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Danika’s PB&J Overnight Oats in a jar – by guest expert Danika Carty APD

The humble oat grain has been around for thousands of years. In fact, it’s said to date back to the 1st century AD. Oats later became staple foods in countries such as Scotland. However, they weren’t always popular and were often perceived as food for the ‘lower class’ as their primary use was for animal feed.  But I certainly don’t think anyone told our Sub of the Month that fact?

About our expert:

Danika is a newly graduated APD from Adelaide. She is hugely passionate about conveying accurate and topical evidence to the public and she always has her trigger on the pulse when it comes to new products and emerging research. We’ve learned about her oats love affair this last month on the Scoop facebook page.  Danika is delighted to be sharing one of her favourite (and simplest) recipes with you this month (and why it’s SO good for you!)  Make sure you follow her on twitter @danikacarty.

Well, haven’t we done a 180! Thanks to scientific research, oats have been labelled a ‘superfood’, boasting their ability to decrease low-density lipoproteins (the bad type of cholesterol in our blood) due to their beta-glucan content. More recently you’ve also probably been hearing different types of oats being thrown around in conversation.

Steel cut oats – the new kids on the block. They are often considered the least processed form of oats as they are simply the whole kernels cut up into a few pieces. They are described as having a nutty flavour and are chewy in texture. However, they do take quite a while to cook, they are not available at all supermarkets and they can be expensive. If you are choosing steel cut oats I recommend buying in bulk at your local health food shop.

Rolled oats – the oldest member of the oat family –have been steamed and rolled out flat. They are lighter than steel cut oats, and take less time to cook. Quick oats (and those you find in the little sachets) are rolled thinner than rolled oats and cut up into small pieces so they cook very quickly and form a creamy consistency. Both traditional rolled oats and quick oats are inexpensive and readily available from supermarkets.

But what’s the difference nutritionally?

The fibre content and Glycaemic Index (GI; the rate in which the food is converted to glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream) of steel cut oats and rolled oats is very similar. Comparatively, the GI of quick oats is quite a bit higher than steel cut or rolled oats. This means quick oats are more quickly broken down released into your bloodstream and therefore won’t keep you feeling full and sustained for as long as rolled or steel cut oats would.

What’s my pick? Old faithful rolled oats, and that is also what I’ve used in my recipe. They’re convenient, cheap and create the perfect consistency for this dish.

Oats are probably most commonly consumed in the wintertime as the ultimate comfort food; porridge. However, during Australia’s hot summer I don’t feel like a steamy bowl of oats in the morning, but I still want the satiated goodness of oats. Cue overnight oats. Haven’t heard of them? Think Bircher muesli but lighter, lower in kilojoules, higher in fibre and packed with nutrients.

Overnight oats have kind of been taking the world by storm recently and consequently, there’s a tonne of recipes out there. Overnight oats in a jar have also increased in popularity because they’re portable, so if you’re on the go in the morning you can simply take the jar (and a spoon) with you. We love Registered Dietitian’s Kate Scarlarta’s overnight oats recipes. I am also going to share my recipe with you, and feel free to tweak it as you please.

Danika’s PB&J Overnight Oats in a jar

 Serves 1

1/3 cup rolled oats (steel cut would give a chewier, denser consistency)

1/3 cup natural/Greek yogurt

1/3 cup skim milk/unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp natural peanut butter

1 tsp strawberry jam

To garnish (optional):

1 tbsp frozen raspberries

1 tbsp Teresa Cutter’s granola

Smear the sides of glass jar with peanut butter and jam. Alternatively, for a resourceful breakfast just use an almost empty peanut butter jar.

Add oats, yogurt, milk, cinnamon and chia seeds into the jar. Screw the lid on and shake well until mixture is combined. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, remove jar from the ‘fridge and top with raspberries & crunchy granola. Enjoy!

Notes: I found the proportion were a bit of trial and error at first to get the consistency to my liking. For a thicker consistency, add a greater proportion of yogurt, or for a thinner, lighter texture, add a little more milk.

This is not so much a recipe as an idea to build upon. You could top oats with any fresh seasonal fruit (banana, peach, mango, grated apple), crushed almonds or walnuts, sultanas, dried apricot, cereal flakes or honey. Get creative with it!

 Editor’s comment:

Thanks Danika! So great to have you on board this month and best wishes with your first official dietitian jobs this year.  I so love that you motivated so many lovely readers to get out their jars n oats.  I bet there are many more ideas to hand? So do drop us a comment below.


Othman RA, Moghadasian MH, & Jones PJ (2011), Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat β-glucan, Nutr Rev., vol. 69 no.6 pp. 299-309.

Braaten JT, Wood PJ, Scott FW et al., (1994), Oat beta-glucan reduces blood cholesterol concentration in hypercholesterolemic subjects, Eur J Clin Nutr., vol. 48, no. 7, pp. 465-74.

  • Reemski

    I love this! I’m an oat fiend and can happily eat them everyday. In the warmer month I so just this, soak my oats overnight in milk then top with whatever I have to hand. I’ve also been feeding my toddler the same since she started solids.

  • Natalie Edwards

    Hello Danika, what a great article and this recipe looks amazing, I love your choice of ingredients, almond milk and peanut butter, yumo! I can’t wait to try it! Nat 🙂

  • Heidi – Apples Under My Bed

    Great post, Danika! I’m keen to try Steel Cut, I love a good chewy oat 🙂 I adore overnight oats, your recipe looks fab!

    Heidi xo

  • lovenutritionlivelife

    Danika this recipe sounds so delicious I cannot wait to try it out! The photo is making me so hungry right now because I haven’t had dinner yet. I love oats from Anzac biscuits to porridge and this recipe just sounds divine. Great work as January Sub of the Month and all the best. I will continue to follow your story as a new grad.
    Steph x

  • EmmaStirling

    It’s such a pleasure for me to see new grads and #APD2be’s connecting via Scoop

  • EmmaStirling

    Try Kate’s link for steel cut oats – she does them in her rice cooker

  • Danika Carty

    Thanks Reemski. How amazing are oats?! I’m a little obsessed! Great food for growing little humans too!

  • Thanks Nat. The nuttiness of the almond milk + the peanut butter has to be one of my favourite combinations. Hope you enjoy! Danika

  • Thanks so much Heidi.

    Let me know how you enjoy the steel cut, I’m sure they will tickle your fancy!

    D x

  • Actually, you’ve just given me an idea… Crumbled Anzacs on the top! Yum-mo!

    Thanks for all your support this month Steph.

    Danika x

  • EmmaStirling

    Oh you must buy Coco’s Coconut Blend from spice house Gerzwurshaus – coconut sugar and shredded, tastes like Anzac’s – just a little sprinkle:

  • Kerrie Hill

    Can’t wait to try this Danika, looks amazing! May substitute jam w my blood orange & ruby grapefruit marmalade instead. Have loved your posts, your enthusiasm is infectious & motivating. All the best with job hunting : )

  • Oh my, what do I need to do to get my hands on some of that delectable sounding marmalade? Sounds incredible!

    Thank you so much for the kind words Kerrie. Hoping I can channel some of this passion into a position of employment. Thanks again for your support 🙂

  • Dan, adore the recipe and have loved your posts all month. I love bircher but this is so much lighter and perfect for summer. I may just have to give it a whirl on the weekend. I think you’ve started a new trend my dear. It will be popping up in all the latest and greatest cafes in no time. Food trend?! x

  • EmmaStirling

    Here’s my version from #glamping – care to share?

  • Sealspeak

    This looks delicious. I can’t wait to try, as I’ve gone off porridge recently, but still love oats!

  • Been wanting to try this for ages, thanks for the inspiration! I have been a keen Bircher-er for a while now, but the PB&J takes it to another level! Thanks Danika, you’ve been a fab scoop sub! I instagrammed my breaky this AM, added it here, a new favourite with an old ritual. Just can’t beat oats!

  • Megan

    This is such a great breakfast option! My first attempt was lovely and I really look forward to varying the flavours and toppings. Loving the idea of that coconut sugar, but until I get my hands on some will try topping with coconut and maple granola. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • lovenutritionlivelife

    Emma that is one of my favourite places in Melbourne! I am slowly working my way through all of the blends. I wrote a blog post on it

  • Thanks Han!

    Oh I can only hope that my oat love affair becomes ‘trendy’ again! If so, you’ll see it first in the Big Smoke, so please do notify me!

    Thanks for commenting lovely x

  • Mango – how divine & indulgent! Talk about luxurious camping!

  • Thanks Sealspeak! I too tend to get sick of porridge at times, so this is the perfect alternative. It gives it a different texture & combination of flavours because you can add any fresh fruit you like.

    Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Wow Sheree, absolutely amazing photo. Second life – photographer?!

    PB&J can do no wrong in my books, it is always a winning combination! Totally agree you can’t beat oats – I think we are also making them ‘cool’ again! Further proof that ‘superfoods’ don’t always need to be new and expensive.

    Thanks for trying it out, keep us posted on different flavour combinations and post more of your stunning photos!

  • Thanks for trying it out Megan!

    I remember the first time I made it, it was good – but as I’ve started experimenting more with different fruits and spices it’s got even better!

    Please keep us posted on any combinations you find you love, we love seeing photos!

    Coconut maple granola… You’re making me hungry!


  • Thanks Danika for sharing such a creative, delicious and nutritious breakfast idea. I tried a basic recipe with oats, yoghurt, low fat milk, diced almonds, strawberries & honey this morning. Looking forward to getting creative with my jars!

  • Megan

    This morning I tried my oats with a little orange zest, honey, cardamom, cinnamon and a light sprinkling of some nutty olive oil granola. 2 and 6 year old went a little crazy for it – so good!

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  • Thank you so much for the kind words Courtney. Almonds & strawberries – two of my favourites!
    Hope you are still enjoying your oats, even as the weather cools down a little.

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