When you are trying to lose weight, one of the worst things that you can do to your body is to starve yourself. Skipping a meal or two may get you faster results, but they will not stick for a while. Soon enough, you will be gaining all of the lost weight back. So, here is a trick that we have learned lately – Do not skip breakfast. Instead, carefully choose one that will keep you full and away from all of those empty calories.
And our favorite breakfast at the moment just so happens to be oatmeal. Oatmeal is perfect for weight loss but also for keeping you healthy and happy. But plain oatmeal can be quite boring. That is why we are bringing you 7 overnight oats recipes that you have to try. All of these are incredibly tasty, nutritious, and will help you lose weight before you know it.
Why Are Oats Perfect for Weight Loss?
Oatmeal is one of the most popular breakfasts in the world (1). Oats are a whole-grain food available in many different forms. Depending on what you use your oats for, you can choose from rolled, crushed, or steel-cut oats. If you did not know, the whole form of oats takes way too long to cook. That is why most people prefer choosing any of these three forms. And for those of you that are always rushing in the morning, there are the instant oats that take only a few seconds and a microwave to cook.
Oats can be used as a replacement to the good old all-purpose white floor. They are used to make granola, muesli, cupcakes, and many other delicious baked goods. However, to this day, oatmeal remains exist as the most popular way to eat oats. Oatmeal, otherwise known as porridge, is easily made by boiling oats in water or milk of your choice. This, however, is rarely where the preparation process ends. Most people like to experiment with toppings and spices to help improve the otherwise plain taste of oatmeal. But before we proceed to share 7 amazing oatmeal recipes, let’s see why oatmeal is the perfect weight-loss food.
Oatmeal is Incredibly Nutritious
To say that oats are packed with nutrients is an understatement. Oats are one of the most nutritious foods on the face of the Earth. The variety of nutrients for the low price that you pay is one of the biggest reasons why you should start your day with oatmeal. Here are some of the nutrients found in half a cup of dry oats (2).
- Calories: 145;
- Total fat: 2.39 g;
- Saturated fat: 0.421 g;
- Total carbs: 25.37 g;
- Dietary fiber: 3.7 g;
- Protein: 6.06 g;
- Calcium: 23 mg or 2% of the RDI;
- Iron: 1.25 mg or 8% of the RDI;
- Potassium: 126 mg or 3% of the RDI.
Additional nutrients include several vitamins such as Vitamin B1, B3, B5, B6, Vitamin C, Zinc, Folate, Copper, Magnesium, and many others. Oats are also rich in several antioxidants including avenanthramides. These have to be one of the most unique things about our beloved oats. By increasing your nitric oxide production, avenanthramides help bring your blood pressure down. Besides, avenanthramides have powerful anti-inflammatory effects as well (3, 4, 5). Antioxidants, in general, have several important benefits for our health so we must pay attention to such antioxidant-rich sources such as oats (6).
They Are Oats Very Filling
If you want to lose weight without starving yourself then you should plan your meals around filling foods such as oats (7, 8). Because of the amount of soluble fiber found in oats, you will feel full for hours. You see, when fiber mixes with water it creates a sort of a slimy gel-like layer in the inside of your gut. This helps delay the emptying of the stomach, thus helping with portion control and reducing your calorie intake.
Oats Can Help Regulate Your Blood Sugar Levels
Oats are a great example of how complex carbs look. Whenever we fill on empty carbs such as sweets, energy drinks, white bread, white pasta, etc. you feel hungry after a short while. You also may feel sluggish and unproductive. This happens due to the rapid drop in your blood sugar. Trying to repair the damage, you will most probably proceed to snack on more empty calories, desperately wanting to fuel your body with energy.
Oats, on the other hand, are the perfect complex carbs to rely on (9). Not only will they maintain stable blood sugar levels, but they will also keep you energized and in a good mood throughout the day. Oats are also perfect for anyone battling diabetes or have a family history of the disease. Weight loss is only an additional benefit.
They Are An Excellent Vegan Protein Source
Other than fiber, protein is the next best thing to have during weight loss. Like fiber, protein, too, can help curb your hunger. By adding a good amount of protein to each meal, you can avoid feeling hungry, and instead, feel full and satisfied. Popular protein sources include poultry, fish, eggs, and Greek yogurt.
However, if you are vegan or vegetarian, you want to avoid these foods. This is where oats, legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds come in handy. Oats are a great source of protein and are a staple food in every vegan household. Don’t make the mistake of missing out on this valuable protein source (10).
Additional health benefits of oats include constipation relief, reduced risk of asthma, and better gut health. You may also see an improvement in your high cholesterol levels and even skin quality. So, no matter whether you are trying to lose weight or not, oats are an incredibly healthy food that you should not miss out on.
7 Overnight Oat Recipes That You Need To Try
Now that we, hopefully, made it clear why oats deserve to be a part of your diet, we will share our favorite overnight oats recipes. As the term implies, overnight oats are prepared the night before and left in the fridge. Simply mix all of the ingredients and place your oatmeal in the fridge. The next morning, add any toppings that you prefer. This way, you will always have a healthy breakfast to enjoy in the morning. This is a great hack for anyone who does not have time to cook in the morning or is looking for a homemade breakfast-to-go.
For the sake of saving time, let’s start by sharing the basic recipe that we will use. Mix half a cup of dry oats with ¾ cups milk of your choice. You can always use plain cow’s milk to prepare your overnight oats. However, if you are dairy-free, our favorite has to be either oat or almond milk. Okay, now let’s discuss toppings.
1. Pumpkin-Spiced Oats
If you are a fan of the famous pumpkin spice latte, then you will fall in love with this oatmeal recipe. This autumn, start your morning by eating a big bowl of pumpkin-spiced oats. After you have mixed your oats and milk, the next step would be adding half a cup of pumpkin puree. In the morning, add a bit of honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg for an extra flavor. Pumpkin is a great source of many vitamins and nutrients, especially fiber (11). This recipe is not only tasty but it is also incredibly healthy and delicious.
2. The Classic Peanut Butter and Chocolate Oats
A classic recipe that we have been seeing a lot lately is the peanut butter and chocolate oatmeal. Peanut butter cups may be tasty but they are also unhealthy, so we got you covered. Replicate that sweet snack and turn it into your breakfast tomorrow morning. Cocoa powder may help regulate your blood pressure, improve your blood flow, and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke (12). Peanut butter, as if we need another reason to love it, is packed with way too many nutrients. From magnesium and potassium to powerful antioxidants such as Vitamin E, peanut butter has it all (13).
Mix your oats and milk. Add 1-2 tbsp of cocoa powder to it before placing it in the fridge. The next morning, add 2 tbsp of peanut butter. If you want to be a bit extra, chop up some peanuts and add a few frozen raspberries. Nothing compares with the taste of this classic, yet timeless oatmeal recipe.
3. Carrot Cake Oatmeal
Speaking of healthy replacements for our favorite sweets, here is a healthy alternative to the popular carrot cake. Simply turn your carrot cake into a carrot cake oatmeal! Carrots have an incredibly low glycemic index. Like oats, carrots will keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. Besides, carrots are also rich in many nutrients with beta carotene being one of the best ones (14).
Prepare the original oatmeal recipe the night before. Then, prepare your toppings as well. All that you need is ½ cup of shredded carrot and about 2 tbsp of cream cheese. Vegans can always use a cream cheese replacement to prepare this recipe. In the morning, add your toppings and there you have it – a carrot cake inspired oatmeal for you to enjoy.
4. Coconut Oatmeal
To prepare this recipe, you will need coconut milk instead of regular milk. Mix your oats with the coconut milk and leave it in the fridge. Prepare some chia and/or flax seeds as well to add a bit more nutrients to your recipe. The next ingredient is ½ cup of shredded coconut and a bit of honey or maple syrup. Add all of these in the morning and enjoy your exotic, coconut flavored oatmeal. If you want to have some fun with the recipe, you can always add a bit of fruit, cocoa, or Greek yogurt to it.
5. Mint Chocolate Chip Oatmeal
Mint chocolate chip cookies, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and we now finally have a mint chocolate chip oatmeal recipe that you will love! Other than oats and milk, you will need to grab chocolate chips and peppermint extract. Speaking of chocolate chips, make sure to grab the dark chocolate ones just to add a few more antioxidants than dark chocolate has to offer.
For that characteristic green color, you need spirulina. Spirulina has positive effects on your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. It can protect you against several types of cancer and even help against anemia. This is a great way to add more spirulina to your diet without noticing its taste.
6. Greek Yogurt and Blueberry Oatmeal
A great high protein breakfast idea is our Greek yogurt and blueberry oatmeal recipe. After taking out your oatmeal from the fridge in the morning, spread Greek yogurt on top of it. Next, add a handful or two of blueberries. For extra taste, add a bit of honey or maple syrup. And that is your Greek yogurt and blueberry oatmeal. It is easy, protein-rich, and tasty all at the same time.
7. Espresso Flavored Oats
The last recipe is one dedicated to all of you coffee lovers out there. This coffee-infused oatmeal recipe is bound to help you wake up in the morning. To make this recipe, simply remember to replace your milk with a shot of espresso the night before. If you prefer drinking instant coffee, then mix 1 tsp of instant coffee with the milk of your choice. In the morning, you can still use nuts, seeds, and fruit to improve the taste of your oatmeal.
Caffeine has been scientifically proven to help us wake up in the morning by increasing our alertness, short-term recall, and reaction time. And this recipe has between 30-40 mg of caffeine, depending on your choice of coffee. In addition, caffeine is also proven to speed up your metabolism. Faster metabolism equals a higher number of burned calories throughout the day (15). Even if you do not drink coffee in the morning, this is a great way to take advantage of the metabolism-boosting abilities that caffeine has to offer.
If you have learned anything from today’s article is that oatmeal does not have to be boring. By experimenting a bit in your kitchen, you will be able to create tasty recipes that will save you a lot of time in the morning. Alternate between these recipes and some other healthy breakfast ideas such as eggs, granola, and fruits, and you will be free of that extra weight in no time.