People like to ask questions about morning routines. It’s a source of endless fascination. I’ve been asked that question so many times: what’s your morning routine? They seem to be expecting an inspiring answer. I hate to disappoint. I end up saying something about not being a morning person. Or maybe I describe my idyllic morning, the morning routine I wish I had. And this was all before I had a baby. I love the idea of mornings, but they don’t love me. The reality is this: I don’t have a morning routine and never have. I sleep as long as humanly possible. Which is why overnight oats & a glass of milk are my friend—not just because they’re a New Year’s resolution friendly dose of morning protein, nutrients, and a great superfood vehicle. But that too.
While Eula’s current routine & breakfast milk of choice is breastmilk, when she is weaned in a couple of years, these overnight oats & milk will be one of the kid friendly, nutritious breakfasts I try for her to start our days. A good breakfast choice in the morning tends to lead me to better choices throughout the day, and we’re hoping to start her on good habits early (as opposed to, say, the pop tarts of my childhood….)
As for me, my “routine” is as follows: sometimes I drink coffee, sometimes I drink tea, sometimes neither, and sometimes I whimper for my husband to bring me home a cappuccino and then forget it exists, leaving it to get cold on the bedside table/edge of the bath/kitchen counter/coffee table/wherever it finds me. Infrequently, I make the bed. I love to lay in the bath all morning, but that’s highly impractical. Sometimes I’ll do crunches or lunges if I’m feeling really ambitious, also infrequently. I like to cook breakfast, but only if the kitchen is immaculate when I wake up (which it often isn’t). I don’t like coffee shops in the morning ever though I sometimes like Southern diners & the odd Italian café. I prefer a light breakfast to a heavy breakfast but if you put buttermilk biscuits & gravy within smelling distance I will be powerless to not eat it.
Oftentimes the first thing I do in the morning is check my email on my phone before I even sit up. I do this to calm my anxiety. Or to create enough anxiety that I’m not sleepy anymore. I’m not sure which. It’s a terrible habit. The most routine thing about my mornings is that I sleep as long as possible & forgo every other morning nicety (if showers, exercise, coffee, and breakfast can be called “niceties”). I hit the ground running & get straight to work with my hair in a messy bun because I chose that extra hour of sleep over everything else that hour could have housed. Wait for it, wait for it…enter creamy overnight oats & milk! The busy (or in my case busy & sleepy) woman’s answer to breakfast.
Night owls rejoice! Now you can fling some bee pollen, goji berries, sundry seeds, coconut flakes, and superfood-what-have-you on a bowl of porridge, pour yourself a glass of milk, and have a legitimate, protein rich breakfast without doing anything more than waking up. This is particularly handy for not just night owls but for a) people who want to eat well in the morning (everyone, yes?) b) people with children who even if they’re far better than I at mornings get pounced on with more needs than one woman can juggle and c) people on the go that need something they can take with them. They also happen to be highly portable (good for sleepy children that need to eat in the car on the way to school as well).
So here’s the thing with overnight oats: soaking the oats enhances their digestibility. Which means it enhances your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients therein. Top with superfood bits (I like goji berries, bee pollen, and hemp seed personally) & other goodies (toasted coconut & honey for me, sometimes a dash of cinnamon) and pair with a glass of milk and you have a good food choice that leads to an upward spiral. An 8 ounce glass of milk provides 8 grams of protein, plus other nutrients, and starting the day with milk’s protein sets my day on the right foot. A protein rich breakfast & glass of milk is one of the few things that keeps me from getting into snack mode an hour after breakfast.
Bottom line: I was already eating cereal with milk in the morning because I was already in a hurry, especially since the baby. This is better. Protein in the morning is important for both children & adults, so pairing this with milk’s high-quality protein gets you far closer to the 25-30 grams of protein many experts recommend you get before noon. With 9 essential nutrients in each glass, milk is a simple, delicious—my blog was named after milk when I was sitting at home drinking a glass of milk & just blown away by the particular sweetness & sheer pleasure of that local glass—and wholesome way to give your kids a natural source of protein. Milk has long been a staple in my household, and isn’t going anywhere any time soon. We also use it to make yogurt, ricotta, homemade butter—you name it. So here’s to mornings, whether your idea of morning is burying a head under your pillow because you were up in the ambient glow of a screen as your brain buzzed all evening or if you’re a veritable bird from a Disney movie in the morning. Like my husband. And thank goodness for those people (because he takes the awake baby, or as we say “awaby” to the next room & lets me steal a bit more sleep!)
Also! You can use #MyMorningProtein on instagram to share your own families’ morning protein routine and enter the My Morning Protein contest to win a year of free milk.
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/3 cup goji berries plus extra for garnish
- 2 tablespoons of honey or date paste just mashed up dates
- 1/2 teaspoon of flaky salt
- bee pollen
- fresh fruit
- toasted coconut flakes
- goji berries
- hemp seeds or other seeds & nuts, love hazelnut here too!
- In a mixing bowl combine the oats, milk, goji berries, honey or dates, and salt. Stir well to combine. Put in two separate jars or one big one—I like weck & le parfait jars for this—and refrigerate over night or for at least 6 hours.
- Remove from the fridge, give a good stir, and top with the superfood goodies of your choice! If you’d like to heat it up, you certainly can! Just add the toppings after you’ve gently warmed the oats.