Recipe and photograph - Dr Joan Ransley

The idea behind overnight oats is, instead of cooking oats to make porridge, the oats are soaked in a liquid, usually cows’ milk or plant-based alternative. The soaking process allows the oats to absorb liquid and soften enough to eat uncooked. The soaking time can be as little as 2 hours, or overnight, hence the name ‘overnight oats’. The next morning these creamy, soaked oats can be topped with fruit, nuts, seeds and yogurt for a more sustaining breakfast meal.

Oats contain two types of dietary fibre which are good for gut health – soluble and insoluble fibre. Beta-glucan is the soluble fibre present in oats and forms a sticky gel when combined with a liquid such as milk. The gel is useful as it increases intestinal bulk and facilitates the passage of food through the gut helping to reduce constipation.

Oats also contain insoluble fibre which proceeds through the intestinal tract without being digested.

When both types of dietary fibre reach the large intestine, they are fermented by gut bacteria to form short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) which help to keep the lining of the gut healthy.

This recipe contains at least nine different plant foods. Eating at least 30 different plant foods per week is associated with a more diverse range of bacteria living in the gut than eating 10 or fewer types of plants per week.


Place the oats, chia seeds, milk, yogurt, walnuts, dates and banana in a large bowl. Add 20g of the coconut shavings and mix well. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge. The overnight oats will be ready to eat after two hours but can be left in the fridge overnight and eaten the next day.

Serve the overnight oats with a mixture of chopped fresh fruit, the remaining coconut flakes, and a few chopped nuts. Add a drizzle of maple syrup if you like.

Alternative serving suggestion

Take a portion of overnight oats to work with you in a jar to eat as a snack or as part of your lunch. Sunflower, pumpkin, flax and poppy seeds can be used instead of chia seeds

Cooking tips

  • Oats and chia seeds are very absorbent and will continue to soak up milk for several hours. Add more milk or water to the overnight oats if you think they have become too thick.
  • Overnight oats will keep in the fridge for up to three days, so it makes sense to make enough to last for several days.
 Per Serving (g)Per 100g
Calories (Kcal/KJ)410 / 1713199 / 832
Protein (g)115.6
Fat (g)2211
Saturated Fat (g)73.4
Carbohydrate (g)3819
Sugar (g)209.9
Fibre (g)6.63.2
Sodium (mg)54.826.6
Salt equivalent (g)0.140.07
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