Thursday, February 6, 2014

Swiss Muesli for the cereal lover

My parents took me to Switzerland when I was little and I remember three things - the awesome fluffy feather beds, the Swatch watch I got duty free on the airplane and the muesli at the breakfast buffet. Muesli is a yummy combination of grains, dried fruit, nuts and seeds - just like granola except it's not baked. I've been a sucker for this Swiss breakfast favorite ever since and was excited to learn how easy it was to make. A few of the many benefits:
  • Raw: unprocessed and GMO-free (Kellogg's or General Mills certainly can't make that claim…). 
  • Fuel: a great source of sustainable energy from slow-burning, complex carbohydrates because of its whole grain and fruit - a perfect fuel for your workout!
  • Healthy fats: nuts and seeds provide healthy monounsaturated fats as well as heart and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts, pecans and almonds contain powerful phytochemicals and antioxidants that protect against cancer and help protect the body from tissue damage.
  • Fiber: muesli is high in soluble fiber which can help control blood sugar, reduce cholesterol levels and aid in digestion.
  • Protein: start your day right with protein packed nuts and seeds

Muesli is a very "improvisational" cereal that you can tweak to your own taste bud's preferences. Pick your favorite dried fruits and nuts to make it your own. Just be careful to stick to portion control since dried fruits, nuts and seeds are high in calories. A bowl of muesli will keep me full and satisfied until lunch, so one bowl is all you need - can't say that about a bowl of processed Kellogg's. Basically you take the ingredients, toss them together in a bowl and transfer to an air tight container - I use a big glass mason jar that I found at TJ Maxx for $3. This is how I like my muesli:
  • 3 cups oats (if you can find rye flakes, wheat flakes, or triticale in the bulk bins at your health food store try them! I used to buy a blend at The Fresh Market but they no longer sell it, on the lookout)
  • 3/4 cup dried fruit (I like cherries which I cut into thirds, cranberries and raisins)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal or wheat germ
Trader Joe's is THE place to buy your seeds and dried fruits. Costco can't be beat for their prices on nuts!

 Another very tropical combo that I really like is:

  •  3 cups of oats
  • 1 cup of flaked coconut (unsweetened is best)
  • 1/4 cup dried pineapple
  • 1/4 cup dried mango
  • 1/4 cup dried papaya
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia or cashew nuts
Top with a fresh banana - DELISH.

Muesli can be served as either a hot or cold cereal. You can prepare it just as you would oatmeal cooked in either water or almond milk, which I have never tried but sounds good. A more traditional, Swiss way of eating it is to add the milk the night before and let it soak in the refrigerator overnight which makes a rich and creamy "oat milk." Never tried that either but think I will! I just pour my almond milk on and top with fresh fruit. It's dryer than traditional cereal and your jaw has to work a little harder - you'll burn a few extra calories by chewing :)

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