Muesli

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Mueslis can be divided into three groups: toasted, natural (that is not toasted) and moist or Swiss muesli (see recipe below). Any muesli is usually a good choice for breakfast, particularly if you make your own, but some toasted mueslis can contain extra fat and sugar as nutritionist Rosemary Stanton discovered.

When Rosemary Stanton investigated the ingredients in mueslis that are sold in supermarkets (toasted and natural mueslis) she found that while the natural mueslis are generally a healthy breakfast choice, most toasted mueslis were made of oats combined with sugar and lots of fat. They are baked, like a biscuit, or fried. It is these products which can have high saturated fat and sugar levels.

Hint: To decide the fat content of your favourite brand of toasted muesli, look at the ingredients list on the side of the packet. Avoid those toasted mueslis which include vegetable oil in their list of ingredients as it will almost certainly be a saturated fat.

Rosemary Stanton has muesli recipes that are tasty and good value for money while providing the nutrients, fibre and vitamins needed for a healthy and active lifestyle.

When we compared the cost of toasted muesli bought from the supermarket or specialist stores with the cost of Rosemary’s homemade toasted muesli (see recipe below) we discovered that it offered extremely good value for money:

Price comparison

Product Cost per 60g serve:

  • Generic brand toasted muesli – 18 cents
  • Home-made toasted muesli – 27 cents
  • Middle of the range brand – 31 cents
  • Top brands – 36 cents
  • Gourmet range – 45-65 cents

Fat and sugar comparison

As well as offering value, the home-made toasted muesli is made without adding any extra fat in the form of vegetable oil so is lower in saturated fats than manufactured products, even those in the gourmet range. Dried fruits in the recipe provide natural sweetness, which eliminates the need for any extra sugar. Home-made toasted muesli takes a little while to make but it keeps well, is very healthy, delicious and good value.

Rosemary Stanton’s Toasted Muesli

Ingredients:

  • 750g rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup (50g) flaked almonds
  • 1/2 cup (40g) sesame seeds
  • 1 cup (25g) flaked coconut*
  • 150g sultanas
  • 150g raisins
  • 100g chopped dried apricots
  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • 50g linseeds
  • 50g pepitas
  • 2 cups processed bran cereal**

* omit coconut if you have high cholesterol
** optional

Tip: You can also add some rye or barley flakes if you like as both oats and barley are excellent if you have diabetes.

Method:

To toast oats: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200deg.C. Spread half the oats on a flat ungreased oven tray and cook for about 5 minutes, or until oats brown, stirring once or twice.
  2. Take care that oats don’t burn.
  3. Place oats into a large bowl and toast the remaining oats.
  4. Toast almonds and sesame seeds on the same tray, taking care not to burn them.
  5. Toast coconut in the same way but leave in the oven for only 2-3 minutes as coconut will burn easily. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  6. Store in an airtight container.

Dietary information:

A 60g serving of this toasted muesli contains around 8g of fat, but unlike most ready-made toasted products, most of the fat in our recipe is in the form of essential fatty acids – that is ‘good fat’. Most shop-bought products contain mainly saturated fat (many at levels way above 8%) which is undesirable.

You can reduce the fat content to 3g by omitting the nuts and the seeds but this would also decrease the essential fat, the vitamin E and many of the other nutrients.

A 60g serve has 900 kJ or 215 Calories and 6g of dietary fibre. With fruit and low fat milk, this will make a balanced breakfast.

Rosemary Stanton’s Swiss Muesli

If you prefer a softer muesli try Rosemary Stanton’s Swiss Muesli recipe. This is not a dry cereal and needs to be made freshly each day.

Ingredients (for 2 people):

  • 1/2 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup milk (regular or fat-reduced)
  • 1 apple (grated) 
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon chopped hazelnuts or almonds
  • 200g natural yoghurt (regular or low fat)

Method:

  1. Place the rolled oats into a bowl with the milk and leave overnight in the fridge.
  2. Next morning, remove the core from an apple and add the grated flesh to the oats with the honey and chopped nuts.
  3. Add the natural yoghurt and stir well. Serve as it is (no need to add extra milk).

Dietary information:

One serving has 1150 kJ or 275 Calories, 4g of dietary fibre and 7.5g of fat (if reduced fat milk and yoghurt are used) although most of the fat is unsaturated and provides essential fatty acids.