Overnight oats are the make-ahead solution to a busy morning. Simply mix the ingredients together the night before, pop in the refrigerator, and let time do the work. Overnight the oats will soak up the delicious flavors you add, soften, and get nice and creamy. This is also a great no-bake solution for those of us whose small kitchens heat up quickly in the summer. Eaten cold or warmed up, overnight oats can be adjusted to any flavor preferences. One of my favorite ways to enjoy overnight oats is in my recipe for Peach Overnight Oats.
Peach Overnight Oats
My Peach Overnight Oats require a few key components. First rolled oats serve as the base to soak up all the flavors and provide a ton soluble fiber to start our day. Chia seeds are packed with healthy omega-3 fats, protein, and various essential minerals and antioxidants, but they also thicken as they soak up liquid to provide a nice texture. The liquid here is important. I like to add milk because it means my Peach Overnight Oats will be creamier. You could also add kefir, a drinkable yogurt, for added probiotics, or any non-dairy milk of your choice.
After the base you can get creative! Here I have added canned peaches in light syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla- a very delicious combination in my opinion. Many people don’t realize that canned foods can be just as nutritious, if not more nutritious, than frozen or fresh food because they are processed quickly after harvesting. Nutrients in foods start breaking down the moment they are harvested. The canning process requires heat to sterilize and preserve food, so certain water soluble vitamins may be damaged, but some foods actually become more nutritious after being heated (e.g., tomatoes and corn). Purchasing canned goods can be convenient, affordable, and it allows us to enjoy certain delicious produce like peaches year-round. Although research is mixed about the effects of BPA on humans, buying cans that are BPA-free isn’t a bad idea. Also make sure to find products that are free of too much added sugar, salt, or other preservatives.
All About Oats
Types of Oats
Oats are whole grains you can buy in many forms. Their most raw form is a groat, which can take a very long time to cook. For this reason, you will most likely be buying or using oats that are rolled, crushed, or steel-cut. For my Peach Overnight Oats you can use either rolled oats or quick oats. I wouldn’t recommend using steel cut oats here because they won’t soften in quite the same way. (If you are looking for recipes with steel cut oats, try my Savory Steel Cut Oats with Fried Egg or my Instant Pot Oatmeal with Peanut Butter.) Instant oats are the most processed variety and have a less-pleasant, mushier texture. Although oats are naturally gluten-free, if you have celiac disease make sure you buy oats produced in a gluten free facility that prevents cross-contamination. It should say this on the packaging, but you can also call companies and ask!
Oats and Fiber
Oats are loaded with soluble fiber in the form of beta-glucans. Beta-glucans have been proven to lower LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease (1). The United States Food and Drug Administration even allows companies to claim their oat product can reduce the risk of heart disease if the product contains at least 0.75 grams of soluble fiber per serving. Beta-glucan has also been shown to improve blood sugar and insulin response and function as a pre-biotic (2,3). Prebiotics provide nutrients to the good bacteria in our gut so they can thrive. It is essential that we get both probiotics and prebiotics from our diet. Not all oat products have the same amounts of beta-glucan. For example, oat bran can have anywhere from 5.5-23.0%, whereas rolled oats and oat flour contain about 4% beta-glucan.
Oats and Nutrition
Oats are one of the most nutrient-dense foods we eat on a daily basis. This means for every Calorie, oats contain a large amount of nutrients like manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, folate, vitamin B5, and vitamin B1. They are also higher in protein than many other grains. Finally, oats contain antioxidants that can help with lowering blood pressure and relieving itching (which is why we made kids take oatmeal baths when they had chicken pox) (4,5).
If you enjoyed this recipe, try my Banana Overnight Oats. If you are looking for more breakfast inspiration, check out my Instant Pot Oatmeal with Peanut Butter, Ricotta Pancakes, Healthy Avocado Toast with Smoked Trout, or my Easy Shakshuka Recipe. You can find all of my breakfast and brunch recipes on my website here.
- Whitehead A, Beck EJ, Tosh S, Wolever TM. Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat beta-glucan: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014;100(6):1413-1421.
- Alminger M, Eklund-Jonsson C. Whole-grain cereal products based on a high-fibre barley or oat genotype lower post-prandial glucose and insulin responses in healthy humans. Eur J Nutr. 2008;47(6):294-300.
- Valeur J, Puaschitz NG, Midtvedt T, Berstad A. Oatmeal porridge: impact on microflora-associated characteristics in healthy subjects. Br J Nutr. 2016;115(1):62-67.
- Nie L, Wise ML, Peterson DM, Meydani M. Avenanthramide, a polyphenol from oats, inhibits vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and enhances nitric oxide production. 2006;186(2):260-266.
- Sur R, Nigam A, Grote D, Liebel F, Southall MD. Avenanthramides, polyphenols from oats, exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-itch activity. Arch Dermatol Res. 2008;300(10):569-574.
Peach Overnight Oats
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- 1 can 14.5-ounce sliced California Cling peaches in light syrup, drained and chopped
- 1 tablespoon chia
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk cow’s milk, or other milk of choice
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all ingredients together well in mason jar or container. Place in refrigerator overnight. Serve!
Optional garnish: sprinkle with more cinnamon, chocolate chips, or coconut flakes.