Monday, March 25, 2013

Overnight Oats + Chia Seeds

This post is part of a "Healthy Living" Series that I have started on Monday evenings. Read more about the series and my journey to a healthy lifestyle here.  

What you see here is culmination of two things I keep coming across on my favorite healthy living blogs for the last few months - overnight oats and chia seeds.  I finally tried both of them for the first time last week. While I recognize I am late coming to the party,  I'm glad I made it, because together, overnight oats and chia seeds make an easy nutritious breakfast. Overnight oats are simply rolled oats (not quick cooking) soaked in liquid overnight (clever name, huh?).  Chia seeds are now making their reappearance into pop culture.  Yup, that's right, these are the same chia seeds that children "plant" on to animal-shaped pottery. Except now, they are being recognized for their nutritional benefits, are marketed as a "superfood," as opposed being recognized for the catchy jingle.  (Which anyone reading this who grew up in the US during the early 90s has running through their heads right now).

What's great about overnight oats is that it takes minutes to prepare the night before, so there is virtually no prep time in the morning and no cooking involved.  The time the oats spend soaking make them thick and chewy. When the chia seeds are soaked in the liquid, they become gelatinous, sort of like tapioca balls, which was made them good for adhering onto terracotta pots, but also good for giving the oatmeal a nice thickness.  So the oats start out looking like this at night....

And look like this in the morning!

Sorry, no matter how hard I try, oatmeal is just not photogenic.  You'll just have to trust me that it tastes good.

I had to play around with the ratios a bit and read up on a lot of variations.  The possibilities for spices and toppings are endless.  This version, which is adapted from Kath Eats Real Food, has been the best for me so far.  Below the recipe is a list of other versions that I plan to experiment with soon.  Don't be surprised if there is an Overnight Oats: Part II sometime in the near future...

Overnight Oats
Adapted from Kath Eats Real Food

1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not the quick cooking kind)
1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 Tbs chia seeds
1/2 tsp brown sugar/splenda blend (can substitute with 1 tsp brown sugar)
4 medium strawberries
1 oz blueberries (a small handful)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt
dash of cinnamon

The night before you plan to eat this, combine all the ingredients into a bowl and mix together.  (You could also save the fruit for topping in the morning, but I wanted to have one less step to worry about in the morning).  Cover and put in the fridge.  In the morning, put in the microwave for about 20 seconds on high to take the chill off it, if desired.  Stir and enjoy.

Other Overnight Oats Recipes I want to try:
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Dough from Peanut Butter Fingers
Pretty much all the variations from Kath Eats Real Food
Not overnight oats, but I really want to try this version of microwaved oats from Fannetastic Food

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