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  • SeattleCancerNutrition

Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats

You can support your gut health, balance your blood sugar and energy, meet whole grain fiber, protein, and healthy fat needs, and help reduce your risk of cancer with one 5-minute recipe.

Overnight oats are the easiest way to get a healthy breakfast in and you don’t have to overthink it at all. Whether you whip up these 5 Minute Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats the night before or in the morning when you’re getting ready, you’ll always have time for this breakfast. Double bonus – use it as a snack or a light lunch, too! This recipe is perfect on a long treatment day or if you’re running from appointment to appointment. It’s also soft and neutral if you’re having a day with nausea or a sore mouth from treatment.

Let me know in the comments if you try this one!

How Overnight Oats Support Gut Health?

We throw around the term “gut health” but what does it really mean and what are we trying to achieve? When people talk about gut health, they’re usually referring either to the way the body digests food or to the bacteria that live in the gut (or both). Chemotherapy, medications, and radiation can absolutely stress the digestive system. Oats and apples plus chia and flax will all help you so let’s break it down:


If your digestion isn’t working for you, you may be experiencing discomfort or dysfunction with your gut. My clients talk about issues with diarrhea and urgency, with constipation and discomfort, or with chronic gas and bloating that can sometimes be really life-disrupting. Some folks fall into the “IBS” category (irritable bowel syndrome) and a doctor can help you better understand if your gut issues meet the criteria for IBS or if you’re having treatment side effects.

There’s a lot you can do about these digestive issues with food and I’ll highlight that below but I also have one piece of advice….a lot of the time, it actually has a mental component, too. Lack of sleep, lack of physical activity, and especially high levels of stress can wreak havoc on the gut. All the healthy food in the world can’t fix digestion issues that are caused by stress. I work through this type of problem with my clients so if you do need help brushing up your diet or getting on a healthier schedule or routine, you definitely need to reach out to me here.


We mostly talk about the ‘gut microbiome’ where you’ve got trillions of bacteria (more than the number of human cells in your body!) but there’s actually a microbiome living in many areas of your body. That’s why we say the “gut” microbiome, specifically, and are usually referring to the microbes that aid digestion and live in the large intestine/colon. We’re still learning a lot about how these microbes interact with human health but there’s evidence that they play a role in digestion and making nutrients for us (like B12 and vitamin K!), as well as affect our immune system, mood, and brain health, and even may play a role in inflammation, weight, and chronic disease.

The Gut Microbiome and Cancer You may be wondering if the gut microbiome affects the body's immune system, does it play a role in cancer? This is a topic that researchers are still working to understand. What is well understood is that the gut microbiome contains organisms that have a grand influence on the immune system, not just locally, but systematically as well. With this in mind, it is important to encourage a healthy gut microbiome by eating the right foods.

The best way to support your gut health and nurture a healthy microbiome? That’s easy! Eat high fiber foods from plants. I’m talking whole grains (like oats!), high fiber nuts and seeds (think chia and ground flax), fruit and veggies (of course!), as well as beans and lentils. Eating more of these types of foods gives your microbes the food they need to stay plentiful, diverse, and do their jobs for your body.

Also consider adding in more fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, pickled foods, sauerkraut, kimchi and beyond. These foods contain ‘good’ bacteria that may also positively affect gut health. That’s why the 5 Minute Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats contain high fiber foods and fermented foods, too.

Overnight Oat Recipes for You!

I’ve got several recipes up on the blog but I also wanted to share some fellow dietitian recipes, too. If you’re getting your recipes from specialists like us, you know that they’ll taste good but also be good for you.

Coconut Lemon Curd Overnight Oats – by Ginger Hultin, owner of Champagne Nutrition

Easy Banana Overnight Oats – Laura Yautz, owner and registered dietitian at

Mocha Overnight Oats – by Dixya Bhattarai of

Apple Pie High Protein Overnight Oats – by Sarah Schlichter MPH RDN or

Peanut Butter Overnight Oatmeal – by Jodi Danen RDN, founder of Create Kids Club

Banana Overnight Oats – by Jodi Danen RDN, founder of Create Kids Club

Pina Colada Overnight Oats – by Anne Danahy of

Three Overnight Oats Recipes for Athletes – by Kelly Jones of

Overnight Oats 3 Ways – by Neha Patel of Kissedbyspice

Easy Protein Overnight Oats – by Megan Byrd, RD or TheOregonDietitian

Chocolate Pomegranate Overnight Oats – by Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, founder of author of the Everything Easy Pre-Diabetes Cookbook

Making the 5 Minute Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats

This part is easy! What you want to do is simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, container with a lid, mug or jar and let the oats soak up the liquid for at least 30 minutes (but ideally 1-2 hours overnight). Be sure to keep these swaps in mind if you’ve got different preferences or pantry staples on hand:

Oats: if you’re gluten-free, be sure to get your oats labeled as such. Oats don’t contain gluten but they often are contaminated with it so if you’re allergic or Celiac, then be extra careful. Don’t use steel cut or quick oats; use ‘rolled’ specifically because they’re the best for this type of recipe.

Nuts/seeds: flax and chia are incredibly high in fiber and they also contain omega-3 fatty acids. You can use any type of nuts or seeds that you want for variety. Consider almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, sesame, or sunflower seeds instead.

Yogurt and milk: you’re welcome to use dairy or non-dairy products for either the yogurt and/or the milk here. Be sure to watch the added sugar content – especially in the yogurt but also in non-dairy milks. I really enjoy Siggis yogurt – they have dairy or coconut varieties – because they’re low in added sugar and high in protein.

Sweet: I use a little maple syrup to sweeten my overnight oats but there’s a lot of options here. You could not sweeten it at all. You could use agave or honey or regular sugar instead. You could use a 1/2 mashed banana or a 1/2 cup of applesauce. For sugar alternatives or lower carb, you can use monk fruit or stevia – it’s totally up to you and your taste. However, if we’re talking ‘gut health’, then lower sugar is better so I encourage you to experiment with how low you can go as you adjust your taste buds away from a high-sugar diet.

Spices: you can make your life really simple by using a pumpkin spice blend in this recipe or you can bump up, reduce, or completely take away any of the spices listed. For me, more is better because the different spices have potential health benefits and unique antioxidants so my motto is ‘bring on the spice!”.

You have to let me know if you try this one!

Drop a comment below and let me know how it goes. 🙂

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