Make a fresh start to the day

Q. I would like to eat muesli for breakfast but most brands seem to contain a lot of sugar and salt. Can you advise me what to look for? A. Developed in the 1900s by Swiss physician Dr Maximilian Bircher-Benner for his patients, muesli can be helpful for your digestive system as it supplies good levels of fibre. But nutritionist and author Marilyn Glenville ( agrees that ‘many brands can be laden with high amounts of added sugar and salt, which turn a seemingly healthy breakfast into an unhealthy one’.

Ingredients to look for are oats, rice and millet, rather than wheat. Add in nuts and seeds, particularly walnuts and flaxseed for omega-3 essential fatty acids. Nuts and seeds also add protein to the carbohydrate grains, which lowers the glycaemic index (GI) of the muesli and gives you more energy for longer. Including natural yoghurt (see recipe below) will also provide some protein.

Avoid products with lots of dried fruit (especially cranberries, which often have added sugar), chocolate or palm oil (high in unhealthy omega-6).

Check for added sugar in any form: the ingredient will have -ose on the end. Also avoid any product that contains more than 1.5 g salt per 100 g (or 0.6 g sodium).

How you eat the muesli is important. Raw grains contain phytates, which act like a magnet for vital minerals, including zinc, calcium, iron and magnesium. The minerals bind to the phytates and, if you don’t absorb them, are excreted. To make sure the nutrients are well-absorbed, soak the muesli before eating, as in this recipe.


Serves 2

75 g organic porridge oats 25 g organic dried apricots or raisins 100 ml oat or almond milk, or organic apple juice, full-fat organic milk or water juice of half a fresh lemon 1 organic apple 1 tbsp ground almonds 1 tbsp flaked almonds 1 tsp ground cinnamon 2 tbsp organic natural bio-yoghurt 75 g berries

• Cover the oats and dried fruit with the milk (or other) and lemon juice. Leave in the fridge for at least two hours or overnight.

• In the morning, grate the apple (with skin) and stir into the oat mix with the ground and flaked almonds, cinnamon and yoghurt.

• Top with berries and a little extra cinnamon.

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