Overnight oats have been a total lifesaver for me. Spending 20 minutes or so stirring a pot on the stove is no way to start a morning, when you could spend that 20 minutes sleeping. More sleep is one of the keys to living longer, because if I’m properly rested I’m way less likely to be a major bitch, and thus my chances of being stabbed decrease exponentially. It’s also important for me to eat oats every morning because I have high cholesterol, so my stupid-ass genetics have really given me absolutely no choice in the matter.
While I do love oatmeal, I’m not really a fan of eating the same exact thing every single day. I’m also a renegade who laughs in the face of convention: Who says that oats are the only grain I can be eating before noon? There are so many high-fiber carbs that I can “overnight”! You’re not the boss of me, creepy Quaker Oats guy!
It’s easier to eat breakfast when it tastes like dessert, and being a rice pudding enthusiast, overnight rice is one of my favorites. The caveat is that, unlike oats, it’s not 100 percent no cook, but it’s really not that difficult to make (plus you can make a big batch to eat all week).
Pick whatever rice you’re into: brown, pink, black—as long as it’s got fiber in it, you’re good. Put it in a pot with cold water, bring it to a boil, and cook for about 10-15 minutes. You don’t want to cook it 100 percent of the way; you’re just looking to give it a jump start by parboiling. Drain well and dump into a bowl, then mix it up with a bit of sweetener, some spices, and enough milk to make it look like a loose porridge. Divide it between your containers, top it off with a bit more milk, and refrigerate.
Want to skip the parboiling? Do this with leftover brown rice from Chinese delivery.
Overnight Wild Rice
Fun fact: Wild rice isn’t actually rice. It’s an aquatic grain. Does this really matter in the grand scheme of things? No. It’s got a crap-ton of fiber, tons of vitamins and minerals, and unlike “real” rice, it’s loaded with antioxidants.
Treat it like overnight rice, though cook it for a solid 30 minutes first. Try mixing it up with some dried cranberries and maple syrup in addition to the milk and spices.
Quinoa has a lot of protein, a bunch of healthy compounds I can’t pronounce, twice the fiber of most other grains, and loads of iron, which is great for all the ladies in the audience. In this application, the quinoa needs to be fully cooked before using. If you’re already thinking “this is too much work,” you should know that cooked quinoa can be frozen, meaning you can probably boil a huge pot of it once a month and then be done with it. Package them in quart sized freezer bags, pull one out at the beginning of each week, and mix it up well with milk, yogurt, fruit, nuts- whatever you’d like. Just remember you want that loose porridge consistency, because it will get thick as it sits.
Barley is so good, yet possibly the most unpopular grain in the supermarket. Couscous, quinoa, and many other alt-grains have broken into the mainstream, but poor little barley sits all alone, twiddling its thumbs until someone decides to make beef soup. But starting today, that becomes a thing of the past! Barley is one of the overnight grains you don’t have to precook, and one that retains a nice chewy texture after a night in the fridge with some milk or yogurt. Try swapping in into your favorite overnight oats recipe and see how you feel about it.