You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again. Breakfast is kind of a big deal.
Studies show that eating breakfast can reap enormous benefits, like helping improve cognitive function, boosting your heart health, decreasing your risk for heart disease, and even boosting energy levels.
Of course, you can’t just roll through the McDonald’s drive-thru or inhale a pop tart and go on with your day. You need to begin your morning by eating something nutritious, natural, and filling. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck consuming useless calories, which will only leave you hungry an hour later.
So, what should you be digesting so early in the morning? While you may be expecting the right answer to be oatmeal, a smoothie, or yogurt with fruit, we’re suggesting something a little different: muesli.
If you’ve never heard of it, you’re not alone. But you’re also missing out on a food with some health benefits you should be taking advantage of.
What Is Muesli, Anyway?
Muesli (pronounced Mews-li) is a fiber- and protein-rich breakfast and brunch option based on raw, rolled oats and other diverse breakfast ingredients.
What began as a dry cereal made from toasted whole oats, nuts, fruit, and wheat flakes, muesli has evolved to become a hodgepodge of a breakfast option with tons of combinations that can be soaked and essentially marinated overnight. Think grains, fresh or dried fruits, seeds, and nuts. The concoction, which is full of vitamins, iron, and magnesium, can also be mixed together with milk (soy, almond, or cow), or yogurt or fruit juice, and left in the fridge overnight.
Muesli is often likened to granola, but it’s typically a more natural option with less sugar, making it the healthier option of the two. So, why else should you favor this mish-mash first thing in the morning? Here are eight other reasons you should be waking up to muesli tomorrow morning.
It’s Healthier Than Other Cereals
Sugary cereals and delicacies from your local doughnut shop may be tempting, but they’re full of sugar, and who knows what else.
Muesli often has less sugar and fewer calories than pastries and breakfast sandwiches. Plus, since you control your concoction, you can make sure nothing processed or full of sugar makes its way into your meal.
It’s High in Fiber and Whole Grains
While it’s hard to gauge exactly how much fiber is in muesli because there are so many different combinations one can make, the dish is typically high in fiber and whole grains — both of which are good for your digestive system. Fiber and whole grains can regulate your digestive tract.
You’ll Stay Fuller, Longer
Not only do fiber and whole grains help keep your tummy in check, they’re also filling. You won’t find yourself starving for a doughnut shortly after eating.
Additionally, raw oats contain a ton of resistant starch, making muesli an extremely filling breakfast that takes a long time to digest. As the resistant starch is broken down in your stomach, digestive acids that suppress your appetite are released and your metabolism speeds up, so you’ll burn more calories in less time.
Data from the NHANES study revealed that oat consumption is related to a lower weight in adults.
It’s Good for Your Heart
Muesli contains oat bran, which includes an oat fiber called beta-glucan.
According to studies, beta-glucan can help reduce cholesterol levels by up to 10 percent. By eating muesli regularly, you’ll be drastically improving your heart health. Do your heart another favor and add lemon juice to your mixture. Adding vitamin C can help lower your cholesterol too, boosting your heart health even more.
You’ll Consume More Nutrients
Since you can essentially marinate muesli like a steak by soaking it overnight, the good nutrients have more time to get absorbed. Any “antinutrients” that interfere with digestive enzymes or inhibit mineral absorption can become deactivated.
While cooking food can have a similar effect on these antinutrients, soaking your food makes it even easier to digest.
Remember beta-glucan? Well, it can do more than reduce your cholesterol. Not only is it full of fiber, but adding beta-glucan to your baking products like muffins, cakes, pasta, noodles, or muesli, can affect their attributes like thickening ability, texture, and appearance.
Studies have found that in addition to contributing to the attributes and nutritional value of a product, beta-glucan can improve the sensory and gustatory properties of some products. That means it just might satisfy any cravings that come up — even before the sun does!
You Can Add Protein
And pretty much whatever else you want! Adding nuts can incorporate protein and omega-3 fatty acids into your breakfast, while other ingredients like fruit can give you a healthy dose of potassium, fiber, vitamin E, C, B-12, and more.
Milk or dairy alternatives like almond milk, flax milk, soymilk, or yogurt that you’ll typically soak your oats in are another way to incorporate dairy and protein. Basically, whatever it is that you need to start your day off right, you can incorporate into your meal — whether it’s a base you soak your oats in, or a topping you can stir in.
You’ll Avoid Eating Something Unhealthy
By choosing muesli as your go-to breakfast, you’ll save yourself from potentially eating something fattening or full of sugar that could damage your health, and your waistline.
With muesli, you’ll be making a smart breakfast decision that will benefit you all day long.
DIY Recipes to Try
Convinced? Try these recipes to start incorporating muesli into your morning routine today.
Fruit and Oat Muesli
Like most muesli recipes, this one is simple. Do it the night before, and you’ll have a sweet, healthy dish ready for you, bright and early.
Get the recipe!
Toasted Oat and Coconut Muesli
This version instructs you to toast both the oats and the coconut, which leaves you with a golden, fragrant breakfast bowl.
Get the recipe!
Toasted Pumpkin Muesli
Pumpkin flavors don’t have to be limited to autumn! This twist calls for pumpkin seeds and pumpkin pie. Bonus: The extra seeds mean extra nutrition!
Get the recipe!
Apple Muesli with Goji Berries
Add some healthy sweetness to this morning meal by incorporating good old apples, and goji berries, the do-all super fruit.
Get the recipe!
The best thing about muesli, however, is that it’s trendy — and not just because it’s healthy.
Muesli is the perfect meal to stash in a mason jar overnight in your fridge and bring into work the next day. Not only will your coworkers take note of your modern, rustic ways, but you’ll have a filling, healthy breakfast (or snack!) waiting for you whenever you’re ready.