Overnight oats might be the simplest and most nutritious breakfasts that you can make.
The fact that they're made the night before means you can simply take them out in the morning with no further preparation which is just another benefit for any busy parent.
But is there a pattern on how to make the perfect overnight oats so that they turn out just the perfect taste, aroma and consistency?
Yep and in just a few simple steps you too can become an expert on this ideal healthy breakfast.
Ingredients You Need
The type of oats you choose for your version is entirely up to you.
I always use tiny rolled oats because they easily blend with all the other ingredients and give a nice and fluffy texture in the morning. But you can use steel cut if you prefer.
Oats are a great source of complex carbohydrates that will give your body enough fuel to get it through the morning.
They also provide significant amount of fiber which can support the digestive system. And not to mention all the wonderful nutrients such as magnesium, manganese and potassium.
If I am making for my 2-year old son, I always use whole cow's milk. He is not allergic to it, he likes it in his overnight oats and nutritionally speaking it is the best option for his age. You can read more about this in our post The Truth About Milk.
It is a great source of calories for kids as well as protein, fat and calcium.
When making overnight oats for myself and my husband, I tend to use plant-based milk. Partly because we really don't like the taste of cow's milk.
You can also use yogurt (see here on The Best Yogurt For Your Baby and Toddler).
Although not a must, I love adding seeds to my oats. Usually for me it is flaxseed and chia seeds but really you can use any you like.
Seeds are a great source of healthy fats and fiber and can really get your digestive system moving in the morning.
For kids, I would avoid adding too many seeds and just stick to one type because their digestive systems are more sensitive than ours and need less fiber.
Fruit can be a great addition to your oats. But how you add it depends on the type of fruit used.
Some fruits are best when mashed into the mixture (like banana), some you can blend (like apple or pear) and some are better to just add on top of the breakfast in the morning just prior to eating (like berries).
Fruit is also a great source of fiber as well as numerous vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients most of which have an antioxidant effect.
Some other things that you can add to your oats includes spices such as cinnamon, raw cocoa powder (kids over 1), or even nut butters like this homemade hazelnut butter.
Nut butters are a great way to add calories and healthy fats to your kids' nutrition.
Sometimes I also like to add desiccated coconut or agave syrup if the ingredients of my overnight oats are not sweet enough.
Overnight Oats Preparation
The key to the perfect overnight oats is to mix all the wet ingredients first.
Then you will add your dry ingredients (apart of the oats) and mix well with the wet ones.
Finally, you add the oats and make sure that they are all covered with the mixture.
The amount of liquid you will add to your oats, or rather the oats to milk ratio really depends on your preferred texture.
I like my overnight oats to be firm and compact while my husband is OK with the texture being a little more "liquidy".
So for me it is usually 4 tbsp of dry ingredients in total (oats, seeds) with about 3.5oz (100 ml) of milk (approximately half a cup).
But it is really for each person to figure out the preference for themselves so test out a couple options and see what you prefer!
Can I Use Sweeteners?
Yes if you want to. I rarely use them but sometimes the ingredients of the overnight oats are too bland to form a nice taste, especially for kids, so I add a tsp of a natural sweetener like date syrup or agave syrup.
If you would like to avoid this, I suggest you use sweet fruit such as bananas or sweet fuji apples.
How To Add Fruit?
Like adding liquid, adding fruit also depends on individual preferences.
But in general, if using a banana I recommend you mash it and add to the wet ingredients when preparing overnight oats. Same goes for "starchy" fruit such as apples or pears (or pureed first).
For the rest, I suggest you cut them into small pieces and add on top of the overnight oats in the morning just before you are ready to eat them.
How To Add Nut Butters?
Again – according to your preference. We have overnight oats recipes that suggest adding nut butters in the wet ingredients the night before and we also have recipes that recommend adding nut butters in the morning prior to consuming.
I've tested both and the end result is really not that much different.
The only thing I noticed is that for more solid nut butters like peanut butter it blends much more with the mixture if added the night before. More liquid ones like hazelnut butter don't show any difference.
Overnight Oats Recipe Ideas
Here are some breakfast recipe ideas that are delicious for babies, toddlers, bigger kids and adults.
Overnight oats are a really simple and easy recipe that you can make the night before and just take out a few minutes prior to eating in the morning.
But the real beauty of overnight oats lies in the fact that you can adjust it completely to your preferences, needs and ingredient availability at home by simple following a few quick and easy steps for the perfect overnight oats as mentioned here.
So let me know below in the comments your favorite versions and how you make your overnight oats.