Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Overnight Oats and a Holiday Challenge!

My first experience with overnight oats was a disaster.

I typically like my oats hot, but on this particular evening I knew I would have no time in the morning to make my beloved oats, so I decided to try overnight oats so they'd be ready in the morning and I wouldn't have to do anything. I used a recipe from The Broccoli Hut <---- All of her overnight oat recipes. The recipe called for oats, water, Greek yogurt, pumpkin, and a few other not-so-important ingredients, which I didn't use. The next morning when I opened the fridge I was sad to see my oats had turned to glue. BLAH! I ate them anyway because I was in a hurry to get out the door to my 7am meeting. I added a bit of almond milk to make the texture more bearable.

As I was eating my oats, I thought to myself, "what went wrong?". I know there had been other "blogger fads" that had not been my favorite (oats in a jar....), but I figured overnight oats would not be one of them. As I thought more about it, I decided I made two fundamental errors.

1) I let them sit overnight for too long. I didn't wait long enough the night before to prepare my oats, therefore they sat for over 11 hours. Gross.

2) I used too much yogurt and not enough liquid. Although I followed the recipe, I think I like more of a runny texture to my oats, compared to most people's preferences.

So I tried again. This time I used; 1/2 cup oats, 3/4 cup soy milk, 2 T whole milk yogurt, 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin, and some vanilla flavoring.

I mixed up all of the ingredients at about 10 pm.

I woke up at 6am, then ate my oats around 7am (~ 9 hours after making them). The consistency was much better!! The addition of more liquid, and less yogurt, prevented the glue-like texture from forming.

I even added some cinnamon and nutmeg for extra flavor.

QUESTION: Have you tried overnight oats?!


As many of you know, I had an eating disorder in high school and part of college. While I have been better for several years, I was still under my desired weight just last year. After cutting out FODMAPs, and starting to absorb more nutrients, I have officially gained about 10 pounds! At this time I am within my ideal body weight and could not feel more amazing about myself and my new body. While I am very proud of myself for gaining my weight back, I have found that I am unable to control myself around food when I'm at parties lately. It's not as bad as it could be, but I'm sensing a small loss of control when I go to weddings or other social gatherings. I know some of it has to do with alcohol, which I tend to drink at these types of events/parties (although in reality I usually only have two drinks at most), but I still would like to work on this before it turns into a habit.

This brings me to my Holiday Challenge. This year I have created a challenge for all of the employees at the store where I work. The challenge is to not put on any weight over the holidays (**I'm actually going to do a modified version of this challenge by challenging myself to not binge on holiday foods and drinks during holiday parties, without the weight maintenance goal in mind, necessarily**). For those of you who read my blog and who are trying to put on weight, lets make this a challenge to put on weight, or you can be like me and make it a challenge to not lose control over holiday sweets and drinks. But if you are noticing an increase in your weight every year, and it's not a good thing, why not join the employees in the "No Weight Gain Challenge?!". For the store employees I have also added an incentive to lose weight over the holidays, so if you fit in the category where you are above the ideal body weight for your height, why don't you try it?!

The bottom line is that it's pointless to start your New Years resolution on January first. Weight loss and weight maintenance is not achieved by quick fixes, it's achieved by a change in lifestyle and a change in habits. What better time to practice eating well at parties and holiday functions than during the 2 month span of the holiday season?!

If you want to join me/us with this challenge, great! No need to tell me, but at the end I'd love to hear success stories!
And meanwhile, leave some of your favorite tips for dodging holiday weight gain, or for simply staying healthy over the holidays, and I will post them along with some other tips on my next post!


  1. They're having this same challenge at our gym, and Ryan and I joined in! I think it will be great incentive to not go crazy at holiday parties and gatherings-- which I almost ALWAYS do! I've gained about 5-7 pounds over Christmas every year for the past five years or so. I always take it off in January, but I'd love to not gain it in the first place!

  2. I've tried overnight oats once and they weren't my thing - I've wanted to give it a second try because it always looks so good to me, but I also don't want to waste a breakfast, ha :)

  3. I just wrote a comment and it went error! errrrrr....anyway, just wanted to say congrats on getting your ideal weight and good luck with the challenge!

  4. I love overnight oats! They're so refreshing!!

    I agree with you about not waiting till Jan.1 to start a new health track. Starting now is the best thing to do!

    p.s. - I'm so glad you're feeling amazing :) :)

  5. Congrats on the weight gain and that you feel so good about yourself!

    I think the main thing about the holidays is to make it about the people and not about the food.

  6. I have never tried overnight oats. I don't think I could stomach cold oatmeal.

    To help me not gain weight over the holidays, I try to focus on portion control. I don't want to deprive myself of trying all of the yummy foods at holiday get-togethers, so I try a little of all the things I think look or smell good!

  7. I've made overnight oats in a crock pot and they turned out wicked thick but I just added a touch of water, gave them a quick stir, and popped them in the micro and they were as good as they get. ;-)

  8. The first time I made overnight oats they were a little gluey too because I didn't add enough soy milk. But now I absolutely lovee them! I've started make them all the time.

  9. If I know a day is going to be indulgent (like Thanksgiving) I try to start out with a healthier breakfast like fruit and yogurt and get a workout in asap!

  10. Google a recipe for traditional Bircher Muesli, the original 'overnight oats'. It's pretty foolproof.

  11. Definitely in on this challenge! I'm trying to lose weight but the first step is of course not to GAIN :)

    I haven't tried overnight oats, but I do like a breakfast cookie (which sits in the fridge overnight to harden). I doubt that the extra couple hours would have made a difference to the texture of your oats - it was likely the ratio of yogurt to liquid and all.

  12. Glad the second time around with the oats worked. I have never tried them but I am sure I would end up with a mess on my hands.

    Gaining weight is so much easier when you are absorbing things. I was down to 90# after my gall bladder was removed and it took months and months before I saw any weight gain (and then there was love and what not, and we all know that can bring on some weight gain).

  13. I have tried overnight oats, once. I did not like them at all. The texture was all wrong for my taste.

    However, I'm thinking I should try them again and play around with the mixture. It would be so nice to fix breakfast the night before and have it ready to go in the morning:)

  14. If you put your oats in the crock pot overnight on low u have nice warm oatmeal in the morning! (Spray with cooking spray! Stir in the morning and let sit a minute) I just do my oats and water overnight, then add pumpkin, cinnamon, etc in the morning.

  15. I'm not a fan of overnight oats, either. I just don't like them cold. At all. Eww!

    My one downfall over the holiday's is chocolate so I ask my family not to buy me any at all. I will admit I get kinda bummed when they listen, but in the end I'm glad for it!

  16. I've never tried overnight oatmeal. It's just not that appetizing to me. Glad your second attempt was more successful.

    Congrats on your healhty weight gain!

  17. i love this challenge!! i always go back to Canada during the holidays, and of course, all i do is visit and EAT. twice it's happened where i put on 5lbs (which took twice as long to lose, of course.) last year i said ENOUGH and really watched myself. it felt liks such an accomplishment when i went back to Sydney and my jeans still fit. :P

  18. Glad to hear you have some newfound fabulousness and are feeling healthy! ;)

    I have my own version of overnight oats: after trying steel-cut oats and being put off by the long cooking time, I decided to see what happened if I soaked them overnight and then cooked them after.

    I place 1/4 cup steel cut oats (the serving size is much smaller than rolled oats) plus 1/2 cup water in a bowl. Fridge overnight. In the morning, I add some soymilk (~1/3 c) and microwave until it boils. I let it sit a few minutes in the microwave while I get ready and its thick and perfect!

    And I dont have to boil it for 25 minutes or however long the package says to.

    Lately, I stir in 1/3 cup pumpkin, 1/4 tsp each of allspice, cinnamon and cloves, and sweeten to taste! Try it , its awesome!

  19. I think I LOVE you Gina...and thanks for the shout out for those of us trying to GAIN weight...I would like to partner with you and do a "Holiday Ps and Qs" posting up about my challenge to gain a pound a week, and your "healthy" in? We'd spotlight on that post all the blogs who are doing the challenge

  20. I make overnight oats all the time and LOVE them. However, I never use yogurt in mine. I make them with 1/3 cup oats, 3/4 cup almond milk, 1 ripe banana mashed up, 1 tbsp ground flax and vanilla extract + cinnamon to taste. Then in the morning I often put a chopped up apple in the microwave with cinnamon for a few minutes, then scoop it onto of the cold oats and it makes for a really great breakfast, or at least I think so. The recipe I use is adapted from Angela's recipe at OSG (

    Hopefully you can find a mixture that works for you! They are such an easy breakfast! :)

  21. yes! ive had overnight oats once, but then i immediately put them in the microwave to warm up- for some reason I really didn't like the cold oaty texture!

  22. I have never tried overnight oats but I have tried OIAJ but wasn't a fan...too much work to eat them out of the jar! haha I prefer my oats warm as well so cold oats sounds gross to me.

    As for weight gain, this is a GREAT challenge! I have several clients who need to commit to this! For myself, I've maintained my current weight for 5 years now so I am pretty confident in myself BUT who doesn't need a little reminder!

  23. That is a great Holiday Challenge Gina. And I have never tried overnight oats. May have to give that a whirl. PS: Can I subscribe to your blog? I couldn't find a link anywhere on your blog.

  24. I am on the fence with overnight oats. I have made them before and liked them but I do not make them all that often. I like that you added pumpkin in there. That sounds like a great addition.

    I love your holiday challenge. I notice that I have been splurging a bit more lately. I really want to be good over the holidays and stick to indulging in moderation.

    Congrats to gaining weight! It sounds like you are leading a much healthier lifestyle.

  25. I'm in! My goal is definitely to maintain, but I'd love to lose a few! Being realistic, however, maintenance would be fabulous :)

    I have not tried overnight oats, but I think that's because I allow plenty of time in the mornings. I do want to try, though...and I will be using your measurements. I like a slightly soupier consistency, too...and DEFINITELY not glue!

  26. I am also on the fence about overnight oats. I like them because a lot of mornings I don't have extra time but I definitely had to ditch a lot of the yogurt because I didn't like the taste or consistency at first. I also sometimes add a little cocoa powder to mine too which obviously make them delicious haha.

    I love your challenge idea. I normally don't gain weight around the holidays but last year I really did and they didn't come off until spring rolled around so- this year I'm going to try really hard not to gain them at all. The key for me is to only eat like it's a holiday ON the actual holiday and not in all the days around each one!

  27. hahaha is it weird that i love the glue like texture? i like them more sticky ish but not glue like inedible. but i still like them thiiiiiiick hahaha :)

    there's so many good recipes and baked goods i want to make over the holidays that weight gain is probably inevitable hahaha bah!

  28. Yay, Gina! I'm so happy you're at a healthy weight now. I'll bet you look mm-mm-gorgeous! ;-) Best of luck with your goal, but I still think it's okay to gain a couple or so pounds over the really all evens out, because after the holidays you don't even really wanna look at food.

    But anyways. Overnight oats. I'm sick of blogger fads, so I actively avoid them. I'm a stubborn mule like that. But one reason you might not have liked them is because it's COLD. cold food just tastes yucky, unless it's cold pizza. Yum.

  29. I love overnight oats but haven't ever tried yogurt in them. Just oats, water, chia seeds, raisins, cinnamon at night and then in the morning after the gym but before my shower I add in some peanut or almond butter and slices of banana. I have added some pumpkin before too, but only about 1tbs. I like the consistency of this, the banana only has about a half hour to soak before I get to it and it's not too mushy but just a little.

    Good luck next time!

  30. Congrats on getting to your happy weight! This is a great challenge!