Okay, so I’m gonna level with you guys. I’ve been eating terribly the past week or so. And when I say terrible, I don’t mean “I had a slice of pizza for lunch instead of salad, oh no” kind of terrible. I mean “I had a caprese salad and a rice krispie treat and a slice of pizza and a piece of coffee cake and some noodle salad for lunch, and some yogurt pretzels for a snack, and for dinner I ate a huge plate of rice and beans and half a giant bowl of chips and a salad smothered in creamy cheese dressing and a giant chocolate cupcake” kind of terrible. I wish I could say I’m the kind of person that forgets to eat when I’m stressed, but lately I’ve clearly had the opposite problem. And I’ve been plenty stressed, believe me.
That being said, finals are essentially over and I’m about to go home for a few weeks and starting today, I’m making it a priority to go back to my normal, healthy-foods-filled, pizza-lacking diet. Not gonna lie, the giant cinnamon rolls and cookies and meals with too many carbs have certainly been delicious, but moderation is key.
To kick off my return to normalcy, I decided to try out something new for breakfast. Typically, I stick to either plain Greek yogurt and fruit, a bowl of Special K with soy milk, or some instant oatmeal for breakfast. I know, it isn’t very exciting. Although I don’t mind the occasional big breakfast on a weekend, I’m not really a pancake and eggs every morning kind of person.
In the past, I’ve always just bought instant oatmeal packs. You know, the Quaker flavored kinds you just add boiling water to. They’re quick, filling, and taste good (my personal favorites are the apple cinnamon and cinnamon spice kinds). But the instant packs have a lot of added sugars (and other things) that aren’t particularly fantastic for you, so when I recently bought some old fashioned oats for some cookies I was making (for the record, this was pre-binge eating phase, the cookies were gifts), I figured I could try making some actual oatmeal sans microwave.
I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes on Pinterest and various blogs lately for overnight oats, and they’ve kinda intrigued me. Basically, these recipes involve soaking oats with milk and other ingredients overnight in the refrigerator and then eating it (cold, typically) the next morning. A lot of the recipes include things like chia seeds, which I’ve yet to buy or ever try, Greek yogurt, nuts, and dried fruit. It’s essentially muesli, which I am somewhat obsessed with, so I thought I’d give these overnight oats a try. While plain oatmeal is delicious, this sounded like something different that might even taste better (!).
I stuck with a pretty basic list of ingredients because it’s my first time making overnight oats, and I didn’t want to go too “extreme” quite yet. I also kept the portion size relatively small compared to other recipes that used as much as a cup of dry oats or half a cup of yogurt (one suggested serving of oats is a half cup dry). Because I tend to go to the gym after breakfast, I don’t like eating something that’s going to make me uncomfortably full pre-workout.
So here’s what I came up with. I had a bag of unsweetened frozen berries in the freezer I’d gotten at Safeway, so I decided to add that to the oatmeal. I went with a combo of soy milk and Greek yogurt because I wanted the protein from the yogurt, but I didn’t want the oats to be too tangy/tart, so I figured the soy milk would make the taste smoother. You could add real sugar and vanilla, but I stuck to just Truvia to save some calories (plus I didn’t want it to be overly sweet). And of course, I added cinnamon because it makes everything better. Well…almost everything. All you have to do is mix the ingredients, shake, and store in the fridge. Super simple, right? Because I’m just so hip, I had to store it in a mason jar…pretty sure it made it taste better. (Plus, it made for easy cleanup the next morning.)
The end result was DELICIOUS. Seriously. Maybe it’s just me overreacting, but it was so freaking good. Better than normal oatmeal, by far. I wasn’t sure I’d like it being cold, but I clearly enjoyed it. The texture was nice and smooth (similar to when you make normal warm oatmeal), the cinnamon added a great flavor, it was sweet but not too sweet, and the berries blended in perfectly. I will definitely be making this often, especially because it was so easy.
This recipe makes one serving; if you’re extra-hungry or typically eat a large breakfast, I’d recommend doubling it.
Overnight Refrigerator Oats
1/3 cup dry old fashioned oats
1/3 cup light soy milk or unsweetened almond milk (I used Silk Light Original)
1 oz. nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 Truvia packet (or 1 tbsp sugar)
dash of cinnamon
approx. 35 grams frozen mixed berries
1. In a mason jar, combine all ingredients.
2. Seal and shake to mix well. 3. Store in refrigerator overnight.
4. Eat the next morning cold or heated up.
5. OPTIONAL: Top with granola or chopped nuts for an added crunch.
NUTRITION INFO: approx. 110 calories, 18g carbs, 1g fat, 6g protein, 4g sugar, 57mg sodium
If you don’t like berries (what’s wrong with you, though?), you could try one of the following flavor combos:
Apple Cinnamon (about 1/4 cup diced apple, dash of cinnamon)
Peanut Butter Chocolate (1 tbsp natural peanut butter, sprinkle of dark chocolate chips)
Dried Fruit & Nut (few pieces of chopped dried fruit, like apricots, handful of chopped walnuts or pecans, dash of ginger and cinnamon)
Peaches & Cream (about 1/4 cup drained canned peaches or fresh, 1/4 tsp vanilla, cinnamon)
Peanut Butter Banana (sliced banana, 1 tbsp peanut butter)