My first post when I began The Happy Hungry Yogi over four years ago was overnight oats. It meant something to be able to share a recipe that was both healthy and creative. The thing I loved most about it, and why I still do, is that with a simple selection of ingredients in specific portions you can create a unique and healthy version that not only tastes good but can be also be equally as beneficial.
Overnight oats are one of the things where the combinations are simply endless. I ALMOST never create the exact same bowl twice, and actually, that’s how most of my favorite flavors originate.
Just as endless as the flavor combos are the benefits which make it the one meal I think everyone should include in their menu. Not only are the benefits a powerful persuasion but it’s also one of the easiest and quickest meals to make.
Okay, okay, so it’s easy, lots of flavor options, and I mentioned good benefits but I bet you’re asking yourself why are overnight oats really THAT great…
I thought you’d never ask!
- Oats have been shown to aid in weight loss since this kind of starch digests pretty darn slowly and triggers the release of digestive acids shown to suppress the appetite and speed up calorie-burning. Swapping just 5 percent of your daily carbs for a resistant starch like this one could boost your metabolism by 23 percent, according to one study cited by Consumer Reports.
- With a bowl like this you won’t be tempted to make poor food choices out of convenience, I see you eyeing that high fat and refined sugar donut, which lets be serious, will ultimately sabotage your day.
- Not only can you savor those extra few minutes sleep in the morning since you popped those oats into a jar the night before, but the process of soaking these whole grains in liquid makes them easier to digest- win win!
- Bigger is ALWAYS better at breakfast. When oats are cooked over heat the grains shrivel causing your half of a cup of oats to look more like a quarter of a cup. However, when you soak the grains in a liquid they act like a sponge and absorb whatever they are submerged in resulting in an extra big bowl full.
- They aren’t kidding when they say oats are a “heart-healthy” grain since oat fiber, also called beta-glucan, has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels by 5 to 10 percent, according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism.
- Oats are also an excellent prebiotic, meaning it feeds the good bacteria and helps to maintain a healthy gut flora.
- When you need an all over superfood oats are a great source of plant-based protein and essential fatty acids which are necessary for a healthy strong mind and body.
- Why add in the zucchini you ask? Well for one thing, it packs a very mild flavor so it’s an easy way to sneak in those extra veggies without tasting like you’re eating a salad. In addition, zucchini is low in calories and high in antioxidants and, just like oats, can help aid in digestion. The other bonus to adding a veggie like shredded zucchini is it creates additional bulk to your meal both in quantity and fiber to keep you fuller longer.
- Extra! Extra! Read, I mean eat, all about it! With all of the optional extra add-ins such as protein sources, veggies, fruit and spices you can create an even more powerful meal!
To summarize, one serving of overnight oats can pack a pretty mean (in a good way) punch. It’s an entire well balanced meal in a single bowl that not only sets you on the right foot for the day, but is inexpensive, customizable, and simply put delicious.
Below you’ll find the basic recipe I follow to ensure I’m hitting the mark on all of the above plus a list of some of my favorite add-ins to maximize the benefits and flavor.
Pictured: the basic recipe topped with low fat cottage cheese + fresh berries + chopped raw pecans + a drizzle of maple syrup
Zucchini Overnight Oats
Author: The Happy Hungry Yogi
Yields: 1 serving
Prep time: 5 minutes
Set time: 4 hours or up to overnight
- 1/2 c gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/2 c raw zucchini, shredded
- 3/4 c unsweetened diary-free milk
- 1 tbsp flax meal
- 1 scoop collagen peptides* (use code THEHAPPYHUNGRYYOGI10 for a discount here or omit to keep vegan)
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- pinch of sea salt
Now for the fun part! Pick as many optional add-ins to create your perfect bowl!
- For an added protein punch: nut butter, hemp seeds, cottage cheese, yogurt, protein powder
- Gimmie all the fruit toppings: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, banana, apples, citrus, pomegranate arils, pears, figs
- For a savory bowl: over easy egg, avocado, crumbled bacon, goat cheese, green onion, thyme, Everything Bagel Seasoning
- Just a little sumthin’ sweet: maple syrup, honey, agave, chocolate chips, dried fruit
- For a little bit of crunch: granola, dried coconut, slivered almonds, crushed pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios
- Because zucchini alone just won’t do: shredded raw carrot, riced and steamed cauliflower, steamed and mashed sweet potato
- In a sealable jar or container add in all of the ingredients listed, except the optional add-ins.
- Seal the jar or container and give a good shake or two to combine all of the ingredients.
- Place in the fridge for at least four hours (overnight is preferred).
- In the morning serve cold or warmed (slightly- warm on the stovetop over low heat just until liquid simmers) and top with your favorite add-ins.
Storing: Overnight oats can be prepped ahead! They will last up to 5 days in an airtight jar or container in the fridge.