Muesli, an unsweetened breakfast cereal of rolled oats, nuts and fruit, got its start more than 100 years ago in Switzerland. Back then, it was promoted for its health benefits, and it remains popular in Northern Europe. Today, you can buy packaged muesli, or you can also mix your own with ingredients you like best: perhaps fiber-rich oats (which is a whole grain), ground flaxseed (delivering omega-3s), and a combo of dried fruit and nuts and seeds, which provide vitamin C and protein, respectively. Tip: Mix a batch of homemade muesli to keep on hand in an airtight container for several weeks.
For a quick morning meal, top muesli with low-fat, calcium-rich yogurt and fresh fruit, such as chopped apples, sliced bananas or berries. Or, as a snack or dessert, layer muesli and fruit with ice cream for a nourishing parfait.
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup wheat bran or rye flakes
½ cup slivered almonds or any chopped nuts (such as hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts)
¼ cup unroasted, unsalted pumpkin or sunflower seeds*
½ cup flaked coconut
½ cup dried cranberries, cherries, currants or raisins
½ cup diced dried apricots, apples, dates or figs
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds (optional)
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon dried ginger
Pinch of salt
Before you begin: Wash your hands.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spread oats and wheat bran on a large baking sheet with sides. Toast for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
- Add almonds, pumpkin seeds and coconut to oat mixture. Stir, spreading on the baking sheet. Toast for an additional 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned. Remove from oven. Cool.
- Transfer the oats mixture to a large bowl. Add cranberries and apricots and, if desired, flaxseed; mix.
- Heat honey in a microwave-safe bowl for about 15 seconds. Add vanilla, cinnamon and ginger to honey, and blend. Pour over oats mixture and toss to coat mixture with honey.
*If only roasted seeds are available, do not toast them with oat mixture. Instead add them later with cranberries and dried apricots.
Serving size: About ¾ cup
Calories: 350; Calories from fat: 110; Total fat: 12g; Saturated fat: 2.5g; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium 55mg; Total carbohydrate: 54g; Dietary fiber: 8g; Sugars: 25g; Protein: 10g