Understated, yet ever so versatile, oats hold a proud place in my pantry. They’re like an old, familiar friend: growing up, many of my favourite dishes were based on oats. As an adult, it is one of the foods I can always count on to hit the spot when nothing else sounds good. Savoury or sweet, the simple oat is a standard in my cooking.
Now, oat is a grain, and contains lectins that can cause trouble for a leaky gut. For those with blood sugar issues, it can spike insulin. Why in the world would I recommend such a food? This is where your own N=1 experimenting reigns – not everyone has the same experience with all foods, and what is problematic for some, can be healthful for others. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones – oats have never caused me trouble. They’re naturally gluten-free but buy certified gluten-free brands if this is an issue for you – oats are often processed on machinery that also processes wheat, so cross-contamination is likely. If you tolerate them, oats can be a great carb that is also reasonably high in protein and magnesium.
So, what do you do with them, that’s delicious, has a decent nutrient profile, and isn’t loaded with sugar or syrup? Overnight oats, baby!
I start with soaking my oats overnight with something to break down the phytic acid (one of the anti-nutrients that can be hard on digestion). A teaspoon of rye flour works well, as does whey (from yogurt). Mix it up with your oats and some warm water and leave it on the counter overnight.
Usually, I add in my dry ingredients before leaving my oats to soak overnight. Things that have a fat or water content, like nut butter, fruit or berries are added just before eating. There is no limit to the combinations you can dream up; oats are such a neutral base, you can really do anything with them. Think of flavours that pair well together, and recreate them in your overnight oats. Someday soon, I’ll post my savoury overnight oats recipe that almost got me kicked out of a movie theatre (yes, I am that person who brings health food to the movies – lol)!
Here are three just-sweet-enough, nutritious and delicious overnight oat variations to get you started:
Tropical Cream Overnight Oats
Mango, coconut flakes, coconut milk, grass-fed collagen powder, sesame seeds, cashews, ginger
- Mix oats, coconut flakes, collages, sesame seeds, cashews, water and a tsp of rye flour. Let sit on the counter overnight.
- In the morning, top with mango, grated ginger and full fat coconut milk. Enjoy!
AB & J Overnight Oats
Almond butter, raspberries, grass-fed collagen powder, hemp seeds, nutmeg, banana
- Mix oats, hemp seeds, collagen, nutmeg, water and a tsp of rye flour. Let sit on the counter overnight.
- In the morning, top with raspberries, banana slices, and coconut milk if desired.
Oatmeal Cookie Overnight Oats
Walnuts, grass-fed collagen powder, hemp seeds, raisins, cinnamon, shredded apple, coconut milk
- Mix oats, hemp seeds, collagen, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, water and a tsp of rye flour. Let sit on the counter overnight.
- In the morning, top with shredded apple and coconut milk.