Breakfast To Go: Warm Overnight Steel Cut Oats
By Julie Van Rosendaal, Dinner With Julie
Jan 6, 2016
January can be a hard jolt back to reality—torn from the lazy comfort of winter holidays, relaxed school and work schedules and long, lingering mornings, it can be tempting to sacrifice breakfast in favour of time.
Breakfast is referred to as the most important meal of the day for several reasons (for both kids and adults): it’s vital to refuel after your overnight fast ("break the fast," get it?) in order to provide much-needed energy and restore blood glucose levels, both of which help maximize mental and physical performance.
If you’re a parent, you’re right to insist your kids eat a little something before they head out the door.
Breakfast provides an opportunity to get some essential nutrients in, too—as with any meal, it should be a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Whole grains and fruits (and even vegetables) keep kids (and grown-ups) at top form while providing energy that will last through to lunchtime.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be prepackaged to be portable!
Coffee shop muffins and packaged cereal bars may be convenient, but may not be the best nutritional choices; when it’s cold outside, a warm breakfast can be especially nourishing—and if you spend a few minutes preparing the night before, it’s a sound investment in your kids’ health as well as your pocketbook. Breakfast doesn’t have to be prepackaged to be portable!
Steel cut oats—oats chopped from groats that haven’t been rolled and flattened yet—are particularly nutty and chewy compared to traditional oats. They take longer to cook (about half an hour on the stove) and require more water (1 cup oats to 3-4 cups water, depending on how saucy or dry you like your porridge), but they can be made in large batches.
Try refrigerating cooked steel cut oats for a few days or dividing them into empty muffin tins and freeze, then transfer the hardened pucks to a freezer bag for longer storage (pop one out and microwave it for an instant breakfast).
If you keep jars of dried fruit, toasted nuts and even coconut on hand, alongside the usual brown sugar/honey/maple syrup, it will be easy to assemble a pretty amazing breakfast in a matter of minutes.
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But I recently learned a new trick that changes everything—particularly if you’re in the position to take breakfast with you in the morning.
With overnight steel cut oats in individual jars, kids can eat in the back seat on the way to school, or you can grab one with the lid on, pop it in your bag and microwave it at work.
Best of all: each serving costs mere cents—a huge savings compared to virtually anything else you can pick up—and provides a nutritional boost, too.
I love this method!
You Will Need:
- 1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
- 3 1/2-4 cups water
- pinch salt
- screw-top jars (I like the kind with the rings and snap lids)
- any toppings you like (berries, nuts, raisins, shredded coconut)
1. In a medium-large saucepan, bring the oats, water and salt to a simmer. Cook for a few minutes, then remove from the heat, stir and divide the mixture between 5 jars. Let stand for an hour or so, until they’ve cooled down a bit, then put the lids on and put them in the fridge. That’s it!
2. As they cool, the oats will absorb the rest of the liquid. All you need to do is grab a jar from the fridge, remove the lid and pop the jar in the microwave to reheat. Add your choice of toppings and eat breakfast straight from the jar. It’s environmentally friendly, too!
Of course, you could add any additions straight to the jar after cooking the oats. Raisins and other dried fruit will plump up as they sit and a shake of cinnamon is always a good idea. Add chopped nuts later, to keep them crunchy—ditto fresh berries, which could get watery.
Makes 5 servings.