Stop Buying Muesli!
With the price of groceries going through the roof, now is the time to invest in a tastier, more nutritious breakfast and save some cash while you’re at it.
My wife eats muesli every weekday morning and the kids eat it too if I hold a gun to their heads (or when the bread bin runs dry). Now, my wife earns the real money around here so it makes sense to ensure her muesli is as tasty, and nutritious as possible — and if I can save a few quid at the same time then I’ll really be in the good books.
1. Halve The Price
I had been buying Quaker Nuts & Seeds Muesli as it has one of the lowest sugar contents while being cheaper than those premium “boxed” mueslis. Although, having said that it still weighed in at over £3 for 600g which is a lot of dosh for a pouch that’s 65% oats.
The ingredients actually look more or less like this:
Oats 390g, Wheat Flakes 60g, Raisins 60g, Sunflower Seeds 36g, Chopped Dates 30g, Flaked Almonds 24g, Hazelnuts 20g, Branflakes/OligoFructose/Natural Raisin Flavouring 10g
I was able to easily source these ingredients at the following prices;
Oats 0.13p, Wheat Flakes 0.27p, Raisins 0.15p, Sunflower Seeds 0.40p, Dates 0.40p, Flaked Almonds 0.83p, Hazelnuts 0.99p
This enabled me to re-create the mix for less than half the price and because I always decanted the muesli into a glass jar anyway, no one noticed!
2. Customise the Taste
The reason you see so many different boxes of muesli on the shelves is that different person like different things — fewer nuts, more fruit, less sugar, cheaper, premium etc. By making your own you can totally customise it to your exact tastes.
Once I’d told my wife about the muesli she was delighted but confessed that she didn’t really like the chunks of date and would prefer more nuts — no problem — I switched the dates for raisins and happily added more nuts.
I have now started to use roasted nuts in my mix which may sound like a bit of a faff but it gives such a flavour boost. You can buy pre-roasted nuts or you can just throw them onto a hot pan — just a couple of minutes — no oil required.
Roasting the nuts also gives you a good opportunity to play around with some other flavours — the heat brings out the oils in the nuts which means that a dusting of cinnamon or mixed spice will nicely coat their surface.
And don’t stop there — you can play around with all sorts of different nuts, seeds or dried and dehydrated fruits.
3. Customise the Nutrition
Many people buy muesli thinking it is incredibly healthy while many brands are simply loaded with sugar.
By creating your own mix you can really shape the nutritional make-up of your muesli. To give you some idea, the nutritional info on the Quaker Nuts & Seeds Muesli looks like this:
Nutritional Info (100g)
Carbs 66g (of which Sugar 12g), Fibre 10g, Fat 12g, Protein 12g, Kcal 393
But before you start getting too creative with your own mix just bear these simple rules in mind:
- More dried fruit means more sugar.
- Nuts and seeds will increase the fat and protein levels.
- Nuts and seeds will increase the Kcal.
- Nuts and seeds will drive up the cost of your muesli.
A mix low in sugar is going to be far better for you than regular breakfast cereals but an oat-based muesli still packs a punch in terms of the carbs as these will all be metabolised into glucose.
The less-refined nature of the oats does give them a much lower glycemic load than cornflakes, for example, and the inclusion of fat, protein and fibre in muesli further reduces its impact on blood sugar and insulin levels.
With this in mind, I like to go a little further with a more balanced recipe using less carbohydrate, more fat, more protein and more fibre than that offered by the Quakers. I also prefer to use jumbo oats which further improve the glycemic load.
Jumbo Oats 300g, Wheat Flakes 55g, Flaked Almonds 50g, Chopped Hazelnuts 60g, Raisins 55g, Sunflower Seeds 40g, Pumpkin Seeds 40g
With pumpkin seeds available for 0.60p (100g) you can create this turbo-charged muesli for just £1.91 (600g). Healthier, tastier, more nutritious and over 38% cheaper than the shop-bought bag.
With your saving, you could invest in some organic ingredients. You can buy jumbo organic oats for 0.24p per 100g so this trade-up would only add 0.30p to your whole mix.
Nutritional Info (100g)
Carbs 47g (of which sugar 8g), Fibre 10g, Fat 21g, Protein 14g, Kcal 440
My mix may contain a few more calories but it’s a lot tastier, has a much more balanced profile of nutrients which will help keep you feeling full until lunchtime.
Portion Size and Serving Suggestion
Of course, you’ll want to eat more but try and stick to a sensible portion size of around 50–70g and serve with 50g — 80g of full-fat Greek yoghurt or some full-fat organic milk. If you need more sweetness then add some berries and try to resist reaching for the honey…
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