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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 fibre. “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 Georgina 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 flavours in the oats and sweetness in your toppings.”
The Flavour Options Are Endless
There are myriad ways to serve them. “You can combine all sorts of ingredients and flavours,” says Georgina. “Start with 40-50g of oats per serving mixed with 120-150ml of fluid as your base. Some of my go-to combinations include overnight oats made with natural yoghurt and served with stewed apple, cinnamon and flaked almonds; strawberry, blueberry and peanut butter oats with a drizzle of honey; or try stirring dried apricots and figs through your oats before soaking and serving with chopped pistachios.” If you have a sweet tooth, Natasha’s chocolate orange oats are a must-try – simply add half a teaspoon of vanilla essence, the juice and zest of half a small orange and one tablespoon of raw cacao powder to your oats along with a pinch of sea salt, milk of your choice and Greek yoghurt. “Other flavour combinations that work well include carrot cake (add grated carrot, cinnamon, walnuts and raisins to your oats), bakewell tart (add cherries, almonds and almond butter) and black forest gateau, which you can recreate by using fresh cherries, dark chocolate and live yoghurt.”
Stocking Your Kitchen Cupboards Well Can Help
“When it comes to oats, you can’t go wrong with Flahavan’s Irish Steel Cut Oats, and I love stirring through one of Pulsin’s protein powders along with a tablespoon of Manilife or Pip & Nut peanut or almond butter,” says Natasha. “Onken and Yeo Valley are also great brands for live yoghurt with probiotic benefits, and for a non-dairy option, Plenish does the best dairy substitutes with clean ingredients.” To make low-sugar overnight oats, Sophie recommends adding grated apple or mashed banana, while stewed apples can also add flavour as well as gut-friendly prebiotics. “Form Nutrition’s protein powder and Bare Biology’s collagen powder are also a great way to add protein to your oats, while Bio&Me’s probiotic yoghurt adds a lovely smooth texture to the base, and Rude Health is a great brand to try for plant milk. If you’re looking to add flavour, Naturya’s cacao powder comes highly recommended.”
Want In? Try One Of These Recipes…
Bakewell Overnight Oats, Eve Kalinik
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Spread the flaked almonds on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. Leave to cool.
Mix all the ingredients together (expect the flaked almonds), cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, remove from the fridge. Add more milk if it feels too solid.
Top with the flaked almonds and enjoy.
Matcha Overnight Oats, Natasha Evans
Combine all the ingredients together and mx well.
Leave in the fridge for at least three hours, or overnight.
Garnish with fresh berries, toasted coconut, bee pollen and fresh mint.
Vanilla & Peanut Butter Oats, Karen Koramshai
In a bowl, combine the oats, milk and protein powder and mix well until fully combined. Stir through the nut butter of your choice, cover and pop into the fridge overnight.
When you’re ready to serve, spoon into your favourite bowl and top with your preferred toppings. I love freshly sliced banana, fresh berries, coconut yoghurt and additional nut butter.
Optimise your oats by adding one teaspoon of maca powder – this malty flavoured adaptogen will give that extra energy boost and sharpen cognitive function to get you through the morning.
For more information visit SophieTrotmanNutrition.com, FoodMovementHealth.co.uk, nenutrition.co.uk and KarenKoramshai.com. Eve Kalinik is a nutritional therapist and gut health specialist for Källa Probiotics. Visit EveKalinik.com for more.
DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.