Super Easy Blueberry Overnight Oats
So I want to talk about oats, mainly of the overnight variety, but also just oats, and certainly oats at breakfast time.
Oats are well-known for their health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of diabetes. Being a rich source of magnesium, oats have been shown to help prevent heart disease and strokes. But, more importantly for little tummies, they are clean and filling due to the soluble fibre they contain, which is slowly released into the bloodstream and prevents that sugar rush that so many shop-bought cereals give. I continue to be shocked by the sugar levels in shop-bought cereals, especially when compared to the guidelines of daily sugar allowances for our little tummies. A certain sugary, loopy cereal - which would definitely would be a favourite if I allowed them into the house - contains 2.5 teaspoons of sugar per 50g portion. Children between 4 to 8 years old should not consume more than 3 teaspoons of sugar a day! That's almost their entire sugar allowance at breakfast! Not to mention what it does to their brains and their tummies. I don't want to pretend to be Jamie Oliver (although he's done a great job at highlighting the poor school dinners our children are given), but it certainly is something to think about as you pour the cereals into the bowls in the morning. The purse certainly feels the benefit of oats too - so, so much cheaper than all the branded cereals! So that's why, to be a happy mummy, oats have my vote and I believe they should have yours too.
We're great porridge lovers here, especially in the cold winter months. There's nothing quite like waking up to a steaming bowl of creamy oatmeal. Plus, if you remember to soak the oats in water before you head to bed at night (I often get into bed and realise they're not soaking!) and then cooked them in the porridge in the morning, they have the most delicious creamy taste and you can flavour them up anyway you choose. Fruits, fruit syrup, nuts, nut butter, seeds or, our favourite, some frozen blueberries added to the oats during the last minute or so of cooking, served with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Little Joe likes raisins on his porridge, so you might want to try that too!!
Whilst porridge will always remain a firm favourite, mainly due to its ease and low cost, we have recently become fans of overnight oats. What's the difference? Porridge is cooked oatmeal, while overnight oats are oats soaked overnight in a liquid of your choice, usually milk and yoghurt, and served with your favourite toppings. Overnight oats are, essentially, a faster, and tastier way to get your hit of oats-ey goodness.
I first came across this dreamy breakfast delight when I bought the amazing cook book by Anna Jones, 'A Modern Way to Eat'. She has a delicious overnight bircher muesli recipe which I have tried many times which I attribute for sparking a bit of an overnight oats revelation in our house. If you search overnight oats on Pinterest there are literally thousands of recipes, options and flavours... so maybe I'm just a little bit late to the overnight oats party! If you're late too then I have one very simple, clean-little-tummy-friendly recipe which I will leave to you to flavour and mix up to suit your own tastes....
What I love about overnight oats is that once they're prepared in the fridge they are totally ready to serve in the morning when you've got a million other things going on (lost reading book, forgotten homework, missing tights...if anyone can solve these please let me know). They simply come out of the fridge and onto the table with a spoon! Done! Yes, you do need to remember to do them in the evening; I usually do ours whilst dinner is on the go and the ingredients are simple so you get to know what you need and you can get pretty quick at preparing them.
1 cup of oats
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of natural yoghurt
These are the quantities I use to make enough for three clean little tummies (aged 5, 2 and 1) so you may want to adjust the quantities depending on who you are feeding, but keep the ratios the same: 1:1:1/2. So 2 cups of oats would require 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of yoghurt. But don't forget, the oats expand, so 2 cups of oats would happily serve three adults!
The other ingredients are up to you. I recommend:
1/2 cup of frozen blueberries
1 tbsp of honey (no honey for under 1s)
Place the oats, milk and yoghurt in a bowl and stir well.
Add the blueberries and honey, stir well again.
Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
I like to put our overnight oats into three individual jars with their own little lids that I can pop in front of them in the morning! My clean little tummies love the novelty of having their own jar (easily pleased) and I am sure it helps with the eating. It's all about making food fun after all.
How do I mix it up and add variety?
Easy! Do you like different types of milk? I often use almond milk for mine, more filling and a good source of protein. The list of fruits you can use are endless, just see what is in season. Right now, adding some grated apple (put some lemon juice on it to stop it going brown) and blackberries to the mixture is a definite autumnal winner. Bananas make a lovely sweet baby friendly overnight variety. Any type of berry works brilliantly with oats; frozen ones are great because they are cheaper and thaw in the fridge overnight. If you've got some plums that need using up, either cook them up and add them in once cool or chop them up and add them. Peaches and apricots in the summer months are divine. There are so many ideas on how to flavour them up...peanut butter, cookies & cream, apple pie! Please let me know how you flavour them up and share them on instagram and Facebook.
Mix up the sweetener: maple syrup is a good option or a fruit syrup. Add seeds: pumpkin seeds work well, chia seeds or nuts are also good. Do whatever you and your clean little tummies like. But make sure you give this recipe a go. Who knows, maybe shop-bought cereals will be a thing of the past in your house soon too!
Love Caroline & the Clean Little Tummies x
I've used small individual sized kilner jars available from www.kilnerjar.co.uk