A.A. Milne really does put it best when it comes to breakfast;
“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen that’s exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.
I think this quote best describes my thoughts on breakfast as it emphasises the dual purpose of what is great about the first meal of the day. It’s up to you to make your breakfast as exciting as you like with all the wonderful ingredients out there to try and it sets you up with the energy to go out and make something exciting happen that day.
Through the winter months I am a porridge girl adding soya milk to give it that creaminess and mixing through a banana, sultanas and often a sprinkling of cinnamon. It gives me the calories I need after a morning gym session but without a huge spike in sugar levels.
However, feeling like the winter is finally behind us (although the rain appears to be hanging about) I wanted to eat something a little more fresh in the mornings, but not the usual cereals or granola on offer.
Bircher muesli is something that I’ve toyed with a bit in the past, mainly because my brother introduced mOma breakfasts to the family because he worked there as Commercial Director.I therefore have a better than average understanding (drilled into us!) of why Bircher muesli really does tick the healthy boxes with such a mixture of beneficial components involved in the basic ingredients, particularly when it’s homemade.
Rolled oats help to lower cholesterol, possess vital antioxidant effects and are a good carbohydrate source. Almond Milk is low in calories, boosts magnesium, potassium and Vitamin E. Cloudy apple juice is a good source of disease-fighting polyphenols that help to zap free radicals and reduce inflammation (much more so than clear apple juice which has had all the good stuff removed). Apples help to reduce cholesterol, decrease your risk of diabetes and boost your immune system. Low fat yoghurt has plenty of nutrients and bacteria that will help digestion and protein that will help to build and maintain muscle tissue.
And that’s just the basic Bircher Muesli!
If you add Agave nectar rather than honey you get the sweetness to cut through the yoghurt but at a much lower glycemic index so that you won’t get a sharp rise or fall in blood sugar. I also like to add banana which provides you with potassium, vitamin C and fibre. Some raspberries are a lovely addition particularly at this time of year when they are so fresh and flavoursome but with the added bonus of being low in calories and saturated fats but are a rich source of dietary fibre and antioxidants. And finally, to give the dish a little bit of crunch I add some pumpkin seeds which aid in the conversion of amino acid tryptophan to seratonin which will help give you a good nights sleep.
Science lesson over!
I think you can’t beat homemade Bircher Museli where you have the option to add whatever you like to the basic mix. It might seem like a bit of a palaver but you can soak the oats in almond milk (or milk) and cloudy apple juice over night and then mix through your yoghurt and grated apple in the morning. Then all you’ve got left to do is add the fruits you’ve got in the fridge or seeds you crave that day to provide the crunch. It really takes five minutes out of your busy schedule to give yourself a great, healthy start to the day.
Bircher Muesli with berries, banana and seeds
100g rolled oats
120ml almond milk (you can use milk, or soya milk)
40ml cloudy apple juice
80g low fat natural yoghurt (you can use greek or full fat if you prefer)
1 apple grated (Granny Smith or Braeburn)
20g Agave Nectar (or honey)
Dash of vanilla essence
Handful of sultanas
Handful of pumpkin seeds
Handful or raspberries
Place your oats in a bowl (or Tupperware box) and pour over the almond milk and cloudy apple juice. Leave to rest in the fridge over night or at least 30 minutes before you want to eat them.
Stir in the yoghurt, grated apple, agave syrup, vanilla essence.
I then put half of a portion in the bottom of a glass, layered on some banana, sultanas, raspberries and pumpkin seeds and then repeated this.
The bright pink raspberries on top, with the dark green pumpkin seeds contrasted so invitingly with the creamy yoghurt and oats that it took all of my restraint to get the photos finished before diving in with my spoon.
I actually felt like the pumpkin seeds really made this breakfast as they provided a nice texture to the yohurty oats, but if you’re not a fan of pumpkin seeds then feel free to substitute with other nuts such as pistachios or almonds.
If you don’t think you have time in the week to be this organised, then make sure you put some in the fridge on a Friday evening before you go out and you’ll feel so much better on Saturday morning tucking into something as fresh as homemade Bircher muesli than you will a fry up. I promise.