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A Dietitian's Favorite Dish: Muesli

As a dietitian, one of my favorite ways to relax is to experiment in the kitchen. Creating new recipes either from scratch or modifying ones I've found in a cookbook or on the Internet is my way of keeping food and eating interesting and fun. Which means, of course, my favorite recipes are constantly changing! One meal that I do like to keep fairly constant, at least on the weekdays, is breakfast.

Years ago when traveling in Europe I was introduced to muesli. I loved it then, and am still loving it today.  My version differs quite a bit from the original one developed by a Swiss physician, Maximilian Bircher-Benner back in the 1900s. He believed in healthy food as a necessary medicine for his hospitalized patients. Still popular in Switzerland and Germany today, muesli is often eaten as a light dinner meal.

One of the reasons muesli has made my list of favorites is its versatility. Each time I make a batch I vary the ingredients just enough to make it new and interesting. What does my current version look like? First I mix the following together and let stand for 15 minutes, or even overnight:
1 cup nonfat, plain yogurt
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
½ cup Bob's Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli
Then I mix in:
1 cup fresh blueberries, or other fresh fruit
Voila! That's it. Easy, tasty and best of all it's nutritious and filling.

Nutrition Information:        Calories            423
                                      Protein             21.0g
                                      Fat                   6.5g
                                      Carbohydrates   81.0g
                                      Dietary Fiber     11.5g     

What's so wonderful about this is you can easily make your own muesli mixture, instead of buying the prepackaged version like I used above. All you need is a little creativity. Here are some suggestions to get you going--play around with different combinations and proportions of these until you get the taste that is just right for you: whole grain oats, whole grain rye, whole grain triticale, whole grain wheat, flaxseed, unsweetened coconut, almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, bran, pecans, wheat germ, macadamia nuts, raisins, dates, dried apricots, dried cherries...what others can you think of?

You can even try using different milks instead of yogurt. Soy, rice or almond milk would work particularly well. On those cold, brisk mornings when only a hot breakfast will do, try your muesli steaming hot. Just simmer the muesli/milk mixture over medium to low heat for 4 to 5 minutes and enjoy!

Sue Roberts is passionate about helping you become your healthiest ever! As a Certified Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian for over 20 years, she has had a wealth of experience from clinical dietitian to university instructor. She has guided individuals of all ages to reach their weight loss, healthy eating and wellness goals. Sue received a bachelor's degree in Nutrition from Penn State, a Master's in Public Health from the University of Minnesota and a Master's in Food Science from Michigan State University. Sue's published articles have appeared in the Journal of Food Science, Today's Dietitian and TriCity Entertainer in addition to numerous online sites. She is the author of two undergraduate level ecourses in Nutrition and Health and Wellness. Currently she is an adjunct professor at Kaplan University and an outpatient clinical nutritionist at Lourdes Medical Center in Pasco, WA.

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