Oatmeal is a common breakfast food enjoyed by many, and there’s no doubt it’s delicious when enjoyed hot and cozy. However, there’s an even better alternative to eating regular cooked oatmeal that everyone should try: uncooked, soaked oats. The benefits of oats are too many to name, as I’m sure you know. Oats provide magnesium, fiber, plant-based protein, potassium, and they contain absolutely no sugar. This makes them a true virtue for healthy morning meals and they’re even cheap to beat all else. But some people find oats especially hard to digest, even when gluten-free oats are eaten, and when no funny additives are included. This is where the benefits of soaked oats come into play.

Soaked oats have some unique properties that make them a must for those looking to improve their morning breakfast. The best part is, soaked oats are easy, take less time to prepare, and all the work is done overnight as you sleep.

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Here’s why soaked oats are a great choice for your breakfast:

1. They’re Much Easier to Digest

As the oats soak overnight (either in non-dairy milk  or non-dairy yogurt), their digestibility improves greatly. The key has to do with what happens overnight as they soak. Their starches break down which improves digestibility and their natural phytic acid (which all plants contain) is greatly reduced that makes them more easily absorbed by your body. The soaking acts like a long cooking, which you won’t get from just heating them in the microwave or on the stove. Most people find overnight oats much easier to digest than cooked oats for this reason.

2. They are Higher in Resistant Starch

Resistant starch is a natural type of carbohydrate found in all starchy foods. It’s been linked to increased satiety, improved weight, and even better digestion. Resistant starch is greater in cooled starches than in cooked starches. Many people allow their grains, potatoes, or beans to cool before eating them to increase resistant starch, which is more easily diminished with hot, starchy foods. Resistant starch can help decrease insulin levels that can also spike when eating hot, cooked starches versus cooled starches. Soaking oats is an easy way to eat your oats and take advantage of RS (resistant starch) at the same time.

3. They Save You Time

Soaking oats takes all of 2 minutes at night and yet it saves you up to 10 minutes the next morning, not to mention the hassle of remembering to prepare them. All you have to do is add your oats and other add-ins to a jar or bowl, give them a stir or shake, and pop them in the fridge to “do their thing” as you sleep. Then in the morning, just grab, go, and dig in! No piddling over the stove, over-boiling in the microwave, or waiting on them to cool until you eat them. Easy and tasty!

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4. They’re Versatile

Even the pickiest eater or oatmeal hater will have a hard time turning down concoctions like Pumpkin Pie and Carrot Cake. Or what about peanut butter, almond butter, banana, berry, and/or cinnamon raisin oats? See? You can put whatever creative add-ins that you want to in your oats that you like. This makes for limitless breakfast ideas, even for every single day of the year. See how many different variations you can come up with!

5. They Taste Like Dessert

The best part about eating raw soaked oats, is quite possibly the flavor. It’s insane! It’s like eating a sweet, cake-like dessert for breakfast that’s actually good for you! When you can turn something healthy into a dessert-like meal you actually look forward waking up to, the possibilities for the rest of your day are endless, wouldn’t you agree?

Oat Tips for Success:

Organic oats are a smart choice to reduce pesticide and other chemicals sprayed on crops, and gluten-free oats are great for sensitive tummies that don’t tolerate gluten very well.

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Easy Soaked Oats Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/3-1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled organic oats (gluten-free if applicable)
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon of chia or ground flax seeds (or half and half of each)
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy yogurt (See the benefits of soaking oats with coconut yogurt here.)
  • liquid stevia or sweetener of choice
  • Other add-ins such as frozen berries, plant-based protein powder, coconut flour (which makes it thick and taste like cake!)pureed banana, plain applesauce, pumpkin puree, superfoods, alcohol-free vanilla extract, and extra water if needed

Toppings can include: raw nuts and seeds, fresh banana slices, nut butter, or freshly chopped berries or apples

Directions:

Place all your ingredients in a jar or bowl, give them a stir, and soak covered overnight in the fridge.

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Try soaking your oats this week and let us know what fun flavors you come up with! What a delicious, healthy way to start off the new year!

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Note: A previous version of this article mentioned that soaked oats are raw. No oats are actually raw because all oats are processed. This article refers to uncooked, not raw, soaked oats.