Why You Should Never Skip Breakfast + 3 Quick & Easy Overnight Oats Recipes

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Have you ever heard of the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”?  Turns out, it really is. As the name implies, you’re literally ‘breaking’ your fast over the past 6+ hours and feeding your body with the carbs and proteins it needs to fuel your body and brain.

But even still, many of us choose to skip breakfast because we’re either too busy to cook something up, or not feeling hungry enough to eat anything substantial.  I’ve been guilty of skipping breakfast for both reasons, though I’ve found that it always catches up to me about 1-2 hours into my day.  My body would feel tense and stressed, and my mind will feel foggy and get distracted easily.

That’s all because when we fast, we subject our bodies to nutritional stress, which in turn increases cortisol levels.  Once too much cortisol is released, it sends our bodies into a state of hypertension and raises our blood pressure to unhealthy levels [1].  Mentally, this makes us feel fatigued, stressed, and forgetful [2]. 

Worse yet, cortisol works hard to provide the body with glucose by tapping into our body’s protein stores – which, you guessed it – are in our muscles [3].  (That’s why if you’re looking to get fit and toned, it’s never a good idea to skip meals!)

Making a habit of skipping breakfast means that cortisol will consistently produce glucose and keep our blood sugar level elevated.  And when you combine high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels, you have a recipe for heart diseases and diabetes.

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After learning some of the negative consequences of skipping breakfast, I tried to turn it into a daily habit again.  This first started back when I was working in an office and giving myself the bare minimum amount of time to get ready in the morning.  My solution was to keep a kitchen cabinet stocked with protein bars,  I’d reach for one in the morning, along with an orange or banana, and be on my way.  Thing is, I wasn’t getting all the carbs and nutrients I needed, and I wouldn’t always feel full.  So I started looking up some quick, but also tasty, healthy, and filling recipes, and pretty much all of them incorporated some combination of these super foods:

  • Oatmeal: Oats are rich in folate, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, and beta-glucan (a fiber that promotes blood and heart health by lowering cholesterol).
  • Chia seeds: Chia seeds loaded with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various vitamins and minerals.  They’re also high in antioxidants.
  • Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt packs twice as much protein as regular yogurt!  I’d use them to make parfaits (paired with fruits, granola, and a little honey), and as a smoothie base.
  • Bananas: Bananas are packed with potassium and healthy starches.  I’d top them over my oatmeal, cereal, and yogurt for some added natural sweetness.
  • Strawberries: Strawberries are high in antioxidants and packed with vitamin C.  Paired with bananas over a cold cereal and boy does it make a tasty breakfast!
  • Blueberries: Blueberries are nutritious and antioxidant-rich, and boost brain health and keep the heart strong.  I’d often pop these into my oatmeal along with some honey.

For a while there, I was a big eater of oatmeal and parfaits.  Still, they both took a good 4-5 minutes to prep, which, in the morning, can feel like a blissful little eternity when you’re all cozy in bed!  So I wondered, is there any way to save those precious minutes and perhaps prep my meal ahead of time?  Turns out there is – they’re called overnight oats!  Not only do they combine all of the above power foods, they allow you to do a majority (if not all) of the prep the night before!

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If you’re new to overnight oats, it’s basically a no-cook method of making oatmeal.  Instead of cooking them on the stove or in a microwave, you simply mix all the ingredients together and let them sit in the fridge for 5+ hours – this gives the oats time to absorb the liquid and soften.  Here’s a breakdown on how to make them:

How to Make Overnight Oats

First, you’ll want to plan out your ingredients.  Starting with the base, grab some old-fashioned rolled oats, and then a liquid, such as dairy milk, almond or coconut milk.  A few optional base ingredients that you can also add in include chia seeds and Greek yogurt (both of which are excellent sources of protein), and even a shot of espresso or coffee!

Next, pick your add-ins!  These can include everything from fruit, nuts, seeds, nut butters, protein powder, granola, ground flaxseed, wheatgerm, coconut flakes, almond slivers, spices, or zest.  You can add these in with your base (they will soften them a bit soaking in the milk), or you can add them as toppings in the morning for some extra texture and crunch.

Also, if you’re not using anything pre-sweetened – like milk or flavored yogurts – I recommend adding a natural sweetener (like maple syrup, honey, agave, stevia, coconut sugar), vanilla extract, plus a pinch of salt to add some sweetness and lift the flavors.

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Now that we have all the ingredients, here’s how to put everything together:

  1. Grab a mason jar or some type of glass container that you can cover. (I use these smaller wide mouth mason jars.)
  2. Start by pouring your oats and chia seeds (optional).
  3. Fill with milk until the oats are well-covered.  (If you’re adding coffee, mix that in too at this stage so that you get the right water to oats ratio).
  4. Add nuts, fruits, seeds, nut butters, yogurt, etc.  (Remember, these will all soften, so if you want a little crunch, save some to add in the morning.)
  5. Give the mixture a good stir and then seal the container and pop it in the fridge.  Let the mixture sit overnight for at least 4 hours (for rolled oats, 12 hours for steel cut oats).
  6. When you’re ready to eat, add sweetener and more milk to achieve desired sweetness and consistently, along with any extra fresh toppings!

You can really have fun with mixing ingredients and concocting your own recipes, but if you want some ideas to get you started (that use ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen), here are three of my favorites…

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3 Quick & Easy Overnight Oats Recipes

Banana Chocolate Chip Overnight Oats

Peanut Butter Chocolate

Berries & Cream Overnight Oats

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SHOP THE POST


What’s your favorite breakfast to make when you’re short on time?  Have you tried overnight oats, and if you have, what’s your favorite recipe?

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