We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but it can be difficult to muster up enthusiasm to eat it when nothing takes your fancy. Shop-bought muesli can be high in sugar but, by making your own, you can have exactly what you want in it and, more often than not, it works out cheaper per portion.
Breakfast is also a good time to start getting your daily quota of whole grains, fibre, dairy and five-a-day. Having a decent breakfast will keep you going until lunchtime and help reduce the chances of raiding the biscuit tin at 11 a.m. Either make your muesli to your liking every morning or make a big batch and store it in a container like the Lock & Lock cereal dispenser (Lakeland, £9) to keep it fresh.
As a general rule I go for a ratio of two-thirds base to one-third toppings. Your base could simply be rolled oats or made from a mixture including wheatgerm, barley flakes, wheat flakes, oats, rye flakes and even puffed quinoa. Muesli bases can be easily found in wholefood stores and many larger supermarkets. If you are on a gluten-free diet a suitable muesli base that contains rice and millet flakes can be found in some shops.
The fruit in muesli is not only there to give you some of your five-a-day, but also to bring some natural sweetness. By making your own muesli you can use the fruits you like. No having to pick out the rock-hard banana chips and dried mango pieces (my personal dislikes) and replace them with blueberries, dates or whatever your heart desires. Do not let that bruised apple in the fruit bowl go to waste. Slice the bruised portion off and add the good part to your muesli. Remember tinned fruit (in its natural juice) still counts towards your five-a-day and dried fruit is a good source of fibre.
Nuts and seeds are a great way to get protein and essential oils into your diet. Add a sprinkle of them in your muesli to give texture and taste. Seeds like linseed and sesame are full of omega oils that are wonderful for the skin, hair and joints. If you wish you can toast the nuts before adding them to the mix.
Usually the addition of fruit is enough to sweeten the muesli but, if you do need a bit more sugar, add a drizzle of honey.
Muesli doesn't have to be served just with cold milk. Greek yoghurt is also delicious or muesli can be served with warmed milk for a perfect winter alternative to porridge. If almond and soya milk are more to your liking they also taste great with muesli.
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