Benefits of Overnight Oats {Registered Dietitian Review}


You have maybe heard of overnight oats but are wondering what the benefits are. As a registered dietitian, I can assure you, there are so many benefits to overnight oats including how quick and easy they are to make, how they are packed with nutrients, and that they are a great way to get a good amount of fiber each morning (along with many other nutrients).

Overnight oats are made by combining oats, milk (dairy or dairy-free), yogurt, and your favorite toppings in a jar or container and letting them sit overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, your oats will be soft and creamy, and they will be ready to eat. Read on to learn more about their health benefits, which milks and toppings to use and a basic recipe you can customize.

What makes overnight oats a convenient and healthy breakfast option?

There are several nutrition benefits to overnight oats because they are packed with nutrients. Oats are a good source of fiber (which helps keep you fuller longer, and is healthy for gut and heart health).

You will also find protein in overnight oats, typically from the milk and yogurt, as well as any nuts or seeds you may add to the mixture. Protein is important for keeping you fuller longer and with every breakfast, you want to aim for about 25 grams of protein from the foods you are eating.

Also because of the milk and yogurt used, you will find a good source of calcium and Vitamin D, essential nutrients you need every day.

There are also benefits to overnight oats toppings like fruit, nuts and seeds. These toppings will nourish you with additional vitamins and minerals.

Because you make them the night before and it really doesn’t require any cooking at all, they are a convenient breakfast option you can grab and go in the morning. You can even make multiple at a time to use throughout the week.

How to make overnight oats

Here’s how this concept of overnight oats in a jar works

Once you have your ingredients, you mix them together in a jar or container and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.

  And voilà, you will have a delicious and nutritious breakfast ready to go!

To make overnight oats, you will need:




Your favorite toppings (fruit, nuts, seeds, etc.)

A jar – mason jars work well, or a glass prep bowl with lid also works well. Here are the prep bowls I love using as well.

The fun part is customizing your overnight oats, here is a simple overall formula you can follow to make.

Once you have the formula down, here are a few ways you could go with ingredients!  


Combine the oats, milk, and yogurt in a jar or container.

Stir to combine.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Recommended Oats for Overnight Oats

You can use the following types of oats in your overnight oat recipes:

Old-fashioned (rolled) oats – these are the best oats to use for overnight oats. They will hold their texture and shape, and also be ready to eat by the time morning arrives.

Steel-cut oats – these are most like the oats that get harvested, and take longer to soften. They are not recommended for overnight oat recipes unless you plan to cook the oats overnight in a slow cooker.

Quick oats – not recommended as they will get too soggy from absorbing too much of the liquid

Different types of milk or dairy-free alternatives to use:

Using milk in your overnight oats recipe boosts your protein, calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients. The healthiest milk to use in your overnight oats is:

Fat-free milk

1% milk

If you are looking for dairy-free alternatives, try one of the following. Just make sure you are shaking the milk well before you add it to your recipe. The nutrients the dairy-free alternatives are fortified with often fall to the bottom of the container which is why shaking is essential.

Oat milk

Almond milk

Soy milk

Rice milk

Coconut milk

A Basic Recipe for Overnight Oats

Here is a recipe for basic overnight oats:


1 cup rolled oats

1 cup milk of your choice

1/2 cup yogurt (Greek yogurt tends to be higher in protein)

1/4 cup fruit of your choice, chopped (think berries, bananas, apples or peaches)

1/4 cup nuts, seeds, or granola

1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (optional)


Combine all ingredients in a jar or container.

Stir until well combined.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Enjoy in the morning!

You can also get creative with your overnight oats by adding different flavors, such as cinnamon, vanilla, pumpkin spice or cocoa powder.

Flavor Variations of Overnight Oats

With so many flavor combinations to choose from, you’re sure to find one (or several) that you love. Plus, making them the night before means you can hit the snooze button a few extra times in the morning!  

   Classic: Top your overnight oats with fresh berries, a dollop of yogurt, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

  Chocolate Peanut Butter: Mix cocoa powder and peanut butter into your overnight oats and top with banana slices and chopped peanuts.

  Apple Cinnamon: Add diced apples and a sprinkle of cinnamon to your overnight oats, then top with a drizzle of caramel sauce.

  Tropical: Mix diced pineapple, coconut flakes, and a splash of coconut milk into your overnight oats, then top with mango slices and toasted macadamia nuts.

  Savory: Mix in some cooked quinoa, diced avocado, and chopped herbs to create a savory twist on overnight oats.

How long are overnight oats good for?

You can store overnight oats in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. But keep in mind, they will continue to soften, the longer they are in the refrigerator. If you like a chewy texture, stick to no more than 3 days in the refrigerator.

Overnight oats are a healthy and convenient breakfast option that can be made ahead of time and enjoyed on the go. They are packed with nutrients, and they can be customized to your liking. So, next time you’re looking for a healthy and delicious breakfast, give overnight oats a try!

Looking for more ideas with oatmeal? Here are six simple ideas.

Would you like access to my recipe library with 1000’s of healthy recipe ideas? Learn more here about my meal plans.

The post Benefits of Overnight Oats {Registered Dietitian Review} appeared first on Midwest Goodness.

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