Food: Morning oats present many options

It all started with a photograph.  I was perusing Instagram one morning and a friend shared a photo of some overnight oats she had prepared the night before.  Praising their ease and deliciousness, my friend inspired me to try some overnight oats of my own. 

I’d dabbled in these oats before, never coming up with something I loved.  My pal told me what she did to make hers so delicious, and thus my overnight oats obsession began.  I’ve been eating them at least three days a week, and there’s no signs of slowing down.  I’m hooked!

For those of you not familiar with overnight oats, let me get you up to speed.  Overnight oats are a no-cook way of making oatmeal.  Instead of heating up oats and water on the stove, you mix large flake rolled oats with milk and other ingredients and let it chill in the fridge overnight.  In the morning, you have a pudding-like porridge that is creamy, light and yet nutrient dense. 

I use whole milk, but you can use whatever unsweetened milk you like.  Plain Greek yogurt adds loads of protein, and chia seeds help thicken the oats and add fibre and other nutrients.  You can sweeten the oats as you like – I love maple syrup, but honey, mashed banana or agave are alternatives.  I love garnishing bowls of the oats with whatever fresh fruit I’m crushing on, which lately has been cherries, peaches and raspberries.  I like to add a sprinkling of homemade granola for crunch. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll add a sprig of mint and an edible flower or two. 

I’m usually a plain yogurt, fresh fruit, maple syrup, granola kind of breakfast girl, especially on those weekday mornings when I have to dash out the door.  But, two hours later I’m peckish and usually reach for something yummy like a scone or muffin.  These overnight oats are tastier and keep me feeling full much longer than my old standby, and I daresay, there is no going back. 

All it takes is about 5 minutes the night before to stir together simple ingredients.  The next morning, just top with fruit and enjoy.  I also like to portion the overnight oats into small jars the night before, then add fruit and dash out the door.  Jars of these oats make the perfect grab-and go-breakfast.  Just be sure that lid is on tightly!  With school (yes I said the S word) becoming a reality in a month or so, these oats would be great for kids and adults who have to eat and run. 

This recipe is very basic, and I’ve listed some other possible add-ins at the end.  Feel free to experiment and see what you like.  I think chocolate is the next one to try.  Perhaps with a little peanut butter, garnished with fresh raspberries from the garden.  How magical would that be?  This is one recipe obsession of mine that I don’t see fading any time soon.  Healthy, delicious, easy, economical, it checks all of boxes for a perfect breakfast.


Maple Overnight Oats

1 1/3 cups unsweetened milk of your choice (I use whole)

1 cup large flake rolled oats (not instant)

2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (2%)

2 – 4 Tbsp maple syrup

2 Tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Fresh fruit, granola for garnish


Place all of the ingredients into a bowl and stir well so everything is well combined.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.  Serve in bowls the next morning and garnish with fresh fruit and granola.  For grab-and-go – spoon the oats into jars, fasten with lid and let chill overnight.  In the morning top with fruit and granola and go.  Makes 2 large portions or 4 small. 



*Use plant-based milk and yogurt to make it vegan. 

*Use gluten-free oats to make it gluten free. 

*Mash half a banana and use that to sweeten instead of maple syrup.

*Add 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder to make it chocolate. 

*Add 1/4 cup peanut butter, or other nut butter, for a nutty flavour. Great with chocolate (above).

*Add shredded carrot, apple and/or raisins/other dried fruit. 

*Add lemon, lime or orange zest.

*Add 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, cardamom or ginger. 

*Add a few Tbsp of softened cream cheese. Lovely with fresh sliced strawberries. 

*Add 1 cup pumpkin purée and cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves for a taste of fall. 

*Add 1/2 tsp of instant espresso powder for coffee flavoured oats. 

*Swap out some of the milk for orange juice.