I’d love to have the time to whip up a few eggs, some sautéed mushrooms, smashed avo and perhaps a little smoked salmon on the side. Perhaps a green smoothie, hell that’s just throwing a few ingredients in a blender! The reality is, with two kids I’m lucky to be munching on a handful of muesli, straight from the pack, as I run out the door, and that’s assuming I even get breakfast. Luckily, muesli’s my thing and I’m a bit of a connoisseur, from way back in the Cerola days of the 80’s – Best. Muesli. Ever…which consequently, they no longer make. I’ve dedicated my life to finding the next best thing and l’ll admit, a few come close. What I have discovered, and was blissfully unaware of in my youth, is that despite muesli’s seemingly healthy outlook, it’s actually packed with sugar. There are a few brands that are now challenging this stereotype, Carmen’s is a good fallback of mine, but I’ve since come across some pretty amazing “do it yourself” recipes. I can’t claim ownership of the recipe I’m about to share, but it’s difficult to give credit as it’s about 4 recipes evolved into one. This is not a completely sugar free variation, I’ll admit I failed the ‘I quit sugar’ attempt and instead opted for a ‘I substitute my processed sugar craving for a natural alternative’. So, here goes. These ingredients are rough estimates, you can adapt to your liking.
2 cups rolled oats (can seek out gluten free oats or substitute for another such as quinoa flakes, experiment here – omit completely if you just want a nutty granola)
2-3 cups mixed nuts (I love using crushed walnuts, flaked almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds – but choose your own variety. Find chopped variations if you prefer your muesli not so chunky)
½-1 cup coconut chips (I prefer chips/flakes, but you could use shredded)
1-2 tbs cinnamon (adds a lovely flavour and cinnamon has many health benefits)
2-3 tbs coconut oil (if this is not your thing, you could use canola oil. Read below for health benefits!)
2-3 tbs Honey (I use an organic, raw variety, but you could substitute this for rice malt syrup or omit completely if you don’t need the added sweetness. Try Manuka honey for its added health benefits)
Heat the oven to 160 deg. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Place coconut oil and honey in a pot on the stove and heat until the coconut oil is melted and the honey is runny. Give the pot a quick swish to mix the two ingredients (which obviously won’t actually mix as you’re working with oil, but ensures you get an even spread of the two over the nut mixture) Add wet to the dry and stir through with a fork until the mixture is coated.
Place baking paper on a tray and spread a thin layer of the mixture (this will take you a few batches) Place in the over for 10-15 minutes, until lightly toasted or to your liking (this will vary depending on your oven also) Try to avoid doing too much else at this time…I’ve never made this muesli without burning one batch (and when I think of all those deliciously expensive nuts, it breaks my heart) Remove the tray from the oven and let cool, then place muesli in your preferred container.
My favourite is about ½ cup of muesli, topped with a few spoonfuls of natural yoghurt, finished off with blueberries and chopped strawberries. You may like to use it as a yoghurt topper, with a bowl of milk or simply munch on a handful as you run out the door. Makes a great mid afternoon snack too!
Health benefits for pregnancy
Rolled oats – Oats and other whole grains provide the body with complex carbohydrates, needed for valuable energy. They are a good source of fibre, to promote a healthy digestive system, which is often disrupted in pregnancy. Oats are packed with many valuable minerals, including as potassium and iron, which are believed to boost immunity, improve bone and teeth formation and ensure proper growth and development of the foetus.
Nuts – packed full of important minerals (copper, manganese, magnesium, selenium, zinc, potassium, and even calcium) they’re a source of protein, good fats and have slow energy release. Whilst this remains a controversial topic, consuming nuts during pregnancy is now thought to reduce the chance of your baby developing a nut allergy.
Coconut oil – coconut oil has many health benefits for pregnancy and foetal development, including a source of good fat and vital nutrients. It also has some similar properties to breastmilk, giving it amazing healing qualities. Can be used for cooking and as a moisturiser (also great for babies skin)
Honey – it’s a natural sweetener that boosts the immune system, neutralises stomach acid that causes heartburn, and contains antioxidant and antibacterial properties. There is some argument that honey should not be eaten in pregnancy due to spores of bacteria that can be present and harmful to babies (which is why you don’t feed babies honey in the first 12 months) However, adult and older children’s digestive systems are mature enough to rid the body of these spores and it is not passed on to babies in the womb. They do recommend pregnant women use pasteurised honey (a process that removes harmful microbes) as a precaution. I recommend you do your own research on this.
Cinnamon – loaded with antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help to lower blood sugar levels.
Yoghurt – cobtains much needed calcium for baby’s growing bones and important for your muscle and nerve function. Yoghurt also contains protein, folate and the active culture (good bacteria) needed for good gut health, preventing stomach upsets and yeast infections (which are common during pregnancy)
Berries – Did you know that low iron could actually be a result of not enough iron-absorbing vitamins, such as vitamin C. Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C and in terms of sugary fruits, they’re at the lower end of the scale. Blueberries have great antioxidant properties.
Disclaimer – I am in no way medically qualified to recommend foods or their suitability during pregnancy, so I encourage you to do your own research or consult a medical professional before using any foods suggested on this blog.
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