The Healthy Chef shares her favourite way to start a Winter’s day and an energising snack that will see you waving goodbye to store-bought muesli bars forever.
Muesli Power Bars
When that mid-morning or afternoon hunger sets in, make sure you’re prepared with healthy emergency foods to help keep you on the right track. Fresh fruit, trail mix or yoghurt make a terrific snack, and so do these delicious home-made muesli bars that will take the edge off any hunger and are much healthier than the traditional store-bought versions. These bars take around 5 minutes to mix up from your favourite bircher muesli combo, then all you need to do is bake them. Like most muesli bars, I’ve made mine with rolled oats.
What’s great about it?
The soluble fibre can help lower blood cholesterol, and because they are low GI they can provide lasting energy. If you’re on a gluten-free or paleo diet, just substitute the oats for nuts, seeds and sun-dried fruit. These muesli bars provide a good source of protein to help keep you fuller for longer, and I’ve used a little olive oil which is kind to the arteries and anti-inflammatory to the body.
Time: 35 mins
- 3 cups (350g) natural bircher muesli (see Inspiration below for gluten-free)
- ½ cup (50g) LSA – (ground linseed, almonds and sunflower seed)
- 3 organic eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup (60ml) olive oil or macadamia nut oil
- ¼ cup (60ml) honey
Preheat oven to 160°C fan forced. Combine muesli, LSA, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, olive oil and honey in one large bowl until mixed through. Spoon into a baking tin lined with baking paper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden. Cool then cut into 16 pieces.
- For gluten-free or paleo diets substitute bircher muesli with 3 cups combined (almond meal, seeds, walnuts and sun-dried fruit).
- Double the protein to 10grams per serve and add 3 tablespoons of Healthy Chef Pure Native WPI Protein.
- For those with egg allergies, replace with mashed banana in the recipe.
- These bars will keep in an airtight container for up to five days.
- Store in the fridge.
Steel Cut Oats Porridge
There’s no better way to start a cold Winter’s morning than with a bowl of steel cut oats porridge, slowly simmered with vanilla and cinnamon and topped with sweet ripe banana and steaming hot milk. I love the creamy and chewy texture of steel cut oats and warmth and goodness that you get from every mouthful. Steel cut oats are less processed than rolled oats and also have a lower GI. When serving this porridge, it’s important that you accompany it with extra steaming hot milk to pour over, so that eating it is a purely delicious comfort food experience. I’m a banana fan through and through, so I often top mine with lots of banana, but you can finish them off with other seasonal fruits such as poached vanilla pear, roasted apple or quince. A light sprinkling of LSA or roasted hazelnut can also add a lovely flavour and texture.
What’s great about it?
This is a protein-packed power breakfast that will energise and revitalise your body. Oats are a great source of soluble fibre that will keep you regular, lower cholesterol and fill you up for hours. Cinnamon improves insulin’s efficiency, which helps regulate blood sugar levels.
Time: 30 mins
- 1 cup milk (your choice, plus extra to serve)
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean
- 1 whole cinnamon stick
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 2 bananas, sliced
- small handful raisins or muscatels
- 2 tablespoons roasted chopped hazelnuts, walnuts or LSA
- Extra hot milk to serve
- Honey to serve
Combine oats, water, milk, vanilla, salt, raisins and cinnamon into a pot. Bring to the boil, and then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook partially covered, stirring the pot with a spoon every now and then until the porridge is creamy and tender. This normally takes around 20 to 25 minutes. Add more milk if necessary – it’s important the porridge is lovely and velvety, not stodgy, so the more milk the better! Discard cinnamon stick. Divide into serving bowls and top with sliced banana and roasted nuts, if using. Pour over extra hot milk and accompany with a little honey on the side. Enjoy.
- Pump up the protein to more than 15g per serve by adding 1 tablespoon of whey protein isolate, such as Healthy Chef Natural WPI.
- Go green and stir through ½ teaspoon of Healthy Chef Organic Matcha (powdered green tea) for an antioxidant boost.
- When buying steel cut oats, choose organic oats that don’t contain sugar or artificial additives.
Teresa Cutter, aka The Healthy Chef, is one of Australia’s leading authorities on healthy cooking. An experienced chef, as well as a nutritionist and fitness professional, she combines her knowledge of food, diet and exercise to develop delicious recipes that maximise health and wellbeing. thehealthychef.com