Looking for a warm, nutritious breakfast recipe to ease you through the winter? This Vanilla Pear Overnight Oatmeal with Chia Seeds recipe will do just that.
These overnight oats are paired with a Vanilla Chia Hemp Seed Pudding that’s not only creamy and decadent but also provides a bulk of this recipe’s nutritional value. Most importantly, it’s completely customizable. Think of this recipe as a blank canvas for you to personalize with your favorite flavors, fruits, toppings, nut milk, and healthy fat of choice.
In this post, we’ll break down each component and its nutritional benefits. Filled with healthy fats, fiber, and protein, this nutrient-dense bowl was designed to keep you satiated through the morning and your blood sugar balanced (with Kelly LeVeque’s Fab Four in mind!). Think of it as a warm hug in a bowl.
What are Steel Cut Oats, and What are they Good for?
Steel cut oats, sometimes referred to as Irish oats, are one of the least processed oat varieties. They’re made by cutting oat groats into smaller pieces using a steel blade, a process that leaves much of the bran intact and allows the grain to maintain more nutritional properties that would otherwise be removed in more processed varieties (such as rolled, instant, and hand oats). This is why I prefer steel cut as my oat of choice.
Now, let’s analyze the nutrient profile of steel cut oats. 1/4-cup dry serving contains¹:
- Protein: 5 grams
- FAT: 2.5 grams
- TOTAL CARBOHYDRATES: 31 GRAMS
- DIETARY FIBER: 5 GRAMS
- NET CARBOHYDRATES*: 26 GRAMS
As shown above, out of the three macronutrients, what is it mostly? A carbohydrate. But fear not – I’m not singling out carbohydrates to demonize them. Rather, if we know that steel cut oats are mostly carbohydrates, then how can we make them more nutritious? How can you get more bang for your buck?
It’s simple. Invite the other macronutrients to the party! Protein, Fat, and Fiber.
Benefits of Protein, Fat, and Fiber in Overnight Oatmeal with Chia Seeds
In this section, I’ll explore the benefits to adding protein, fat, and fiber to your overnight oats. I added a Vanilla Chia Hemp Seed Pudding not only as a creamy and decadent layer but also to pack this breakfast with nutrient-density. The cool pudding, made from coconut milk, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and vanilla protein powder pairs nicely with the warm steel cut oats.
With 1 serving of this recipe, you’re getting roughly 24g of protein, 31g of fat, and 12g of fiber for breakfast. Total net carbs come out to about 36g. Not bad for a warm and delicious meal to start your day! Now, let’s dive into each macronutrient.
Protein is the most satisfying macronutrient. It’s essential and referred to as the building blocks for our cells. Adding protein to your overnight oats will:
- support your metabolic rate
- keep you satiated for longer
- support your blood sugar balance
A study from the University of Missouri found that a group of 20-year-old women who started their day off with a high-protein breakfast increased daily fullness and calmed hunger hormones when compared to a normal-protein breakfast (with high protein at 35g, and normal protein at 13g).²
I used Primal Kitchen’s Vanilla Collagen Fuel for vanilla flavoring and as my choice of protein. Not only does it flavor the pudding, but it also includes hemp seeds, which act as a secondary of protein. Each serving of this Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds recipe contains 24g of protein.
Adding fats can slow digestion so your oats can fuel you and keep you full for longer. Like protein, it is also considered an essential macronutrient. Fat is essential for:
- brain health
- hormone production
- absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble phytochemicals
The healthy fat source in this recipe comes from the 3/4 cup of coconut milk used in the Vanilla Chia Hemp Seed Pudding. It’s what’ll give your oats the creamy, satisfying texture.
Fiber is key for gut health and digestion. Adding fiber will feed your healthy gut bacteria and support nutrient absorption.
The average American gets 15 grams of dietary fiber per day³, which is only about half the recommended daily amount⁴. For adults, the recommended daily amount by the USDA is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. For adults over age 50, the recommended amount is 21 grams for women and 30 grams daily for men.⁵
As shown above, we could all use some help in the fiber department. This is why I paired the overnight oatmeal with chia seeds. Chia seeds will be our main source of fiber here, helping you reach 48% of your daily recommended fiber intake before you’ve started your day.
How to Reduce Phytic Acid in Oatmeal by Soaking Overnight
Phytic acid is naturally found in legumes, seeds, nuts, and cereal grains – like oat. It can hinder the absorption of micronutrients like iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium. However, phytic acid content can be drastically reduced by soaking and cooking⁶, which is why I designed this recipe to include both a soak and a cook step.
Soaking your oats is simple: for every 1 cup of oats, pour 2 cups of water (1:2 ratio) in a covered container. Leave at room temperature overnight or 24 hours. Store in the fridge after 24 hours. This simple, extra step can elevate the nutrient-density of your oats.
How to Make and Soak Overnight Oats
Start your preparation one night in advance, or at least 7 hours before you plan on serving the oats. 2 hours can work too, but you won’t receive as much benefit from soaking for a longer period.
In a container, add 1 cup of steel cut oats and cover with 2 cups water. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight, at least 7 hrs or up to 24 hours. Store in the fridge after 24 hours.
Overnight Oatmeal with Chia Seeds Flavors
The beauty about this recipe is that you can customize it to your liking.
- Want to make it vegan? Use a plant-based vanilla protein powder in your Vanilla Chia Hemp Seed Pudding. Truvani carries a vanilla flavor and is a clean brand that uses minimal ingredients.
- Looking for a pescatarian protein powder? Crushed Tonic has an unflavored Marine Collagen – add a few more teaspoons of vanilla, and you’ll be good to go!
- Don’t like pears? Use your favorite, or whatever you have at hand. Frozen fruit works fine here as well, serve at your desired temperature. Berries are low-glycemic and make for a great swap for pears.
- Have a chocolate craving? Use a chocolate protein powder instead! My favorite is Primal Kitchen’s Chocolate Collagen Fuel.
Tried this Overnight Oatmeal with Chia Seeds recipe at home? Created a delicious flavor swap? I’d love hear! Let me know in the comments below!
Vanilla Pear Overnight Oatmeal with Chia Seed Pudding (Dairy-Free)
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 2 cups water
Sautéed or Roasted Pears
- 2 pears
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 dash cinnamon
- 1 dash salt
- 1 dash vanilla extract optional
- 1 dash maple sugar optional
Vanilla Chia Hemp Seed Pudding
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- 3 tbsp hemp seeds
- ¾ cup canned coconut milk
- ¾ cup unsweetened macadamia milk or nut milk of choice, I use Milkadamia
- 30.8 grams Primal Kitchen Vanilla Collagen Fuel (2 scoops) or protein powder of choice
Toppings (optional, for added crunch)
- walnut pieces optional
- coconut flakes optional
Overnight Oatmeal (prep 1 night in advance)
- In a container, add 1 cup of steel cut oats and cover with 2 cups water. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight, at least 7 hrs or up to 24 hours. Store in the fridge after 24 hours.
Vanilla Chia Hemp Seed Pudding (prep 1 night in advance)
- Either in a blender or another container, add ¼ cup chia seeds, 3 tbsp hemp seeds, ¾ cup canned coconut milk, and ¾ cup unsweetened macadamia milk.
- Stir to combine. Using a blender will help prevent clumps. If stirring by hand, slowly add vanilla protein powder to the pudding mixture, bit by bit to avoid clumps. Store in the fridge overnight for at least 7 hrs. NOTE: The texture will be quite solid out of the fridge due to the coconut milk being refrigerated, but will liquify when mixed with the warmed oats later. Add liquid to your desired consistency.
For Sautéed Pears
- Chop the pears and sauté in 2 tbsp coconut oil for 5 minutes or until desired softness. Add a dash of salt and cinnamon. Optional: add a dash of maple sugar and vanilla extract.
For Roasted Pears
- Chop the pears. Coat the bottom of a pan or cast iron skillet with 2 tbsp coconut oil. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Optional: add a dash of maple sugar and vanilla extract.
Compiling, Day of
- Heat the oats. In a small pot on medium, heat ¼ of the Overnight Oatmeal mixture (both oats and some liquid) on the stove and bring to a light boil. Liquid from the oats are fine here, more may be needed for desired consistency.
- Layer the bottom of your serving container with your now warmed Overnight Oatmeal, followed by a ¼ of the Vanilla Chia Hemp Seed Pudding mixture. If necessary, add a few splashes of nut milk to desired consistency. Top with ¼ of Sautéed or Roasted Pears.
- For a crunchy texture, follow with walnut pieces, hemp seeds, or coconut flakes.
*Net Carbohydrates = Total Carbohydrates – Dietary Fiber
- “Steel Cut Oats.” Bobsredmill.com. Web. 10 Dec. 2020.
- Leidy, Heather J et al. “Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls.” The American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 97,4 (2013): 677-88. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.053116
- Slavin, Joanne L. “Position of the American Dietetic Association: health implications of dietary fiber.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association vol. 108,10 (2008): 1716-31. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2008.08.007
- Farvid, Eliassen, Cho E, Liao X, Chen WY, and Willett. “Fiber.” The Nutrition Source. 28 Oct. 2019. Web. 10 Dec. 2020.
- Katherine D. McManus, MS. “Should I Be Eating More Fiber?” Harvard Health Blog. 27 Feb. 2019. Web. 10 Dec. 2020.
- Gupta, Raj Kishor et al. “Reduction of phytic acid and enhancement of bioavailable micronutrients in food grains.” Journal of food science and technology vol. 52,2 (2015): 676-84. doi:10.1007/s13197-013-0978-y