It can be hard to eat healthily as a student. Foods that are bad for you just seem to taste so much better, be so much quicker to grab and have bigger social benefits such as takeaway nights and communal cooking evenings. There’s also the fact that for possibly the first time in your life you are now in control of everything you eat on a daily basis, meaning that if you want to eat cereal for every meal of the day, there’ no-one who can stop you from doing so. However, eating unhealthily, apart from having a noticeable effect on your weight and appearance, will also affect your health both physically and mentally.
If you want to begin eating healthier but don’t know where to begin, then breakfast, as the first and most important meal of the day, is the best place to start. Beginning with a healthy meal in the morning will set you up for the rest of the day, meaning you have the energy to concentrate in your lectures, as well as picking up some revision at home, too. For a quick and healthy breakfast on the go, that you can prepare with minimal fuss the night before, overnight oats tick all the boxes. To learn how to make them and how to add toppings that suit you, simply read on.
The benefits of oats
Oats are one of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat, containing manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and more, as well as containing important protein and fats, and being a good source of carbohydrates and fibre. They can also help to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Porridge oats are also very filling, and like all filling foods, this will lead you to eat less food overall and thereby lead to weight loss. If this is a concern for you, then you’ll find that oats will rapidly help you stem any middle of the morning cravings that usually end up in you snacking on unhealthier foods.
Ingredients you’ll need
First of all the variety of oats you choose will make a big difference on the kind of overnight oats you end up with once you’ve left them to soak overnight. Whole oats take a long time to cook, or soak, and will have a thicker texture once they’ve absorbed the moisture around them. For porridge oats that are smoother without being as mushy as instant or processed oats, choose rolled, crushed, or steel-cut oats.
To transform your oats into a tasty breakfast you’ll also need half a ripe banana per portion of oats, a pinch of salt, some spices to season the mix and water. You will also need to buy whatever toppings or fruit you’d like to have with this meal.
How to make overnight oats
Making overnight oats is straightforward and quick. First, mash half a ripe banana into a puree in the container you will be storing the oats in, before adding a third to half a cup of oats. Add a pinch of salt and the spices you’d like to use. A nice combination is a dash of both ginger and cinnamon, and if you fancy something more fragrant you can add cloves to the mix, too. Once you’ve mixed all these together add water in equal volume to the amount of oats you used. Then mix and leave for an hour before adding your preferred toppings. If you have time in the morning you can leave it all together once you’ve done the final mix, and simply add toppings in the morning.
If you fancy oats that are a little creamier in texture try using milk or dairy free milks instead of water. You can also add dried fruits into the oats, but if you do make sure you add a bit more liquid to help counter the amount of moisture the dried fruits will absorb. You can try experimenting with your overnight oats in a variety of ways before you settle on your favourite way to have it. For a cheap and quick option however, adding tinned fruit, nuts and things like jams, conserves and nut butters are a tasty way to pack in the nutrients without high cost.
Quick and healthy recipes like these are ideal to have at the ready during your student living in London – let us know in the comment section if you want more!