A Nutritionists’ Guide To Making Overnight Oats

Soaking Oats Makes Them Easier To Digest

Unlike porridge, overnight oats aren’t cooked. That means they retain all the oat’s nutrients, have a low glycaemic index, and provide more gut-friendly prebiotic fiber. “Overnight oats are the ultimate grab-and-go breakfast,” says nutritionist Sophie Trotman. “Plus, soaking the oats makes them easier to digest and allows your body to better absorb the nutrients.” But what you soak your oats in matters, adds Sophie. “Some overnight oat recipes suggest adding apple juice to the mix, but this will only incorporate unnecessary sugar into the recipe. Avoid using large quantities of honey for the same reason. I make my overnight oats with full-fat Greek yoghurt and a dash of water as opposed to milk, as it makes them creamier.”

The Larger The Oats, The Better

Before you pick up a packet of oats in the supermarket, understand that what you buy matters. “The larger the oat, the slower the release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream, as your body needs to work harder to break down the whole grains,” says registered nutritionist Georgia Earing. “Rolled or steel cut oats may therefore help you to feel fuller for longer compared with instant or quick cook varieties. Rolled oats have a flat, flaky appearance, whereas steel cut oats are larger in size and have a rough, irregular appearance. Rolled oats are popular for overnight oats as they absorb more fluid and result in a smoother, silkier consistency,” she adds. “Supermarket own-brand oats are affordable and handy if you are buying in bulk. Just be sure to always check the ingredients list, checking for added sugars and opting for 100% rolled oats where possible.”

Adding Protein & Fat Is Essential

Although higher in protein than most grains, oats are predominantly carb-based, explains nutritionist Natasha Evans. “This means that they’re great for energy first thing in the morning, but they may not keep energy levels sustained or keep you full until lunch unless you add a source of protein and healthy fats. Adding chia seeds and ground flaxseeds to your overnight mix is ​​a great way to tick both these boxes – chia seeds also give a dessert-like texture. Other good sources of protein include hemp seeds, protein powder, nuts and nut butters and dairy.” Natasha is also a fan of adding a small pinch of sea salt to your overnight oat mixture. “This will bring out the subtle flavors in the oats and sweetness in your toppings.”

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