If you haven’t included overnight oats in your breakfast repertoire yet, now is the time to start! You can have breakfast on the table in less time than it takes to pour some (dairy free) milk over some cereal.
Little Goat has started to use the term “I’m afraid”. Not as in “I’m afraid of the dark” or “monsters under the bed” but more along the lines of “I’m not going to eat dinner tonight I’m afraid”. This usually happens when I’ve missed the magical dinner window - that brief period in a toddler’s day when they’re hungry enough to eat a meal, but not so tired that they don’t have the enthusiasm for eating. For picky eaters this window is very very small!
On days when I’ve missed the window Little Goat usually goes to bed without much in his tummy so I know I need to have a good breakfast ready for him the next morning. That’s where the overnight oats come in. It takes less than 5 minutes to prep them the night before and then they’re all ready to go in the morning.
I like to include coconut in ours - while desiccated coconut is high in fat and reasonably high in sugar, it’s also a good source of iron (2.4mg per 100g - which is similar to beef at 2.6mg). I find iron one of the hardest things to get into Little Goat’s diet, and some fats and natural sugars are healthy in moderation too, so for us this is a great addition to our breakfast.
The iron in coconut is non-heme iron, so you need to serve it alongside something with vitamin C to help with the absorption of the iron (heme iron is the iron found in meat and is more easily absorbed). Little Goat’s favourite fruit at the moment is passion fruit - plus this adds a lovely crunch to the oats - but use whatever is your family’s preferred fruit. Strawberries, raspberries and papaya are all really good.
To give an added nutritional punch after a missed dinner I like to include chia seeds too - it’s such an easy way to add some calcium into breakfast, which we are always on the hunt for in dairy free diets - especially for dairy free kids who can be fussy about eating many other sources of calcium. But if you don’t have them (or you don’t like the texture which some people don’t), then just leave them out.
In fact feel free to mix up this recipe as much as you like. The only thing you need to stick to is 1 cup of oats to 1 ½ cups of liquid and leave overnight - everything else you want to add is up to you!
Coconut Overnight Oats
Serves: 2 (generously!)
Prep time: 5 minutes
1 cup of oats (you can use porridge or rolled oats)
1 ½ cups oat milk (or 1 cup of dairy free milk and ½ cup of dairy free yoghurt - or regular milk and yoghurt if you’re not dairy free)
½ cup desiccated coconut
2 teaspoons chia seeds
2 small ripe bananas (or one large one)
Seasonal fruit to serve
Mash the banana
Add the oats, milk, coconut and chia seeds and mix well
Cover and leave in the fridge overnight
Top with fruit in the morning
It’s hard to make this any more convenient than it already is! But if you have a container with a lid that can also serve as a bowl then that’s the best thing to make this in so you can serve it straight from the fridge the next day and with basically no washing up.