Allergy-Friendly, Vegan "Refrigerator Oatmeal" for Busy Mornings
by Melanie Carver
With the hustle and bustle of kids going to school and extracurricular activities, parents of children with food allergies are always busy making breakfasts, packing lunches and snacks. Here is one of the easiest recipes you can make the night ahead for a delicious breakfast, or even lunch the next day. There is no cooking, hardly any measuring, and very few dirty dishes. This makes it a perfect recipe to hand over to the kids to make. As a bonus, this recipe is packed with nutrition.
We use mason jars to make individual servings; but if you have a plastic equivalent that would be safe to take to school, you can use that for a school lunch. (Some schools prohibit glass.)
You can alter this recipe to be safe for your child's allergies and there are endless flavor combinations: Strawberry-Banana, Banana-"Nut" Butter, Banana-Cocoa, Blueberry-Maple, Piña Colada, Raspberry, Vanilla, Apple-Cinnamon and more.
Dairy-free milk beverage
Sweetener (maple syrup, agave nectar, organic sugar)
Fruit (frozen, raw, or cooked)
Dairy-free yogurt (optional, but highly recommended for flavor)
In each jar, add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds. Chia seeds soak up liquid and become gelatinous. In fact, you can use chia seeds to replace eggs in many recipes. You can also make pudding out of chia seeds. Chia seeds are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids. They come in two colors: black or white.
Next, add steel-cut or rolled oats. (Use a certified gluten-free brand if you need to avoid gluten or wheat.) Pour the oats until the jar is less than half full.
Use a safe dairy-free milk beverage as the liquid in this recipe. (Pick an option that is okay for your allergies: almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk, etc.) If you are making Piña Colada flavor, use canned coconut milk ("lite" version for less fat) for most of your liquid and then add some milk beverage as well to thin it out. Pour until the jar is less than 3/4 full.
Since you'll be adding fruit as well, you don't need very much sweetener. You can use maple syrup, agave nectar, organic sugar, etc. We use less than a tablespoon in each jar.
Stir or shake to mix the ingredients. You may need to scrape the jar with a spoon/knife to mix the chia seeds throughout.
Add optional dairy-free yogurt for some probiotics ("good bacteria"). In this case, we used blueberry coconut milk yogurt.
Fill the rest of the jar with your fruit and gently mix the fruit in. Leave some fruit for the top. Cap the jars with lids and place in refrigerator overnight.
These are quite filling, so if you have younger children, use smaller containers or only serve them half. The jars will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about 3 days.
Melanie Carver is our Vice President of Community and Marketing. She is a long-time vegan and has a special interest in nutrition. She is the mother of two, one of whom still has food allergies.