The Overnight Oats Sensation

Jan 9, 2017
Posted by: Monique Parker

A couple of years ago, I inherited from my husband’s grandmother a lovely little book called ‘Health Giving Dishes’ written in 1934 by the famous Dr. Bircher-Benner.

The dish that we still remember Dr. Bircher-Benner by, is what he calls in his book a ‘dietetic fruit dish’ or ‘müesli’. If only he could have witnessed the popularity of the Overnight Oats today!!

This is the original 1934 recipe for Apple Müesli from the book:

(one portion)

“2-3 small apples or 1 big one

1 tablespoon walnuts, or almonds, or hazelnuts (ground)

1 level tablespoon Quaker oats (soaked beforehand for 12 hours in 3 tablespoons of water)

1 tablespoon Nestle’s condensed milk (sweetened)

Juice of ½ lemon.

Clean apples by rubbing them with a dry cloth, but do not take away peel, core or pips.
Mix condensed milk and lemon juice with oats, quickly grate apples (with peel, core and pips) into this and in order to prevent the apples losing their whiteness through contact with the air stir in immediately.
Prepare just before serving. Nuts or almonds are served separately and sprinkled over the dish the last moment.

If the Müesli is taken on a trip or to the office, the best way is at once to fill a bottle up to the brim and make it airtight by fixing the lid with a rubber ring. In this way, the Müesli can be kept fresh for several hours”.



So, if you don’t have much time in the morning but you do fancy a quick, healthy breakfast, the Overnight Oats are just the dish for you!

Just like Dr. Bircher-Benner’s Müesli, that was soaked overnight, Overnight Oats are basically oats plus other ingredients in an airtight container such as a mason jar, ready to eat when you wake up. Some of the ingredients we use nowadays didn't even exist in 1934....

If you Google ‘Overnight Oats’ you’ll find loads of recipes with many different combinations of oats, fruits, nuts, spices, sweeteners etc. Be creative, experiment, and try to find your favourite combination.


The basic recipe is as follows:

  • 40 grams (about ½ cup) of porridge oats (or Jumbo oats if you like more texture)
  • 200ml almond milk or any other milk alternative you like such as oat milk, rice milk etc.
  • 1 portion of fruit such as 1 small apple (grated), 75 grams (1/2 cup) of berries, ½ banana.
  • 1 tablespoon of nuts and/or seeds (walnuts, almonds, pecan nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds etc.)

You can add:

  • Spices such as cinnamon, cardamom or nutmeg
  • Sweeteners such as maple syrup or honey but in moderation (I use 1 teaspoon)
  • Flavourings such as vanilla or almond extract (½-¼ teaspoon) or unsweetened cocoa powder if you prefer a chocolaty breakfast
  • Nut butter such as almond butter, to add extra protein and creaminess  
  • Toppings such as shredded coconut, nuts, seeds, raw cocoa nibs, granola or a little bit of extra fruit such as a few berries or pomegranate seeds


If you don’t like the milk alternatives you can also use ½ Greek yoghurt/½ water. And if you don’t fancy a cold breakfast, you could heat up your ‘Overnight Oats’ if you haven’t used yoghurt.



Why am I such a big fan of oats? Well, here is why…..

Oats contain a high amount of soluble fibre which benefits our gastro-intestinal tract, has shown to lower cholesterol, and stabilise blood sugar.

This fibre, called beta-glucan, also enhances the immune system by helping certain immune cells travel to the site of infection faster and improve the elimination of the bacteria these cells find there.

Oats also contain a unique antioxidant, called avenanthramides, which reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol.

And that’s not all, oats are full of valuable nutrients such as manganese, molybdenum, magnesium, zinc etc. and they are also a source of protein.

Source: The World’s Healthiest Foods