Müesli is a Swiss-German word for mix. Bircher Müesli was introduced by the Swiss physician, Maximilian Bircher-Benner, for patients in his sanatorium called “Vital Force” that he opened in 1897. Serving a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables was an essential part of his therapy. Bircher thought it was healthier to serve a small bowl of nuts, oats and apple to patients as an appetizer. You could say he was way ahead of the game in regards to serving simple, wellness driven, mindful food.
Did you know that Thomas Man, a well-known novelist, visited the sanatorium and described it as a “health jail”. Maximilian’s “Bircher Müesli” was inspired by a similar strange dish that he and his wife had been served on a hike in the Swiss Alps. The original recipe contained oats, apple and almonds or hazelnuts. Overtime, people have added additional ingredients to this mixture and even serve mix-your-own muesli for breakfast with containers of seeds, grains and dried fruit set out on the table or buffet.
There are many ways to transform boring oatmeal by adding a touch of sweetness or texture — dried fruit, fresh seasonal fruit, nuts or using flavorful spices such as cinnamon and vanilla.
So how much oatmeal should you eat? One thing for sure, eating too much oatmeal loaded with sugar every morning will increase your calories. A standard serving size of oatmeal is 1/2 cup of dry oats to 1 cup of water. This provides about 150 calories for a low-calorie breakfast meal. Oatmeal has that healthy halo, however, we all agree oats cooked with water can have a bland flavor. Because we all have a sweet tooth, we often pile sugar on our oatmeal to make it more enjoyable. If you are upping the sweetness with a lot of sugar, you may be slashing the health benefits. According to the American Heart Associations daily recommendation for consumption of added sugar, it’s a maximum of 24 grams a day for women and 36 grams for men. In the USA, the average adult consumes an enormous 88 grams of sugar a day.
Oatmeal starts as whole grain oats, which are then processed to varying degrees. The process begins with heating and cooling the oat groats to help give them a nutty flavor. After this, oat groats are processed into ground groats, steel-cut oats, old-fashioned rolled oats, quick cooking oats and instant oatmeal. Oatmeal is one of the healthier breakfast items you can consume and is high in B vitamins and vitamin E.
Both vitamin groups act as antioxidants and help support healthy cell function. Additionally, steel-cut oats contain calcium, iron, protein and potassium. Calcium and potassium help support healthy blood pressure. Although steel-cut oats are processed less than other varieties, they contain only slightly more nutrients. Steel-cut oats have more protein and calcium than old-fashioned and instant oats.
According to a health claim first established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, scientific evidence suggests eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts (as part of an overall healthy diet) may be able to reduce the risk of heart disease. A tablespoon or two of nuts is plenty for making a real difference in the taste, texture and nourishment of a dish or fruit treat. The “Müesli” mix may be a little high in fat (about 15g per 2 ounce serving), however, at end of the day it is all about mindful balanced eating.
As much as 80 percent of a nut is fat. Even though most of this fat is healthy, it’s still a lot of calories. That’s why you should eat nuts in moderation. The “Müesli” mix has only about 5g of sugar and 240 calories per serving. The American Heart Association recommends eating about four servings of unsalted nuts a week. Select raw or dry-roasted nuts rather than those cooked in oil.
Fiber helps you control your blood sugar levels and can provide satiety after a meal. Steel-cut oats have twice the amount of fiber per 1/4 cup than old-fashioned or instant oats have.
Every 1/4 cup of steel-cut oats, provides you with 4g of fiber. Steel-cut oats can help you reach your daily goal of 25 to 30 grams of fiber, as recommended by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Because oats have a higher fat content than other grains, they go rancid more easily. For that reason, whether you’re buying oat groats, steel-cut oats, rolled oats or oat bran, buy in smaller quantities and store these foods in the refrigerator.