This year has been about taking baby steps toward living a more clean-eating lifestyle with the Hubs. Living in a very processed world, it’s near impossibly to successfully go cold turkey into the real-food realm (though apparently some have done it successfully). But for us, that was never feasible. So baby steps it was.
But one of the processed things we had been holding on to forever has finally bit the dust. Instant oatmeal. Every morning Addison eats a packet of instant oatmeal at his desk at work. And it was my idea. You see, while I love breakfast foods, I’ve never been a breakfast person in the morning. I’ve always had trouble eating first thing– hence why Shakeology has been a Godsend in this department for me because it fits my busy schedule and is easy on the tummy.
The hubs, on the other hand, asked me when we first got married if we’d have time for me to make us both breakfasts of eggs and sausage and/or pancakes every morning.
Dream big baby. I’m lucky if I can roll out of the bed on time and can coherently remember my name.
So, because I believe breakfast is a very important meal, I tried to find other ways to make quick and easy breakfasts for the man of my dreams. You may remember my freezer breakfast sandwiches. But lately, with all the other million things I do everyday and every weekend, I haven’t had time for the prep work. So, instant oatmeal it was. After all, it’s totally healthy, right?
I knew it was still technically processed, but I’ve always promised myself never to be a crazy person and toss out everything all at once. But now, the time has come.
I mean…did you know that most Peaches and Cream instant oatmeal doesn’t even have peaches in it? It’s bits of apple that is flavored and dyed to taste and look like peaches.
And did you know that there’s a “natural” flavor used to make things sweeter– like strawberry oatmeal– but really the reason why it can be considered natural is because it’s naturally extracted from a Beaver’s butt?
I’m not even kidding. Watch this short video about it.
So, it was time for us to try a different approach that honestly is just as easy as instant oatmeal (AND TASTES SO MUCH BETTER!).
I bring you OVERNIGHT FRIDGE OATMEAL! I did a lot of research on this on Pinterest to figure out the best way for us to do it. I’m still experimenting with flavors but so far, the first two we’ve tried are AWESOME. (Yes, I’ve tried them too. I’m still drinking Shakeology for breakfast, but I’ve been bringing the little jar for lunch myself so I can taste the fruits of my labor as I experiment for Hubs’ breakfast). Oh, and he’s a huge fan too.
The first flavor we tried was blueberry and strawberry. Today, it was banana, craisin, and peanut butter with a hint of cinnamon.
The best part? You package them in these cute little jars that are perfect for on-the-go.
Please note that you could use a bigger jar than this and for some people, it may be best if you’re heavy handed with ingredients or get easily frustrated. I find it hard to actually mix the ingredients in this jar, so I dump them all in a bowl and then fill the jar– which will have no head space. I think it’s efficient and a great portion controller, but if you’re going to get frustrated, then opt for the bigger size.
Then, after you assemble all your great ingredients and they soak up in the fridge overnight, you get a yummy product that looks something like this:
If you search on Pinterest for these kinds of recipes, basically you’ll discover that you just need to decide on what you want your oatmeal base to be, though the common denominator was of course oatmeal and Greek yogurt. Some had chia seeds (too expensive for us right now) for added protein. Others used milk or water or coconut milk. We’re using almond milk (I love how we do not have to worry about the hormones in the milk on the shelves today and can keep our almond milk in the pantry until we open it!).
So here’s our base recipe:
Overnight Oatmeal Base
1/3 cup oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled Oats)
1/3 plain, nonfat Greek Yogurt (you could use flavors if you wanted, but I prefer the add-ons to be the flavor)
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp agave (or you could use honey or even more than a tsp if you wanted).
And that’s the base! For Add-ons…
1/3 cup frozen blueberries (or fresh)
1/4 cup chopped frozen strawberries (or fresh)
(optional) dash of cinnamon
Peanut Butter Banana Craisin
1/2 a banana
1 tbs natural peanut butter
1/8 cup dried, unsweetened cranberries (or raisins)
(optional) dash of cinnamon
I’m not even kidding when I say these are magical. And yes, they are more calories than the instant packets (the blueberry strawberry flavor is around 260 calories while the banana peanut butter one is around 380 calories), but those counts are perfectly acceptable for a meal! Heck, breakfast needs to be hearty and with wholesome ingredients like these, you can’t go wrong!
I’d much rather this than 140 calories of instant oatmeal that apparently has beaver butt in it– especially because it’s both HEALTHIER and JUST AS EASY to make.
Who knew? Well, we both do now.
You may be thinking, “Wait wait wait. Greek yogurt in your oatmeal? This isn’t oatmeal at all!” Sure, it’s not actually hot oatmeal, but trust me when I say it does taste like oatmeal. By letting the oats soak up the almond milk and Greek yogurt overnight, you get a great consistency that is surprisingly awesome and enjoyable. Plus, the Greek yogurt adds some great protein in the mix which is essential to filling full.
Don’t knock it until you try it. It really is awesome.
And stay tuned! I’ll be experimenting with more flavors soon. I’m thinking an apple maple may be in the near future!