Overnight Oats with the norm Nuts, Seeds, and Dried Fruit

Breakfast is sometimes an easy way to start watching what you eat. There is the old adage that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” There is some truth to this.

Even if you eat a late dinner, around 8 or 9 at night, most people are not waking up until 5, 6, or 7 in the a.m. That’s anywhere from 8 to 12 hours that you haven’t eaten. This usually is not a problem for your body to deal with. It becomes a problem when you skip breakfast and don’t have any sustenance until lunch, around 10, 11, or noon. When this occurs you’re talking about not having any nutrition of any kind but what your own body has in its reserve tanks for over 12 hours.

Having no food for over 12 hours signals your body to hunker down and begin rationing its nutrition. Instead of burning calories, macro-, and micronutrients, the body starts to use only the bare minimum needed to function; it’s planning for the inevitable pattern of fasting. The practice of fasting occasionally is usually no problem for the body. However, doing so repeatedly and for an extended period of time can tax the body’s needs, and sends it into a “storing” type cycle. Where normally it would have burned nutritional fuel, it begins to store extra nutrients in case there is the extra requirement of an extended period of fasting.

To forestall this survival mode of storing nutrients…eat your breakfast! The following is a make-ahead simple overnight oats recipe.

Overnight Oats

1 mason jar (pint size works for me, but if you want more make it with a quart)
3 to 5 heaping tablespoons rolled oats (dependant on the size of your jar and how much oats you’d like; don’t use the instant kind of oats)

The following are what I put into my oats, and measurements are from one teaspoon to one tablespoon. (Don’t be afraid to experiment! This is what works for me, and what I enjoy. Mix it up to suit your personal taste.)

Nuts and Seeds:
Salted pumpkin seeds
Salted sunflower seeds
Almonds (I prefer slivered, but sliced works well, too)
Crushed walnuts
Crushed pecans
Chia seeds
Sweetened shredded coconut

Dried Fruit (I cut the fruit up into bite-size pieces; again use what tastes good to you!):
Apple rings
Mango (I usually use the chili kind, but plain works great, too)

Spices (1/2 to 1 teaspoon):
Clove (careful with this one. It can make your oats super spicy!)

1 cup (approx.) Almond milk (use whatever kind of milk you enjoy, whole milk works well with this, too)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

The night before, mix all dry ingredients (including spices) into the mason jar. Fill the mason jar with almond milk and vanilla until just below the rim, leaving about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch space from the top. Shake well. Leave in the fridge overnight; a good 6 to 8 hours is best. The milk breaks down the raw oats, nuts, and seeds, making them more easily digested.

You can eat this cold, or warm over the stovetop.