Things are about to get festive AF around here – starting with these holiday-spiced Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats! Can I get an AMEN for foods that taste like dessert but double as healthy breakfasts??? Insert praise-hands emoji HERE.
These are super meal-prep + macro friendly. Each one only takes about 5 minutes to make. Meaning you could make 5 days worth of breakfasts for your work week in less than half an hour. That’s breakfast ALL WEEK LONG in the same time it takes you to watch a rerun of The Office on TV. So simple that you could actually sit down on the couch and make them on your coffee table while you WATCH it (things I may or may not do on a regular basis).
Let’s add overnight oats to the growing list of reasons to never skip out on breakfast again.
The magic of overnight oats is that there is zero cooking involved. Just add your ingredients to a jar + shake ’em up + set them in the fridge.
That. Is. IT! Let the overnight soak do the “cooking” for you, while you sleep. As the raw oats soak overnight, their starches start to breakdown and the oats begin to soften making them more digestible. Some people find that this actually makes them easier to digest than traditional hot cooked oats.
I had the toughest time choosing whether to call these Pumpkin Pie… or Pumpkin Pie Protein… or Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake…overnight oats. Because, honestly they would ALL be so fitting for these delightful little jars.
Every time I eat them it reminds me of the morning after thanksgiving. That moment when I spring out of bed + check the fridge to see if there’s any leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast.
And thanks to the addition of thick + creamy Greek Yogurt (hello there, protein powerhouse), it also conjures up all those RICH + dreamy cheesecake vibes.
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It’s like getting two desserts in one breakfast. And it’s high-protein + full of fiber + healthy fats?? I. Can’t. Even.
RELATED: Chai Coconut Chia Pudding
For those of you who need to know how to make it (in a “like right now” kind of way) – scroll to the bottom for the recipe card. It’s ready + waitin’ for you, my friend!!
For those of you who are curious about the *why’s* and the *what-for’s* of the ingredients – let’s get right on into it…
Why coconut nectar?
I like using coconut nectar because it is minimally processed and I love its thick + syrupy texture. If you’ve never used it before, you’ll notice it has a darker color and a deep sweet flavor to match. It comes from the sap of the coconut blossom and is a delicious, naturally-sourced swap for sugar.
Diabetes runs on both sides of the family in our household – Billy and I each have a risk of developing it so we are mindful about our daily sugar intake.
Coconut nectar sits lower on the glycemic index than other sweeteners – making it a solid alternative to other sugars. Its average GI score = 35 (anything under 55 is considered a low glycemic food).
The glycemic index score for a food is not the be-all-end-all predictor of how a food will actually affect you. The glycemic load may be better for that. Admittedly, I don’t know what the glycemic load is for coconut nectar. But. I do know this….
When I eat refined white sugar, it makes my body physically hot and uncomfortable. I get a little spike in energy, my temperature rises, I often get sweaty (sorry if that’s t.m.i., but sweat happens), and then comes the dreaded sugar crash. This unpleasant sequence of events simply doesn’t seem to happen when I eat coconut nectar. I may not 100% understand the science behind it but I absolutely believe that everybody reacts differently to certain foods and ingredients. Ours respond pretty happily and normally to coconut nectar. The fact that is tastes delicious is certainly a huge plus.
Other low-GI natural sweetener choices include maple syrup (GI of 54) + honey (58) + agave nectar (15). While agave nectar is a natural sweetener and a low GI food, I find that its sweetness is so scant that I end up using a boatload more of it than I’d like to. So I wouldn’t recommend it for this recipe as it might make the mixture too wet.
RELATED: Blackberry Pie Overnight Oats
If you’re on the hunt for a natural sweetener that ranks super low on the scale, you may be interested in trying out stevia – which ranks at 0. That’s right, ZERO. This is one of the main reasons why I use stevia so frequently. I often leave out the coconut nectar entirely and choose to sweeten these oats with liquid stevia drops instead.
I originally started using stevia as a way to cut down the sugar I was drinking in my morning coffee. But now I reach for it to sweeten yogurt, traditional hot oats, mug cakes, smoothies, chia puddings, evening tea (and the list goes on).
These alcohol-free vanilla liquid stevia drops from Nu Naturals are my absolute favorite – depending on the price, I order mine from Vitacost or Amazon. I love how well liquid stevia mixes into cold + non-liquid foods. It stirs in evenly and easily, unlike the granulated or powder versions – which tend to clump when not being stirred into a hot beverage.
What’s the deal with ground flaxseed?
Healthy fats + fiber, that’s what! And as far as good-for-you add-in’s go, ground flaxseeds (and chia seeds) couldn’t be easier to stir into breakfast porridge, yogurt, smoothies, or these oats. I use the Organic Golden Flaxseed Meal from Bob’s Red Mill – which I either get from Amazon or in-store at my local Whole Foods. I use 1-2 tablespoons per day (at the very most), so this small bag lasts a good long while.
Flaxseeds are being studied for their anti-inflammatory and disease fighting properties. Some researchers are looking into the effect that these little guys have on everything from heart disease and cancer prevention efforts to hormone balance, lowered cholesterol, weight loss, and digestive health.
Ground flaxseeds are a great source of fiber + antioxidants + plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.
We all know that fish oil has omega-3’s (DHA + EPA) in it that are beneficial to us. But flaxseeds contain a different type of omega-3 called called alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). Another healthy fat that may promote healthier looking hair, skin, and nails. And while I rarely leave the house in anything but a pony tail and wildly unmanicured claws, I would still very much like those things to be in as good of condition as possible. Cause why not?
Also, ground flaxseed meal tastes surprisingly great. When combined with oats, it makes them taste like there’s something toasted or baked mixed in. It’s like a little nod to graham cracker pie crust. I often stir them into hot oats (with mini chocolate chips + cashew butter) because it makes the whole thing taste so much like a freshly baked cookie.
Bought the stuff to incorporate hormone-balancing, omega-3 goodness into my morning meals but ended up keeping it because it tastes like pie crust and cookies.
Some people have healthy decisions motivated by the desire for actual, long-lasting, live-your-best-life HEALTH. Others are driven by dessert-lust (that has incidental health benefits). I’ll let you decide for yourself which one I am today.
What healthy ingredients do you mix into every day meals + how do you do it? Tell me your sneaky superfood tricks in the comments!
Easy recipe for Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats! A high-protein, high-fiber breakfast or snack that is a healthy spin on the classic holiday dessert.
- ½ c rolled oats
- ¾ c plain Greek yogurt*
- 1/3 c pumpkin purée
- ½ c almond milk*
- ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbs coconut nectar**
- pinch of salt
- 1-2 tbs ground flaxseed***
- 1 tbs chia seeds
- extra dollop of Greek yogurt
- pumpkin seeds
- METHOD: Layer all ingredients into a medium-size lidded jar or container. Mix together with a spoon until well combined (or you can attach lid and shake until well mixed). Secure lid and place in refrigerator overnight. Open in the morning and eat cold straight from the jar. Top with an additional dollop of yogurt (to mimic whipped cream!) + add granola or pumpkin seeds for crunch.
*Both of these ingredients were unsweetened, if you use a sweetened variety of each then adjust the amount of your sweetener to taste
**Can swap for maple syrup, honey, or 10-15 drops of liquid stevia drops
***I prefer to use 2 tablespoons but if you’re unfamiliar with using this ingredient you can use less or omit it entirely.
- Serving Size: 1