Use your slow cooker
You already love your slow cooker for soups, stews, and easy dinner, but did you know it's also amazing for those oats? "Using a Crockpot a quick way to have a hot, healthy meal ready in the morning, and you have absolutely nothing to do when you wake up!" says chef John Gallo, chef/partner of Pinch Kitchen in Miami. Check out 27 more healthy breakfast ideas.
Or don't cook them at all
Instead of cooking your oats, let them sit in the fridge overnight so that they are ready to go in the morning. It's creamier, denser, and you can add anything you'd like to them. Erica Dunn, a certified holistic health coach, has her own method: "The easiest way to whip up overnight oats is in giant Tupperware with a lid. To create a base, mix together ingredients such as gluten-free oats, vanilla, cinnamon, and whatever else you would like to add with a milk of your choice. (I like coconut hemp milk.) Snap on the lid and refrigerate overnight. They will be ready to go in the morning when you wake up!" she says.
We're all trying to sneak more nutritional value into even our healthier dishes. Danny Seo of Naturally Danny calls for adding Greek yogurt to double the amount of protein normally found in a bowl of oatmeal. He also recommends using milk (any kind), orange juice, or apple juice, instead of water to add more flavor.
Use thicker oats for better bite
The type of oats you use make a big difference. "For overnight oats, I prefer the thick cut oats for a better bite," says Alison Bailey Vercruysse, CEO and founder of 18 Rabbits Organics. Look for steel cut oats, which have a heartier texture and less sugar than other kinds of oats. "Soak 1 cup of oats overnight in a mixture of 1 cup of water and 1 cup of coconut milk. Heat and serve in the morning with dollop of plain yogurt and cranberry sauce and chopped almonds or pecans," she suggests. Want to switch it up? Try one of these yummy and healthy breakfast smoothies.
Thicken with chia seeds
Chia seeds are another healthy add-in. "Use chia seeds for a thicker texture and more filling meal; mix in 1 tablespoon per every 1/2 cup of liquid," says Alice Williams, health and fitness blogger at honestlyfitness.com. The seeds give a protein and fiber boost. Find out other ideas for a protein-packed breakfast.
Switch up your dairy
If you don't want to use cow's milk, experiment with different nut milks. "I like unsweetened vanilla cashew milk," Williams says. "It has a sweet, mild taste that isn't overpowering and creates a delicious texture when mixed with oats overnight." Going vegan? Check out these 19 tasty vegan breakfast ideas.
Make it a superfood
Sometimes it's really hard to get your daily vitamins, and a good trick is to sneak them into what you are already eating. "Add two scoops of your favorite green multivitamin like Amazing Food Super Greens and get a boost of protein, vitamins, micronutrients, and vegetable goodness in your oats, without making it taste like a salad," says Sarajean Rudman, a nutritionist and wellness coach. Check out these additional hacks for a healthier breakfast.
Add a spicy twist
Turmeric is a natural inflammatory and a great addition to almost anything, including overnight oats. "Add a teaspoon of powdered turmeric and a pinch of black pepper to your pumpkin spice mix and throw it all into your overnight oats," Rudman says. "The black pepper improves digestion and the turmeric will not alter the delicious taste of your overnight oats when mixed in with pumpkin pie spice." Take note of these unhealthy breakfast foods you need to stop eating today.
Avoid added sugar
Sugar content can derail even the healthiest of breakfasts. Instead, stir in three pitted dates to your overnight oats. "This will sweeten them up, but since the dates are left in their true form, they still contain fiber and won't spike your sugar levels," says Rudman.
If you don't like a sweet breakfast, try this savory variation. "Use vegetable stock as the liquid and add in some cooked vegetables leftover from dinner the night before," says Rudman. It's a great way to get in more veggies and use up leftovers at the same time. Try it with squash, broccoli, corn, whatever you have laying around.