I ate the same breakfast nearly every day when I was a post-bacc student: overnight oats with a banana. I mixed up my mix-ins, and sometimes it was berries or an apple instead of a banana, but a basic combination of soaked rolled oats and chia seeds served me faithfully for all of those years. It was filling, easy to make, and easy to transport to class in the morning.
The downside of having eaten overnight oats so consistently for that period of time is that I may have gotten a little tired of them—something I’ve realized only because it hasn’t often been my instinct to make them ever since! These days I have the luxury of eating breakfast at home, which gives me the option of freshly simmered hot cereal or more time-consuming, savory options, like a weekday tofu scramble.
Now I’m anticipating the dietetic internship ahead of me, and with it the prospect of packing breakfasts and lunches most of the time. Overnight oats will make a comeback even before the DI starts, because summer is the right time for them, but I know how useful they’ll be when I have rotations with early start times.
Accordingly, I’m giving some thought to new recipes and flavors. I’ve tried chocolate overnight oats in the past and loved them—such a wholesome way to enjoy chocolate for breakfast! The only thing I enjoy more than chocolate is chocolate + coffee, and that’s how these creamy vegan banana mocha overnight oats came to be.
I made this recipe once as an experiment, and I loved it so much that I immediately made it all over again. The mocha flavor is rich and delicious, and blending bananas and dates into the liquid portion of the recipe adds just the right amount of sweetness. Often when I make overnight oats I end up loading them up with mix-ins—dried nuts, fruits, spices, etc.—but there’s so much flavor in this batch that I’ve been eating them just as they are, with extra sliced banana on top.
I used Silk almond milk in the recipe, which gave it the perfect creamy texture. I’ve been using Silk non-dairy milks for years now—Silk soy milk was one of my very first non-dairy staples as a new vegan. Over the years I’ve enjoyed watching Silk’s options expand, and nowadays I enjoy the almond and cashew milks regularly, as well as the brand’s almond milk and soy yogurts.
Speaking of Silk, I’ll be joining the brand and some other influencers for an awesome event this Wednesday morning at The Coffee Shop on Union Square. As part of the brand’s Progress is Perfection campaign (a motto I love), and in recognition of National Bike Month and Bike to Work Week (May 14-18), Silk will be surprising NYC pedestrians with free bikes, helmets, and locks! What an amazing opportunity for more people to access the healthful and environmentally friendly option of a bike commute.
Me? I’ve never been a regular biker, but that’s in part because I don’t have a steady commute to consider. I’m hoping that a few of my clinical sites next year will be within biking distance for me, and I feel lucky and excited to help the folks at Silk hand out bikes and share enthusiasm for progressive, sustainable lifestyle changes. Even within the hustle and bustle of city life, there are ways to stay active and to give back to Mother Earth.
If you’re around, the event will run from 8am to 11am, and I’ll be there between 9am and 11am. The Coffee Shop is located at 29 Union Square West. See you there, maybe! And here’s that recipe.
It’s a little unsettling for me to ponder a more on-the-go lifestyle next year; I’m a creature of habit, and in the last few years my home space has been a particularly important sanctuary for me. But I know that I have the resources I need to get out into the world a little more often, facing the unfamiliar, and nourishing food will be the most cherished of these resources. In the spirit of honoring progress, I’m using this coming summer to test some portable meals that I know will give me comfort and grounding—starting with breakfast.
Hope you enjoy this sweet morning meal, and hope to see some of you, if you can make it out, on Wednesday!