Mornings are hectic. We get it. When it comes to cracking eggs and hitting snooze, it’s all too easy to choose the latter. That’s why we’re such a fan of overnight oats.
Loaded with energy-boosting complex carbs, filling fiber, and 10 grams of muscle-building protein per half-cup serving, oats are a fat-burning superfood you should eat every day. Making overnight oats is a breeze: Before hitting the sheets, combine raw oats with lemon water, milk, or yogurt, and let soak overnight. Then add slimming toppings, and you have an ideal flat-belly breakfast. Check out our favorite overnight oats toppings below—and if you need a refresher course on how to whip up a batch, find out the 20 Ultimate Tips for Making Overnight Oats!
One medium kiwi provides 100 percent of the USDA’s recommendation for vitamin C, a nutrient that helps the body oxidize fat during moderate-intensity exercise, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Plus, it’s a great source of potassium, which fights bloat and enhances the body’s ability to metabolize fats and carbohydrates. Have a sweet tooth in the AM? Skip the donut and throw this wholesome low calorie fruit on top of your overnight oats for a mere 60 calories!
Topping overnight oats with nuts is a great way to add satiating fiber and protein. This example is one “brownie” you don’t have to feel guilty about: Almond milk, greek yogurt, cocoa, oats, and protein powder, topped with heart-healthy nuts! A one-ounce serving of nuts contains about 135 calories. For the benefits of each variety, check out the 6 Best Nuts for Weight Loss.
No time for a mid-morning snack? Top a half-cup of oats with ½ of a medium banana for approximately 200 calories and 5 grams of satiating fiber. The combination of wholesome oats and banana will not only hold you over until lunch, but provides a host of flat-belly nutrients. In addition to being rich sources of potassium, bananas are a good source of prebiotic fiber, which is essential for a healthy gut and proper digestion. And research says bananas aid in weight loss. One study found that women who ate a small banana twice a day as a pre-meal snack for two months reduced their belly bloat by 50 percent!
Not only are fruits with pits, like plums, among the lowest in fructose (fruit sugar), but they contain phenolic compounds that can turn off your fat genes! In fact, new studies by Texas AgriLife Research suggest that they may help ward off metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that increase the risk for obesity-related diseases, of which belly fat is a major determinant. If you’re fighting the battle of the bulge, choose these Best Fruits for Fat Loss for your overnight oats!
A one-ounce serving provides more than eight grams of protein and generous amounts of iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc (important for a healthy immune system). Sprinkle them on your overnight oats and you’re one step closer to a six-pack!
Do you find your stomach growling by mid-morning? Pears help keep hunger at bay thanks to pectin, a type of soluble fiber which attracts water when ingested and turns to gel. That slows digestion, keeping you satisfied longer. This autumn fruit is also full of immunity-boosting vitamin C, as well as traces of vitamin B-6 and magnesium.
Dark chocolate for breakfast? Yes, we’re serious. It contain a plethora of antioxidants that reduce cancer risk, fuels weight loss and has been linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. But be choosy—opt for a bar with at least 70% cacao (the antioxidant-rich cocoa bean). Bars marked “dutch processed” or “alkalized” have been treated with an alkalizing agent to balance the cacao’s natural acidity, significantly reducing flavonoid and polyphenol content. To be safe, avoid these Worst Dark Chocolates for Weight Loss.
Grapes are belly-fat bullets. Washington State University researchers put mice on a high-fat diet and gave half of them resveratrol (a compound found in grapes) in amounts equivalent to three servings of fruit per day for humans. They found that resveratrol converted the animals’ excess white fat into calorie-burning beige fat, thus making them 40 percent less likely to become obese than the control group. While we don’t recommend adding three servings of grapes to your overnight oats (they’re high in sugar), a handful of this fat-converting goodness is a great start!
You can protect your eyes and fight off cancer by adding peaches to your breakfast. These juicy slices are packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, powerful carotenoids proven to help promote eye health, as well as the antioxidant beta carotene, which shields the body from cancer-provoking free radicals. But a USDA survey found that peaches are the most pesticide-laden fruit in the produce section, so if you can afford organic, go for it.
Really in a bind for time? Sprinkling cinnamon in your overnight oats can get you a smaller waist, fewer cravings and more appetite control. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adding a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon to a starchy meal can help stabilize blood sugar. When blood-sugar levels drop, our cells become starved for energy, which is why we crave simple sugars. When it comes to health and weight loss, simple sugars are not our friends, which is why cinnamon is one of our five Healthiest Spices on the Planet.
Granny Smith Apples
Go ahead and leave the skin on these tart apples. A growing body of research suggest the polyphenols in the peel—non-digestible compounds capable of doing everything from increasing sexual pleasure to reducing cholesterol and fighting cancer—give apples their superfood rep. Plus, they promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
If you’re looking for a low-calorie addition to your overnight oats, raspberries pack more fiber and liquid than most other fruits, and increase feelings of satiety. One cup of these fresh rubies has 64 calories and 8 grams of fiber. According to a Texas Women’s University study, they ward off unwanted belly flab. Researchers found that mice who consumed berries on a daily basis had 73% less belly fat than those who didn’t!
Mmm, peanut butter overnight oats! Peanut butter is one of our favorite foods for weight loss, and you should always skip reduced-fat versions and go for the real thing. “Per serving, they’re about the same in calories as full-fat varieties, but in order to compensate for the flavor loss in fat removal, they add in different carbohydrates,” says Angela Lemond , R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Full-fat peanut butter provides satiety, fights heart disease and won’t wreck havoc on blood-sugar levels with added carbohydrates.
Figs are among the potassium-rich foods that keep your muscles healthy and strong. They play a vital role in muscle function and are a great source of fiber. Plus, they’re high in calcium and have just 36 calories per fruit!
They may be tiny, but chia seeds have massive health benefits and muscle-chiseling power. They deliver a one-two punch of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Omega-3s work to reduce inflammation throughout the body and help grow muscles by aiding protein synthesis. Meanwhile, the seeds’ fiber and protein supply you with steady, long-lasting energy. Just two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 11 grams of fiber!
Watermelon sometimes gets a bad rap for being high in sugar, but the fruit has impressive health benefits. Research conducted at the University of Kentucky showed that eating watermelon may reduce fat accumulation. A separate Spanish study of athletes found that drinking watermelon juice after exercise helped reduce muscle soreness — great news for anyone working on that six-pack.
Yes, hemp seeds come from the cannabis plant, but sorry, they won’t give you a buzz. Sometimes called hemp hearts, the seeds are rich in amino acids, which help build muscle. Just three tablespoons have 11 grams of easy-to-digest, muscle-toning protein. What’s more, hemp may also boost fat burn thanks to its stores of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid that promotes a healthy metabolism and fights inflammation. They also encourage vibrant skin, hair and nails, making them an overall beauty food.
Although it’s a fat, coconut oil has been shown to help you slim down. A study of 30 men published in the journal Pharmacology found that those who consumed 2 tablespoons of coconut oil a day shrank their waists by an average of 1.1 inches in one month! Coconut is also rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which research suggests may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. One study found rats fed high CLA ghee showed a 26 percent reduction in total cholesterol in just 21 days! Add a few tablespoons of coconut oil to your overnight oats, or top them off with unsweetened coconut shavings.
Mangos are great sources of vitamins A, B6 and C. Whenever possible, opt for fresh. Dried fruits are particularly high in fructose, which can cause bloating. This tropical fruit is super sweet, so a little bit goes a long way!
As with most red, yellow, or orange vegetables and fruits, carrots are packed with carotenoids, fat-soluble compounds associated with the reduced risk of a wide range of cancers and inflammatory conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. And the veggie’s high water and low carb content allow you to fill up for very few calories.
Sky-high in antioxidants, blueberries fight stubborn belly fat and promote cognitive function. After a 90-day trial, researchers at the University of Michigan found that the rats fed a blueberry-enriched diet showed significantly reduced abdominal belly fat than a control group. And a long-term study published in Annals of Neurology highlights that eating blueberries can lower the overall rate of cognitive decline by as much as 2.5 years in adults over the age of 70!
When it comes to nuts that aid weight loss, pistachios are tops. A UCLA study found that people who snacked on pistachios instead of pretzels reduced their BMI by a point and improved their cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while the pretzel-eating group saw no change!
Cashew butter packs a serious nutritional punch, articularly thanks to its high magnesium content, which offers a laundry list of health benefits. “It helps your body relieve various conditions like constipation, insomnia, headaches and muscle cramps, as well as regulating the immune system and supporting brain function,” says Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD, CDN of Middleberg Nutrition. Cashews also contain biotin, which helps you attain luscious locks without a salon. Not a cashew fan? Try adding a tablespoon of one of these 16 Best Nut Butters for Weight Loss to your overnight oats.
If persimmons aren’t on your fall food list, they should be. The firm orange fruits contain lycopene, an antioxidant which may reduce the risk of cancer. They’re also rich in vitamins A and C and high in fiber. “Persimmons also provide a small amount of manganese, which is important in metabolism of fats and protein,” says Jennifer Glockner, RDN, and author of the Smartee Plate series.