Let’s face it; mornings can be a slog, and getting a quick, healthy breakfast (the most important meal of the day!) on the table for the little ones can be tough. Our Editor-in-Chief has you covered with this yummy, easy (and healthy!) breakfast option that doesn’t require any morning prep, and doesn’t come out of a package filled with preservatives and sugar.

As a kid, I remember eating those packets of instant oatmeal filled with all kinds of unnecessary additives, preservatives and plenty of sugar. Mostly, we got scrambled eggs for breakfast (because my mom rules), but those instant oatmeal days were extra special treats and undoubtedly a much easier proposition for mom when she was throwing breakfast at 5 unruly kids on a school morning.

And then, when I started doing more distance running as an adult a few years ago, I started looking for some good pre-run meal options and stumbled on the overnight oatmeal phenomenon. And then the kids got into it to. Overnight oatmeal takes about 6 minutes to prepare and in the morning – Voila! – a healthy, hearty breakfast that you just spoon into a bowl for the kiddos so you can focus on pouring your coffee. A parent’s dream.

There are lots of variations on a theme, here, and you can put just about anything you want into the mix, but here is the basic recipe, best made in a 16 oz (1 pint) Mason jar, or anything you can seal with a lid. I’ve seen variations on this recipe that don’t include yogurt, but Greek yogurt is a great source of whey protein (and it makes a much creamier oatmeal), so I highly recommend including it.


1/3 c organic rolled oats (we like Bob’s Red Mill because it’s very accessible – we even found some at Big Lots recently!)
1/3 c organic Greek yogurt (we like Wallaby because it comes in a whole milk version)
1/3 c organic milk
2 Tbsp chia seeds, optional (Bob’s Red Mill is a good option here as well)
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon, optional
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp honey

Put all ingredients into a pint Mason jar, shake it up, put it in the fridge for 6-8 hours and serve.

Ok, so that’s the basic recipe without any added protein or other accoutrements. Now, here are some fun ideas to yum it up for you and your family!

Strawberry Banana Overnight Oats
Basic recipe above, plus:
1/2 c strawberries
2 Tbsp seeds or nuts (pepitas, sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, etc)
1/2 banana

Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats
Basic recipe above, plus:
1 banana
1-2 Tbsp organic, unsalted peanut butter (to taste)

Coconut Mango Overnight Oats
Basic recipe above, plus:
2 Tbsp shredded, unsweetened coconut (Bob’s Red Mill saves the day again)
1/2 c diced mango

Peaches and Almonds Overnight Oats (when peaches are in season, this one is yummy beyond words)
Basic recipe above, plus:
1/2 c. diced ripe peaches

2 Tbsp slivered almonds

The ideas above are just guidelines to get you started. Get creative, ask your kids what they like, and experiment until you find the right combination of fruits and protein. Enjoy!

Mollie Michel is a South Philly resident and a Philadelphia public school parent. A recovering non-profit professional, Mollie is also an experienced birth doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, and the mom of two awesome girls and a sweet pit bull named Princess Cleopatra. In her spare time, she is usually trying to figure out how Pinterest works, training for a(nother) half-marathon with her dog at her side, or simply trying to keep up with her increasingly wily daughters.