I have never enjoyed oatmeal. I can’t get it to my liking no matter what I do to it. It’s always one of two things: too bland or too sweet. For us, too sweet is out of the question as we’ve been avoiding processed sugars and the like with our whole foods journey.
Oddly enough, I really enjoy muesli. Yes, muesli is more or less just cold oatmeal, but it’s so much more than that. It is a healthy, whole grain food that sticks with you and leaves you wanting more. What I like about it is that it meets most of my wife’s criteria for a good recipe: flexible, easy to make and easy to substitute. The only thing thing that it doesn’t cover is her criteria for it to have easy to find ingredients. Finding dried fruit with no sugar added should be easy, but it’s actually pretty difficult. And trust me on this one – you won’t need added sugar! This recipe is plenty sweet on its own, and we want to be eating healthy here, remember? I suppose that if you’ve been used to eating Frosted Flakes and Cap’n Crunch for breakfast this might not do it for you, but honestly give it a try even then… you may be surprised.
Essentially, muesli is composed of oats, other grains, seeds, fruit and nuts. We’ve bought packaged muesli before, and I’ve played with measurements myself to get a less expensive, homemade alternative.
This is how I make it:
7 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup chopped nuts (your choice – I use slivered almonds)
1 cup raisins
1-2 cups dried fruit (your choice, I use raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or apples)
Milk or Yogurt
Optional: 1 Cup Seeds of Choice/Additional Grain of Choice
I mix together the oats, nuts, raisins and dried fruit in a large bowl, and any optional seeds or additional grains. If the seeds/grains are very fine, I leave them out for later. From there, I put the mixture into a 1/2 gallon mason jar and keep it in the refrigerator for when I want to use it. Usually, I have about 1 cup left over to make a bowl of muesli for myself at that moment.
When I do want to have muesli for breakfast, I take a cup of the dry ingredients from the mason jar and put it in a cereal bowl. I then mix 3/4 cup of milk with it (you can use more or less based on preference – I prefer the muesli pretty moist) and then leave it in the refrigerator overnight. The sugars in the raisins and dried fruit seep out into the milk and sweeten the entire mixture. Overnight is important. There have been a few mornings where I’ve forgotten to do it the evening before and decided to throw it together and let it sit in the refrigerator while I milk the goats. It’s okay, but not nearly as good as when I let it sit overnight.
If you are using an additional grain or seed that’s very fine, such as flax, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of it the evening that you’re setting your muesli aside. If you add it the same time as the other dry ingredients and let it sit in your stored mason jar, the flax will all slide down to the bottom and pretty much be nonexistent in your first couple of scoops and it will be the only thing left once you get to the end of the week.
I give muesli a lot of credit. Though this is NOT a Whole30 friendly food and not part of what I ate while we were losing weight, I’ve been eating it quite often for breakfast since and I’ve kept the weight off for a couple of months now – indeed, I’m still steadily losing.* I do have to emphasize, though, make sure all ingredients have no added sugar! I use Trader Joe’s dried fruits, but not all of their dried fruits are free of added sweeteners. Sugar is perhaps the most salient ingredient in our food products. It’s harder than you think to avoid it. If you can manage to do that, you can make muesli. It really is that easy – so easy that I could come up with a recipe for it.
And THAT is saying something!
*I am not a nutritionist, nor do I claim to have any background in nutrition. Take my testimony as just that: my testimony. If you are looking to lose weight or maintain a weight loss, I would suggest consulting your primary care physician or a licensed nutritionist. Don’t forget, the internet is a poor excuse for sound medical advise.