I am not much of a morning person. If I have to work in the early part of the day, I get out of bed at the last possible second, perform the most basic required functions to be presentable, and force myself to eat something, anything in order to stave off the inevitable feeling of hunger that will hit me in a couple of hours when I will actually be awake. Usually, this is cereal, neither filling nor satisfying, and not at all transportable.
This is where refrigerator oatmeal (sometimes called summer oatmeal) comes in, which can be made in old jelly jars and tossed in a bag. I'd seen the recipe shared a few times by friends on Facebook, but only casually considered trying it. Then I was talking with a friend at work about it, and finally decided that I would devote the next day (my day off) to figuring it out! I searched online for some tasty, easy to follow recipes, then assembled my list. There are many places to find recipes. Here is the one I have been following thus far: Overnight, No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal from the Yummly Life.
Here is the basic recipe:
- 1/4 cup of uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/3 cup of milk (Yummly says skim, but I use whole; could also use soy or almond milk)
- 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt
- 1.5 teaspoons dried chia seeds (could also use flax seeds)
- 1 teaspoon of honey
To this, you can add pretty much anything. For my first batch, I made one Banana and Peanut Butter and one Apple Cinnamon. In my second batch, I modified the Banana and Peanut Butter to be Banana and Nutella, which turned out to be not nearly as delicious as I thought it'd be, so when I made it again, I made Banana, Peanut Butter & Nutella. That was pretty good, if a little rich. I also made another batch of Apple Cinnamon that I added a handful of golden raisins to, and that was delicious. I have yet to try cookie butter, though I am sure that is in my near future.
Other recipes on Yummly include Mango Almond, Blueberry Maple (which I really want to try when I can get some fresh blueberries), and Raspberry Vanilla. This Strawberry Banana Refrigerator Oatmeal recipe on SparkPeople suggests using flavored Greek yogurt, in this case strawberry flavored, then adding freshly chopped chunks of banana. Kitchen Confidante uses 2 tablespoons of cranberry, 1 tablespoon shredded coconut, and 1 tablespoon crushed walnuts as well as fresh fruit.
Truly, the possibilities are endless. Since I can make a few jars in advance to last the next few days, I've been assembling two or three at time on my day off to get me through until the next day I have available to make more. This has proven to be a great way of adding fruit and omega-3s to my diet! (Chia seeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids.)
If you never seem to have enough time in the morning to do what you want to do, this is a great breakfast choice! Eat at home, or take it to go. I think I like it better than classic oatmeal.