February is Heart Health Month, and what better way to celebrate than with a hearty and healthy breakfast option? Enter oats. These humble grains pack a powerful punch when it comes to heart health and overall wellness. Oatmeal has been a staple in my household for decades, and part of my Phase 1 Food List for clients, particularly on training days as the carbohydrates provide your body with the fuel it needs to prepare your muscles for working out. Now, as San Diego’s best Personal Trainer awake at 4:00 a.m. every day, you won’t find me cooking over the stove half-asleep. So, here’s my game changing secret: Overnight Oats.
What are the Health Benefits of Oats?
- Good for the Heart: Oats are known to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. This is due to the high levels of soluble fiber in oats, which helps to remove cholesterol from the body.
- Rich in Nutrients: We all know that oats are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which is important for maintaining healthy digestion and keeping you feeling full for longer. However, oats are also packed with copper, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamins, manganese and other minerals that help keep your g healthy and your digestive system running smoothly.
- Supports Weight Management: Because oats are rich in fiber, they can help you feel full and satisfied, reducing the temptation to snack on unhealthy foods.
- Good for Blood Sugar Control: The fiber in oats helps to slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, which can help to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Hair Health: Having that Quaker on the box, with his white luscious locks was maybe no accident. Oats are enriched with saponin, beta-glucan and protein. Saponin acts like a cleansing agent for the scalp and beta-glucan aids in moisture retention.
What are Overnight Oats?
Overnight oats are a type of no-cook oatmeal that are made by combining oats with a liquid (such as milk or yogurt) and allowing the mixture to sit in the refrigerator overnight. The result is a creamy, delicious and healthy breakfast option that can be customized with a variety of toppings and flavors.
The Benefits of Overnight Oats
- Convenience: One of the biggest advantages of overnight oats is the convenience factor. You can prepare a week’s worth of breakfasts in just a few minutes, giving you one less thing to worry about in the morning.
- Versatility: Overnight oats are incredibly versatile and can be customized to suit your taste buds. You can add fruit, nuts, spices, and sweeteners like honey or (my favorite) peanut butter to create a variety of delicious flavors.
- Nutrient-Dense: When overnight oats are left to soak overnight, their nutritious value is preserved as compared to instant oats that are heated. This nutrient-dense option can help to provide you with the energy and nutrients you need to start your day…especially training days where the carbohydrates
- Easy to Digest: Because the oats have had time to soak in the liquid, they are easier to digest than traditional oatmeal. Because oats are digested at a slower pace, people consuming them prior to working out will experience a longer payoff of its energizing benefits.
Overnight Oats Recipe
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup milk of your choice
- 1 tsp. sweetener (I suggest honey or peanut butter)
- Toppings of your choice (fresh fruit, nuts, spices, seeds)
- In a large jar or container with a lid, combine the oats, milk, sweetener. Stir well to combine.
- Add your desired toppings and give the mixture a final stir.
- Cover the jar or container with a lid and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
- In the morning, give your oats a stir and enjoy! You can eat them cold or heat them up in the microwave.