Overnight Oats with Chia

All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast. – John Gunther

If you want to have a good day, you should make sure to start it with a good breakfast. If you want to have an even better day, you should make sure to start it with a good breakfast that you don’t have to make. Overnight oats are the perfect healthy breakfast – they’re easy to prepare, extremely customizable, and made the night before, so you can grab them quickly on your way out the door.

jar-overnight-oats

Overnight oats are also great vehicles for chia seeds. Most recipes include a topping of chia seeds and fruit, or include the seeds blended into the base as well. Either way, the combination of oats, almond milk, chia seeds, and fruit equals a great amount of energy throughout the day and enough fiber to keep you full until lunch – so your stomach won’t be growling at your desk all morning (isn’t that the worst?).

There were so many overnight oat recipes to choose from, but I chose to keep it simple as I am pretty new to this idea and have only made this once before. This is not to say that it’s difficult, as you pretty much just combine everything into the jar and stick it in the refrigerator. No cooking required, either – the oats “cook” themselves overnight in the mixture. This particular recipe is from Just A Taste. No photos of my own this week, as it wasn’t exactly the prettiest creation… so click the images to find their source.

What you’ll need:enhanced-buzz-3838-1365803688-29
  •  oats, duh (1 cup)
  • 1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
  • fresh fruit to top
How to make:
  1. Combine everything into a bowl and stir well.
  2. Pour your mixture into a mason jar, or bowl, however you will be eating it.
  3. Refrigerate and wait patiently overnight.
  4. Wake up, top with fruit, and enjoy!

If you have a busy schedule, you know it can be tough sometimes to get a healthy meal in when you’re always rushing out the door. These oats give you the nutrition you need to get through the day and require minimal prep work. I highly recommend this recipe and don’t be afraid to customize – there are so many directions this can go in, and they’re all so different and delicious.

Chia Seeds: They’re “Supernatural”

This week’s special ingredient is the chia seed. You may or may not have heard of these tiny quinoa lookalikes, as they’re still growing in popularity (though at a fast pace) in the US. As I’ll explain, chia seeds are little nutritional powerhouses which will add great health benefits to your yogurts, your drinks, or your baking.

chia-seeds-in-a-bowl

History of chia seeds

Chia seeds go way back. They were grown as early as 3500 B.C. by the Aztec Empire, and were a major cash crop in Mexico. They were said to have been used by the Mayan and Aztec cultures for their “supernatural powers.” Today, they’re grown in Mexico, South America, and Australia, imported to the U.S., and find their way to healthy kitchens across the country.

the-word-chia-spelled-with-chia-seedsYou may have seen chia seed items on menus of healthy restaurants, either in smoothie blends, yogurt parfaits, or baked goods. Though they look like quinoa, chia seeds aren’t meant to be cooked like quinoa. Instead, they’re usually a topping or an extra ingredient included for nutritional purposes only, as they don’t have a remarkable (or even noticeable) taste. The flavor is somewhat nutty but rather mild, perhaps mild enough to be an ingredient that’s sneaked into a meal that needs a nutritional boost.

Benefits of chia

Though I wouldn’t necessarily say that chia is up there with quinoa in terms of health benefits, I think it’s worth writing about as such a small amount of the superfood provides so much  nutritional value. These little seeds are 40% fiber by weight, and 14% protein by weight.

One 1oz (about 2tbsp) serving will provide you with the following:

  • 11g Fiber
  • 4g Protein
  • 9g Fat (5g of which are omega-3s)
  • 18% RDA of Calcium
  • 30% RDA of Manganese
  • 30% RDA of Magnesium
  • 27% RDA of Phosphorus

It also has decent amounts of Zinc, Potassium, and B Vitamins.

With these high numbers of vitamins and nutrients comes a variety of health benefits. Here are a few:

  1. Chia seedsBeing that chia seeds are 40% fiber by weight and 14% protein by weight, they can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Fiber and protein help make you feel full, and keep your digestive organs working properly. It’s sounds silly or hard to believe that these little seeds can actually make you feel full, but the numbers don’t lie!
  2. Chia seeds are great for bone health. They say milk helps build strong bones, because of its high percentage of calcium. Chia seeds contain 18% of the recommended daily amount of calcium. Try putting chia seeds in your yogurt and you’ll have a calcium-packed meal. Magnesium, phosphorus, and of course protein are great for bone health too; and are all abundant in chia seeds.
  3. Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants which can help protect your body from damaging and/or life threatening diseases, such as some cancers. They can also help fight aging.
How to eat chia seeds

Cant-choose-between-chia-pudding-Greek-yogurt-breakfastAs I’ve mentioned, chia seeds are a very versatile addition to your diet, because they don’t have much taste. You can add them to your oats in the morning, to your yogurt, to your smoothies or juices, or to your baked goods. Additionally, you can combine your seeds with water to make “chia gel”, which can be used to thicken sauces, or even act as a binding agent for veggie patties.

For my next recipe, I’ll make a morning meal with chia seeds that is sure to leave you with sufficient energy throughout the day. Stay tuned for my next creation!

Mango Avocado Salsa

Just like there is nothing better than a nice hot cup of soup on a cold day, there is nothing quite as good as a light, citrusy snack on a hot summer day. This weeks’ recipe contains my last two posts, avocado and mango. You only need a handful of ingredients and a few minutes to make it, and it’s delicious. This recipe is courtesy of Whole Foods, and I must admit I have made it quite a few times before… I did say I wanted to try all new recipes on here but I couldn’t resist (and what else contains mango and avocado)?

Image Courtesy of Whole Foods
Image Courtesy of Whole Foods
What you’ll need
  • 1 large mango, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 (15-oz) can of no-salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (I think this is optional)
Now what?
Or 15 hours ago.
Or 15 hours ago.

Umm.. throw everything together into a bowl and mix it. That’s pretty much it. Oh, and WASH YOUR HANDS immediately after handling the jalapeño. Wash them well, too. I must have washed mine four or five times after handling it, and showered this morning before work (the next day mind you), and rubbed my eyes at work today and it STILL hurt. So take my advice.(and if you do happen to burn your eyes due to the jalapeno, here.)

Uses and recipe recommendations

This salsa is versatile in that it can be a part of a meal, or part of a snack, or side dish. I have had this a few different ways – with tortilla chips, on grilled chicken, or in fish tacos. I have to say it’s really great on meat, as it adds a citrusy, juicy flavor to it.

I would definitely recommend mangosalsa2letting the mixture sit a bit before you eat it. That way the flavors have some time to meld together a bit and it tastes even better. The cilantro is a bit overwhelming (and I love cilantro) if you eat it right away.

If you’re pressed for time (or if you’re not), and you’re looking for a healthy and FAST appetizer to make that’s packed with flavor, definitely give this one a try! I can’t stress how easy it was to make and how inexpensive the few ingredients are. Enjoy!