I know that I survived eating mountains of candy every Halloween when I was a kid, but somehow, watching my own children do the same makes me shudder. I hate to say that I’ve become that mom—my kids think juice is a special treat and get excited about naturally sweetened whole wheat muffins. But one thing I never hold back on is real milk.
When I want to boost the nutritional value of something we’re making, I add dairy milk. It’s a nutritional rock star—you probably already know that milk is loaded with protein and calcium, but it also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamins D, B12, and A. You'll find me putting it in smoothies, oatmeal, waffles, macaroni and cheese, and even meatloaf. And if I want my kids to feel like they’re getting a special treat, all I have to do is switch to chocolate milk.
Although I’d be lying if I said my kids didn’t go nuts for the candy, that’s not the only thing that’s appealing about Halloween. They also love dressing up—I mean, who doesn’t like a good disguise? So, to make Halloween breakfast fun while keeping it healthy, I change things up by swapping out the regular milk for chocolate milk.
One of my favorite ways to do this is with overnight oats. All you need are three ingredients—real milk, old-fashioned oats, and chia seeds—and you’ve got yourself an easy, tasty, filling, nutritious breakfast. Bonus: It's made ahead of time, so that’s one less thing to worry about during those busy mornings as you’re getting ready for school and work.
I usually use white milk, but when I substitute chocolate milk, my kids get so excited you’d think they were eating dessert for breakfast. I call it "chocolate oatmeal pudding," and they could not be happier.
Depending on how sweet your chocolate milk is, you may opt to add a dash of maple syrup, but it’s plenty good without it. Pumpkin seeds add a nice crunch if you like, or you could throw in any other seeds or nuts you prefer. And, if you want to get extra spooky, you could add some peeled grape "eyeballs," or stick in half a banana with little ghost eyes and mouth made from dots of chocolate syrup. A chocolate-syrup cobweb, perhaps? Whatever you do, have fun.
Chocolate-Milk Overnight Oats
Active time: 5 minutes
Total time: 8 hours
Yield: Serves 2
2 cups (480ml) chocolate milk
1 cup (220g) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon (2g) kosher salt
1/2 cup (80g) roasted, salted pumpkin seeds or other nuts (optional)
1 tablespoon (20g) maple syrup, optional
1. In a large, sealable container (such as a Tupperware container or large Mason jar), mix together chocolate milk, oats, chia seeds, salt, and pumpkin seeds (if using). Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 4 days.
2. Taste oats and stir in maple syrup, if you like. Portion into 2 bowls and serve. Top with spooky toppings, such as peeled-grape "eyeballs" or whatever fresh or dried fruits you prefer.
3. Enjoy with a glass of milk!