “Notes,” there are all kinds of great optional additions. Just mix and match a few of your favorites, and you’ll never get tired of this “basic” breakfast. And trust me—because I’ve done it—it’s the easiest thing ever to do the night before. —Dr. Jonny 

Featured ingredient: Oatmeal

Oatmeal is one of the few carbs that everyone likes. It’s been a staple of conventional high-carb diets for decades, yet it’s also accepted by people who watch their carb intake very carefully.

Oatmeal is one of the few carbs that everyone likes. It’s been a staple of conventional high-carb diets for decades, yet it’s also accepted by people who watch their carb intake very carefully. For a grain, it’s pretty high in protein, and the less-processed versions have a nice dose of fiber. Protein and fiber slow the entrance of sugar into the bloodstream, so the glycemic impact of oatmeal isn’t bad, particularly when combined with extra protein or fat.

What makes oatmeal special is that it has a kind of fiber called beta-glucan, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Beta-glucan also enhances the body’s immune system by turbocharging its response to bacterial infection.

Oatmeal comes in many forms. The difference has to do with how much processing the original oat groat has undergone. Packs and instant oatmeal are the most processed, while steel-cut oats are minimally processed and have a distinct texture. They also require the longest cooking times. Rolled oats are fine, too, and require significantly less cooking time than steel-cut.

In fact, rolled oats really don’t have to be cooked at all. Muesli, the famous Swiss breakfast cereal, is made of raw rolled oats mixed with dried fruits and nuts. It’s also fine if you just soak rolled oats in your favorite liquid for a few minutes before eating—no cooking required. (This won’t work as well with steel-cut oats, as they’re much harder and chewier.) But “overnight” recipes can be made with either steel-cut or rolled oats. Try it both ways to see which you prefer.

Notes from The Clean Food Coach

Overnight oats are very forgiving. You can use more or less oats or chia, depending on the thickness you prefer. Milks, fruits, spices, and sweeteners can all be adjusted to your own individual preferences. Try stirring in extras such as nuts, seeds, or even nut butters to add a bit of crunch and additional fat and protein. By letting the oats soak through the night versus cooking them, you slightly decrease their glycemic load. A cool morning bowl is perfect for summer, but feel free to heat it up if you prefer thicker or warmer cereal. 

Try our Best Overnight Oats recipe.

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