Most people hate oatmeal despite its nutritional value, so when I first became a mama I set out to help my children enjoy it from a young age. All our kids began eating oatmeal from the time they were toddlers and I’m glad to say they have been non-fussy, regular eaters of oats ever since.
I started preparing oats the traditional way, which involves cooking rolled oats in water over a stove and stirring occasionally. I quickly learned that doing this while having a baby riding on my hip took up simply too much of my time and energy.
That’s when I turned to instant oatmeal. What I loved about instant oatmeal was its simplicity – mix in hot water and voila! Done.
Instant oatmeal can taste pretty bland on its own, so I’ve always added a touch of fresh milk, ground flaxseed or chia seeds, fresh fruit (banana, apple, or mango) and a drizzle of honey. If I’m in a real hurry, I replace fresh fruit with dried fruit like raisins, cranberries or apricots. We have instant oatmeal like this between 2-3 times a week, served with eggs and a mug of kefir and the kids love it.
The convenience of preparing instant oatmeal definitely makes it a quick and easy option, but personally I have never liked its mushy consistency. Also, instant oatmeal is a processed version of rolled oats and therefore isn’t as great nutritionally.
Recently a friend introduced me to a fantastic way of preparing rolled oats without cooking it – overnight oatmeal. When I first heard about this idea of overnight oatmeal, I was disgusted. Eating raw oatmeal that had been soaked overnight simply did not impress me! However, missing the nutty flavour of rolled oats and having a possibility of abandoning processed, mushy instant oatmeal, I decided to give it a try.
I followed this recipe by Organize Yourself Skinny was pleasantly surprised! The kids oohed and aahed over it and Sweet Man enjoyed it too.
Overnight oatmeal, served in a jar, is now our favourite way of eating oatmeal. Basically, it is rolled oats soaked overnight in milk or any other nutritious liquid.
The best part I like about it is that because the oats get processed in the liquid, there is no cooking or additional work needed. I prepare it at night after the kids are in bed, and there’s hardly anything else to be done about it in the morning. Now that’s absolutely fantastic for a busy mama like me!
In the morning we just stir it up to loosen it, add a bit more liquid if we like, and enjoy. Sometimes we drizzle a bit of honey on top. We eat it cold, straight from the fridge and it’s a great refreshing start to the morning. You could warm it up on the stove, but since we all enjoy it cold I haven’t tried that.
So far I have used fresh cow’s milk. Recently I made almond milk and it’s sitting in my fridge now waiting to be used for our next serving of overnight oatmeal. I can’t wait to try it and will let you know how it goes!
So how do we prepare overnight oats? The two basic ingredients are 1 part rolled oats mixed with 1 part liquid. For the adults, I use 5 tablespoons oats and 5 tablespoons liquid. Our 9 and 7 year old kids manage 4 tablespoons of each, and our 4 year old eats 3 tablespoons. If we want our oats looser, we just add more liquid.
To enrich these basic ingredients, I add 3-5 tablespoons fruit, depending on how fruity I like our oats to be. So far, we’ve tried apple, banana, and fresh peaches – yummy! I also add other things to boost it up, like chia seeds (to add fiber, protein and omega fatty acids), organic raisins, and sometimes a dash of cinnamon.
Really, you could add any kind of spice, seeds, nuts, even chocolate chips. Just bear in mind that crunchy ingredients like nuts would be better added only in the morning so they don’t get mushy.
The method to prepare overnight oats is easy. Just 3 steps.
Step 1: Put all your ingredients into a jar, beginning with the oats, then other enriching ingredients.
Step 2: Pour in milk, enough to cover the oats.
Step 3: Stir contents, cap the jar, and leave overnight in the fridge.
Once prepared, overnight oatmeal can sit in the fridge between 5-8 hours before eating, so on the days that we have toast for breakfast I sometimes prepare overnight oatmeal in the morning to be eaten as an afternoon tea time snack.
Here’s a handy dandy printable for our most popular overnight oats recipe – Banana Cinnamon Overnight Oats!
- 5 tbsp rolled oats
- 1 small banana, diced
- 3 raisins, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5 tbsp milk, or enough to cover oats
- Put all the ingredients into a jar, beginning with the oats.
- Pour in milk, enough to cover the oats.
- Stir contents, cap the jar, and leave overnight in the refridgerator.
- Before eating, stir contents and add more milk if desired.