J Boy (our rapidly growing seven-year old) loves cooking.
He also needs a high-fat diet. Coupled with being a faddy eater, the latter can be a bit of a problem. Add to this the frantic scramble school days to be out of the house at 7.45am and it’s a recipe for disaster (if you’ll pardon the pun).
However, I’ve now found a way to get the calories into him and get out of the house on time and with minimal stress (well, at least breakfast shouldn’t hold us up).
I have discovered Bircher Muesli.
A bit late, it transpires. Jamie Oliver and Nigella have already stolen the act (and turned it into a work of culinary art). However, the great thing about Bircher Muesli is that you can add your own twist. It is (almost) infinitely adaptable.
It is also something the Little Ones can get involved in (which, from my experience, makes it that much more likely that they’ll eat it up and enjoy it).
And (if that hasn’t sold it to you) because you make it up the night before, store in the fridge, it’s ready and waiting for you in the morning.
So here’s the basic Bircher Muesli recipe (with a few notes on how you may want to personalise it). The quantities are also adaptable. So don’t be afraid to experiment.
My Muesli Recipe (large helping for two)
- Cup of muesli (or rolled oats)
- Small carton of plain yoghurt (approximately 200 grams)
- Apple juice (about 50 ml) or the juice of one large orange
- Tablespoonful of milk
- Honey (to taste, usually a good squeeze)
Combine well in breakfast bowl and leave in fridge overnight.
Adapting it for high-fat diets
If, like J (who has cystic fibrosis) you need a high-fat diet, make sure you use high fat muesli (their fat and sugar content varies widely). Jordan’s Nut and Seed Muesli, for example, has about 10 grams of fat per 100 grams.
Make sure you use full fat milk and full fat yoghurt (which can work out at 11 grams of fat per 100 grams).
Without too much effort, you easily make a bowl of Bircher Muesli which has 21 grams of fat.
With a bit of imagination, you can increase that significantly—
- Add (or replace the milk with) full fat cream (5-6 grams of fat per tablespoonful).
- Add a crumbled flake to the top (9.2 grams of fat). Crumbled Maltesers and diced Mars Bars as well).
- Add nuts. Cashews work well. Check packet, but I work on basis that two level tablespoonfuls will work out at 6 grams of fat.
So, with a bit of engineering, you can make a bowl of breakfast cereal deliver over 30 grams of fat.
Adapting it for low-fat diets
Obviously, don’t do the above. Select a low-fat yoghurt and milk (or use semi-skimmed or rice or soya milk.
Getting your five-a-day (works for low and high fat diets)
- Add fruit (strawberries and raspberries are my favourite, but dried fruit works well too)
- Dice an apple and add it to the yoghurt before putting it in the fridge.
Just for fun
Add marshmallows and sprinkles. Or maybe not, but don’t be afraid to personalise it.
Finally, enjoy. And experiment.