I first heard of overnight oats a couple of years ago in one of my nutrition classes. To get a sense of how to take a diet history, I was assigned to interview the girl next to me about her typical day’s eating. Back up–actually, she interviewed me first, and striving for full disclosure, I told her about my daily sweet indulgence, my penchant for muffins, and my occasional handfuls of barbecue chips. (Along with, of course, the other good stuff I also eat.)
Then it was her turn. I think I remember her food narrative word for word because, frankly, it was so preposterous and holier-eating-than-thou. “Well, I start the day with a banana–before I WORK OUT FOR 90 MINUTES–then I have some overnight oats with organic yogurt, no sweetener. For lunch I have grilled tilapia and about three cups of vegetables…” (Who the eff eats three cups of vegetables in one meal?) Anyway, the list went on ad nauseum until I was convinced this girl was on a mission for the title of “World’s Healthiest Eater”–that or “Definitely A Healthier Eater Than You, You Scum.” But the main thing about the interview that stuck with me (other than those three cups of vegetables) was her mention of the overnight oats. What were overnight oats? I looked them up, only discover that overnight oats are an oatmeal you assemble at night, stash in the fridge, and eat cold in the morning. Well, that sounded nasty with a capital N. Cold oatmeal? Isn’t that what they feed prisoners of war?
Somewhere along the way, though, I did, and was floored to realize that….shhhh…it’s basically like eating oatmeal cookie dough. Especially when you make it with ingredients that make it taste like an Almond Joy candy bar. I’m not going to claim this recipe is healthy, exactly, but it sure is a hearty breakfast that will keep you full for the hours until lunch. (You could bypass some calories by subbing more almond milk for the Greek yogurt in it, or cutting back the coconut, almonds, and chocolate chips.) I also came to realize how incredibly convenient it is to put in the work of making your breakfast the night before so you can pull out a self-contained, 100% ready-to-go meal in the morning. Totally worth it.
As a food blogger, I realize I’m pretty late to the game when it comes to the whole overnight oats phenomenon. It’s one of those trendy foods that cropped up three to four years ago or so and has been a drippy mason-jarred mainstay for food bloggers ever since. (Seriously, what’s with the drippy mason jars? I can’t help but picture these bloggers with really sticky fingers after their oatmeal photo shoots.) So, I know–overnight oats, that’s sooooo 2013. But also soooooo tasty, and soooo convenient to grab out of the fridge on a busy morning. So okay, girl next to me in nutrition class, you win this one. As for your three cups of vegetables, though…I can’t compete.
Almond Joy Overnight Oats
(Inspired by Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth)
1/2 c. old-fashioned oats (gluten-free, if necessary)
1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
1/4 c. almond milk
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-2 Tbsp. mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 Tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 Tbsp. sliced almonds
The night before you intend to eat the oatmeal, mix all ingredients in a bowl or glass (or a drippy Mason jar–ha). Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight until ready to eat!