Oatmeal. Some might think of it as the most basic breakfast item known to man. If you’re one of those people, I’m about to rock your breakfast world. This whole grain, smart carbohydrate can be a vessel for so many yummy flavors and nutrients, I may just have to make it a regular occurrence to blow your breakfast mind with new oatmeal possibilities.
First stop on the oats train: Carrot Cake Protein Overnight Oats. Yep. It really is as tasty as it sounds. Even better, it’s super cheap to make, a good balance of protein, carbs and healthy fat for a steady dose of energy and best of all, it’s so easy a 5 year old can’t mess this up! In fact, if you're a parent to little ones, this is a super fun, easy recipe you can have your kids help you make! It's never too early to teach good nutrition. :)
BONUS! You get to eat vegetables at breakfast! I bet you’ve heard that carrots are good for your eyesight. That’s because they are rich in the antioxidant beta carotene, which is turned into Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A helps maintain good vision and eye health as well as a healthy immune system and skin. Lots of other orange, yellow and leafy green vegetables and fruits contain beta-carotene too, but don’t shy away from adding some extra carrots to this recipe to get the most bang for your breakfast buck.
Alright, here we go. Take 10 minutes to throw these ingredients in a bowl, mix them up, let them sit for a few hours or overnight and have breakfast ready for the week! This recipe doubles very well, so go ahead, make extra for yourself or to share with your friends, coworkers and family who are undoubtedly going to be watching you with envy as you enjoy this delicious treat. You can portion a large batch out in tupperware or mason jars for the week and add different toppings on different days. The world is your overnight oats oyster!
CARROT CAKE PROTEIN OVERNIGHT OATS
Ingredients for 4 servings:
- 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
- 1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder (or other protein powder of your choice)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Optional toppings: shredded coconut, raisins, walnuts, cacao nibs, hemp seeds, nut butter, cinnamon, drizzle of maple syrup, or anything else you might like!
- NOTE: The recipe itself is pretty low fat. Most of the healthy fat will come from the toppings you choose. Any type of nut, seed, nut butter or coconut are great options.
- Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and stir to combine.
- Let sit at least an hour or overnight. (This doesn’t even really count as a second step...so yes, this is just a 1 step recipe!)
- Choose old fashioned rolled oats over quick cooking oats. Old fashioned oats are less processed and higher in fiber, protein and other nutrients than their quick cooking step-sibling.
- Steel cut oats, the even less processed parent of old-fashioned rolled oats, work well here too and retain even more nutrients. They will take longer to soak - overnight as opposed to an hour or so - and will also be more chewy than the rolled oats.
- If you want to add sweetener, I recommend using only as much natural sweetener, like honey or maple syrup, as you need. You can also try stevia.
Cold oats? Ewww…
If the thought of eating cold oats is unappealing, fret not. You can just put a portion of this in the microwave, heat it through, and add your desired toppings afterwards. Mmmmm...warm carrot cake oats.
Where do overnight oats fit in with my workouts?
This dish makes an especially awesome pre or post workout meal. Your body is better able to tolerate carbohydrates around workouts and the starchy carbohydrates the oats offer help replenish your body’s energy stores and aid in muscle recovery.