By: Julia Huston
Total Time: 5 minutes to prepare, 4-6 hours to rest in fridge
Fall is officially here, and that means incorporating pumpkin into as many recipes as possible. From Starbucks’ pumpkin spice lattes to Trader Joe’s pumpkin empanadas, the days of strictly consuming this eclectic vegetable during Thanksgiving dessert are no more. Today, I am sharing my personal favorite breakfast hack to celebrate the commencement of fall, and its corresponding most delicious flavor. Picture this: it’s a chilly fall morning. You look out your window to see the orange and red hues of autumn foliage in full swing. Before leaving for class you grab the mason jar of pumpkin pie overnight oats in the fridge that you prepared the night before. You head down the stairs and out of the house with your homemade pumpkin oats in one hand and a spoon in the other, content with both your season-appropriate and wholesome breakfast. You take the first bite. The euphoric flavors of pumpkin pie spice galvanize your taste buds. The sensory overload reinforces why autumn is the best season of all. *Back to the recipe*. If fall isn’t your favorite season right now, this recipe might just change your mind, especially if you’re a proponent of meal prepping! Overnight oats can be prepared ahead of time in just minutes, so long as they chill in the fridge for a few hours. I love making overnight oats the night before I have a busy morning; that way I can ensure I’m not skipping breakfast and, instead, nourishing my body and mind with a yummy, satiating meal. Oats are a fantastic whole-grain food which contain many powerful antioxidants, including avenanthramides, which are a group of phenolic alkaloids found mainly in oats . These compounds have been proven to help reduce blood pressure and reduce risk for heart disease (Katz). This recipe also incorporates chia seeds; not only are they rich in many nutrients such as fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, but they also have been proven to provide sustainable energy (Akash). As for the pumpkin, well that’s not just for the taste—pumpkin is rich in Vitamin A, and antioxidants such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin, which all protect the skin against sun damage and lower the risk of cancer, eye diseases and other conditions (Johnson).
- 1 sealable container such as a mason jar or tupperware
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup milk of choice (I use unsweetened almond milk)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ cup greek vanilla yogurt (or non-dairy yogurt)
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ tablespoon pure maple syrup
- Extra nuts or granola or seeds for topping
- In a bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients: milk, yogurt, pumpkin puree, and maple syrup.
- In another bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients: oats, chia seeds, and pumpkin pie spice.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
- Transfer to a sealable container such as a mason jar and store in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
- Remove your oats from the fridge and enjoy! I like to add some slivered almonds or granola on top for some extra crunch. Roasted pumpkin seeds would also be a great addition here. If you prefer to eat your oats warm, microwave for 30 second intervals until desired temperature is reached.
Akash N, Rani SL, Brundha MP. Awareness on benefits of chia seeds among college students. Drug Invention Today. 2020;14(2):348-351. Accessed September 18, 2021. https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=142963165&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Johnson EJ. The role of carotenoids in human health. Nutr Clin Care. 2002 Mar-Apr;5(2):56-65. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-5408.2002.00004.x. PMID: 12134711. s https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12134711/
Katz, David L. MD, MPH. September 2001. A Scientific Study of the Health Benefits of Oats. The Quaker Oats Company. Accessed September 18, 2021. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.512.7310&rep=rep1&type=pdf