Overnight No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal
Oatmeal is one of the heart-healthiest ways to start your day, but I’ve failed for years to make it my go-to breakfast because even when it’s hot, oatmeal just leaves me cold.
Anna Stockwell’s excellent post on epicurious.com’s, How To Make Overnight Oats Without a Recipe (aka in a jar) inspired me to try oatmeal again. Her recipe involved NO cooking, no cleaning, cute mason jars, and she said the healthy chia seeds lend it a tapioca-like texture.
Especially the chia seeds. First of all, I found it fascinating that they change texture; this I had to see. More importantly, chia seeds are a great source of antioxidants, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. For years I’ve justified (not accurately, I’m sure) my bagel with lox habit with the fact that high-sodium lox delivers heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Interestingly, chia seeds deliver omega-3s too, albeit a different kind which are not as effective as fish. But still—I eat a lot of fish so the fact that this wonder oatmeal is made with rolled oats, chia seeds AND is easy to make was enough for me to give it a try.
So out I went to purchase mason jars (I had no idea easy-to-use, adorable ‘wide mouth’ mason jars with measuring lines existed! Note: picture links to Amazon; I bought mine at Walmart.) I followed Ms. Stockwell’s ‘no-recipe’ exactly the first time, then ditched measuring (and the unnecessary salt and sugar) and have now had oatmeal for breakfast 15 days in a row—and I even took one on the train to have for breakfast on the go.
Nutritionally, the oatmeal is FAR healthier than the whole wheat bagel with a smidge of whipped cream cheese and 1/2 ounce of lox. It beats my old standby bagel and lox in every category but two: the oatmeal is a smidge higher in calories and the omega 3s from the chia seeds are not the cholesterol-lowering DHA sort. But it’s healthier in every other (read important) way.
This easy, delicious no-cook oatmeal, made with skim milk, chia seeds and rolled oats delivers 8 fewer grams of fat, 75% less salt (!), nearly 3x the cholesterol-lowering fiber(!) and more vitamins, calcium and potassium than my whole wheat half-bagel with lox:
In fact, it’s SO much healthier that even I just can’t justify going back to my bagel and lox. Plus I actually like this oatmeal.
Of course, there are lots of other ways to eat heart-healthy oatmeal. My post, The Triple Threat Oatmeal Breakfast, even features a crock pot recipe—which is good, but proved too much planning and cleaning for me. Plus, IMHO this refrigerated version is both tastier and easier.
I hope you give this ‘recipe’ a try. As I happen to love cinnamon that’s my flavoring of choice, but feel free to follow your heart (bad pun intended) or Ms. Stockwell’s suggestions for changing up the flavor profiles.
Take 1 minute to mix ingredients in a 'jar' and refrigerate overnight for a delicious high-fiber start to the day. Chia seeds add both texture and protein.
- 1/4 cup Rolled Oats
- 1/2 cup Skim Milk or Almond Milk
- 1 tbsp Chia Seeds
- 1 pinch Cinnamon (optional, but I use a lot)
- 1 pinch Salt (optional, I do NOT use)
- 1 pinch Sugar (optional, I do NOT use)
- 1 bunch apples and/or almonds, chopped (optional, I'm too lazy to add)
In an 8-ounce mason jar (or anything with a lid), add oats, milk and chia seeds and stir.
Add cinnamon and (optional salt and sugar.) Stir and cap with lid. In fact, stirring isn't even really necessary.
Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
To serve, either stir and eat cold out of the jar (like muesli) or pour into bowl, stir well, and microwave 1-2 minutes until hot. Optionally top with fruit and/or almonds for extra crunch and cholesterol-lowering punch.
- Read Anna Stockwell's excellent How to Make Overnight Oats Without a Recipe post for alternate ingredient ideas and important adjustments to make if you don't use Chia Seeds.
- Nutritional Value calculated using MyFitnessPal, using skim milk and no salt or sugar.