I was on a work trip recently and over breakfast my colleagues and I were discussing what sorts of foods we normally would eat, and the differences between different countries and cultures as to what people consider a normal breakfast. While I was on holiday in Rome a few weeks ago it really hit home to me the differences between Italian and British breakfast habits and how little bread I eat – because after 2 days of getting multiple kinds of bread at breakfast I just was completely over it! We were being given croissants, fresh bread slices, bread rolls, biscuits and dried toast slices but all we wanted was cereal! A few years ago while I was travelling through South East Asia I lived off beef noodle soup (pho) in Vietnam – complete with bean sprouts, fresh coriander, mint and chilli flakes and loved it!
One of the ladies I work with was saying how she almost always eats porridge for breakfast because she finds that oats are the only thing that will keep her going and keep hunger at bay during the morning at work. However, with the heat wave that we have been recently having in the UK she struggles eating hot porridge for breakfast. I asked whether she had ever eaten Bircher Muesli before because that may be a good alternative for her to try as it is eaten cold rather than hot.
I first came across Bircher muesli when I was studying to be a dietitian. One of the food shops on campus did healthy sandwiches, wraps, smoothies, yoghurts and bircher muesli. It looks a bit gross, not particularly appetising at all – but trust me it is definitely worth it for taste! The recipes for Bircher muesli (also known as overnight oats) can differ far and wide – some use fruit juice to moisten the oats, others use cream. I like to add grated apple into mine and use milk which cuts back on the sweetness and sugar content. You can add anything you want to this basic recipe – it is pretty much a case of anything goes really. If you like it and the combination works well together then go for it! If you are on a gluten free diet and have coeliacs disease this would also be suitable for you providing you use (and tolerate) gluten-free oats.
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 150-200ml milk (any kind - cows/soy/hazelnut/coconut)
- 1 apple, cored and grated (leave the peel on for extra fibre)
- small handful of sultanas
- small handful of almonds - chopped
- ½-1 tsp cinnamon
- Mix all ingredients together into a bowl/jar/container of your choice
- Leave to soak overnight in the fridge
- Eat straight as it is, or add additional fresh fruit, yoghurt, nuts seeds etc