Favourite Muesli Breakfast Bars (100% Plant Based)

Muesli is gaining popularity in the western world and is known as a healthier version of granola, that doesn’t contain sugar or oil.  But did you know that muesli was actually invented in the 1900s?  A doctor in Switzerland named Maximilian Bircher-Benner actually invented the now famous Muesli at his health clinic.  He originally called it “the Apple Diet Dish” as the main ingredient was chopped up apples (including the skin and seeds) and only a small amount of oats, mixed with a splash of water, lemon juice, condensed milk, honey and chopped nuts.  Instead of strictly being a breakfast food, this muesli dish was served before every meal at the clinic as he believed it to have tremendous health benefits.

In 1959 the Bicher family gave permission to a company called Somalon to alter and manufacture Birchermüesli which quickly spread to many countries in Europe and to the USA.  Muesli has only climbed in popularity since then, especially when Somalon invented a “crunchy toasted muesli” in the 1970s similar to the Americans favourite granola.

Today’s muesli is mainly made up of uncooked rolled oats, wheat flakes, rye flakes or cornflakes, dried fruits (sometimes sweetened), nuts, and seeds.  It is very popular in the western world’s rising health movement as it usually does not contain sugar and replaces our favourite “junk food” cereals.  It can be eaten on yogurt, with fruit, with milk (preferably plant milks) and on top of smoothie bowls.  It is healthy, filled with good carbohydrates, fats, and proteins and is absolutely delicious.

I hope you enjoy this delicious muesli breakfast bar recipe and leave a comment below if you give them a try!

Enjoy!

Breakfast Bars 3

Favourite Muesli Breakfast Bars (100% Plant Based)

  • Servings: 6-9
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • 1 banana (½ cup)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¾ cup rolled oats (it is important to use this type of oats)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 3-4 tbsps chocolate chips
  • 3-4 tbsps of dried cherries (sub raisins or another dried fruit)

Optional Additions:

  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Almonds (chunked or sliced)

*** I do not use any sugar in this recipe as I like it to be more of a natural trail mix taste to keep me satisfied through till lunch but if you want more of a granola bar taste you can add sweetened dried fruit, sweetened nut butter, or even mix a bit of brown sugar in with the wet ingredients to satisfy your sweet craving***

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mash banana in small bowl.
  3. Add in the almond butter (or peanut butter if you prefer), maple syrup, and vanilla in with the banana and stir until a smooth consistency is formed.
  4. Pour in rolled oats, chocolate chips, and dried cherries into the wet ingredients and mix well until a chunky texture is formed.
  5. Put parchment paper into a 9″ x 9″ pan and scoop mixture onto paper.  Use your hands (wet them before so the oat mixture doesn’t stick) or a spatula and press the oat mixture down so it is hard packed and even.
  6. Put it into the oven for 15 minutes until cooked and lightly browned.
  7. Cool on a cooling rack and then cut into 6 large bars or 9 medium sized squares.
  8. Enjoy in the morning with a smoothie or green juice or in the evening before a workout!  Cheers and Happy New Year!

 

Dreamy Almond Butter Smoothie

Creamy Almond Butter Smoothie

Almonds are the world’s most popular tree nut and luckily for us they are absolutely delicious in smoothies!

Almonds are native to the Middle East although now the USA is the largest producers of these tasty nuts which are jam-packed full of nutrients.  To further understand almonds impressive nutrient profile, this is what a one-ounce serving (28g) gives you:

  • 3.5g fiber
  • 6g protein
  • 14g fat (9g which are monounsaturated)
  • Vitamin E
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • And only 161 calories from this small handful!

Almonds are anti-inflammatory.  The antioxidants in almonds are also quite impressive which help fight aging and diseases such as cancer.  Although it is important to know that most of these powerful antioxidants come from the brown outside layer of the almond (the skin) so eating blanched almonds will not help provide you the antioxidants you’re looking for.

Also did you know that almonds also help lower rates of heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease from the amount of Vitamin E they contain protecting the body from oxidative damage.

Almonds are also a great choice for people with diabetes because they help regulate the blood sugar by being low in carbs and from the amount of healthy fats and protein they contain.  Magnesium is a mineral that is involved in hundreds of processes within the body and improves insulin function and the metabolism, so if you think that you are going to gain weight from eating almonds regularly it is actually quite the opposite.

And guess what?  If you are suffering from high cholesterol levels, almonds will be your new best friend!  They are named to be one of the top cholesterol lowering foods, so if you are at risk for heart disease, you’ll be wanting to incorporate an almond spinach smoothie into your morning routine!

I hope you enjoy this delicious nutrient dense smoothie and begin to add almonds regularly into your diet!

Dreamy Almond Butter Smoothie

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup lite canned coconut milk – carton is also good (to desired thickness)
  • 1.5 to 2 frozen bananas with 2 ice cubes or 1.5 to 2 fresh bananas with 5-6 ice cubes
  • 2-3 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

ADD ONS (OPTIONAL):

  • 1/2 – 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries or blueberries
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats

Directions

  1. Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high for 20-30 seconds.  I use my ninja blender and it blends to a very creamy consistency.
  2. Enjoy in the morning with a granola bar, breakfast muffin, or on the go!

    TIPS:  You may need to add in a bit more liquid in the form of more canned coconut milk, plant milk, or coconut water if it is too thick.  If you like it thick then you can have it in a smoothie bowl with some fresh fruit and granola on top!

Go-To Raw Cereal Bowl

Why is it important to eat fruit?

Fruit has tons of health benefits and research has shown that people who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of their regular healthy diet have lower risk of many chronic diseases and illnesses.

Fruit it full of vital nutrients for the body and overall health.  Most fruits are naturally low in sodium, fat, and calories; they also contain no cholesterol.  Fruits contain many essential nutrients that a large percentage of the western world under consume including potassium, folate (folic acid), vitamin C & A, and dietary fiber.  These nutrients reduce the risk for heart disease, obesity, type-2 diabetes and strokePotassium also helps protect you from developing kidney stones, regulates blood pressure and will keep your bones strong as you age.  Bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, honeydew, apricots, and grapefruit are all fruits to try if you are looking to increase your potassium.

Dietary fiber is found in various fruits and is key to maintaining overall health, as it helps reduce blood cholesterol levels, lowers the risk of heart disease and keeps the bowels functioning properly.  Fiber also helps you to feel full, helping you eat less and maintain a healthy weight.  Although if dietary fiber is what you are after, make sure you are eating the fruit in it’s whole food form (ie. a whole orange or orange slices) not orange juice or orange popsicles (ice lollies) which contain next to no dietary fiber.

 

Vitamin C is extremely important as well, helping your tissues to grow and repair and keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

It is important that pregnant women make sure they are getting enough fruit as well because of the folic acid it provides.  Folic acids helps produce red blood cells which helps protect babies from developing birth defects.

It is recommended to eat around 2-5 servings of fruit a day.  2 servings per day by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and 4-5 servings per day by the American Heart Association (AHA).  The general recommendation for fruit consumption is around 400g a day or 5 x 80g servings.  Each serving of fresh fruit is around 1 cup or roughly the size of a tennis ball.

Current nutrition guidelines suggest that even those with diabetes should be consuming 2-4 servings of fruit per day.  Many diabetics worry about the amount of sugar in fruit but studies have shown that when eating whole fruit with the fiber still intact (not fruit juice or sugary dried fruits) it has very little effects on blood sugar levels.

So unless you are on a strict ketogenic diet, there is really no reason you should be limiting your fruit intake.  I hope you found this information to be helpful and will try out this delicious alternative to the sugary cereals that most westerners find themselves eating in the morning.

Cereal Bowl 2

Go-To Raw Cereal Bowl

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 pink lady apples chopped
  • 1 ripe banana sliced
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsps chopped walnuts chopped
  • 1 or 2 tbsps raisins or chopped dates
  • top with any plant based milk of your choosing (I like oat milk but you may choose almond, soya, cashew, rice, or coconut)
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    EXTRA TOPPINGS:

  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1 or 2 tbsps mulberries
  • 1 passion fruit to add a wonderfully sour note to compliment the sweetness in this raw cereal bowl
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Directions

  1. Wash and chop your apples into bite sized chunks, add to your bowl.
  2. Slice banana and add to your bowl.
  3. Chop walnuts and add them to your bowl.
  4. Top with chia seeds, raisins, and any other desired toppings you may want.
  5. Pour chilled plant based milk on top and enjoy!
  6. Have with your morning coffee for a delicious, sweet, fibre rich breakfast!

Garlicky Lemon Tahini Dressing

Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds and can be used in a ton of different recipes.  It originates from North African, Greek, Iranian, Middle Eastern, and Turkish cuisine and can be used in savory or sweet dishes.  Tahini comes in two forms: hulled and unhulledUnhulled tahini is better for you as it leaves the sesame seeds intact when grinding it into a paste, keeping the nutritional value.  Hulled tahini is stripped of all it’s nutrients giving it less benefits but a smoother consistency.

Tahini is rich in many nutrients and vitamins including phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium, and iron.  It is also high in protein and calories and should be eaten in moderation or be added to recipes.  The nutrition breakdown of 2 tablespoons (tbsps) of tahini (30g) is:

  • 178 calories
  • 16.13g fat (14g of fat are monounsaturated being beneficial to heart health)
  • 6.36g carbohydrates
  • 2.8g fiber
  • 0.15g sugar
  • 5.1g protein

Tahini contains antioxidant nutrients called lignans which help support the immune system and balance the bodies hormones.  For women experiencing problematic hormone imbalances or going through menopause, tahini is a great food for you to incorporate into your diet as it contains phytoestrogens, which reduce menopause symptoms such as: hot flashes, bone loss, weakness, mood changes, and low sex drive.  Phytoestrogens may also help protect the body from cancers related to hormone production (ie. breast and ovarian cancers).

Studies have also shown that tahini helps patients with osteoarthritis because it has positive effects on oxidative stress and cholesterol levels in the body.  A study group who consumed sesame regularly reported less knee pain from their osteoarthritis and did not experience any negative side effects from the tylenol they were given.  “Because tahini contains such high levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats it also plays a role in lowering cholesterol levels protecting the heart from disease and stroke.”

The fatty acids, amino acids, and vitamins E & B in tahini all work together to help your skin stay youthful and protect against aging.  Tahini is a natural antifungal and antibacterial agent which means that it kills bacteria that are trying to clog pores.  The fats within tahini also help to keep the skin moist and bring inflammation down in the body.  If you are suffering from dry damaged skin, adding a bit of tahini to your regular diet may help.

I hope you enjoy this delicious garlicky lemon tahini dressing by adding it to your burgers, falafels, salads, avocado toast, and veggie wraps.  While taking in all the added benefits it provides.

Tahini Sauce 2

Garlicky Lemon Tahini Dressing

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup water (I prefer using warm water)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (2 garlic cloves)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

Directions

  1. Peel and mince garlic cloves (if using instead of garlic powder).
  2. Juice 1 fresh lemon, enough to get 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice.
  3. Blend all ingredients in a nutribullet or small blender cup until smooth (I use the small 300g salad dressing cups on my ninja blender).
  4. Pour over salad, burrito bowl, or potatoes and enjoy!

Epic Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberries have been named a superfood for a reason!  They are delicious, low in calories, and wildly popular.  Many people say they are their favourite fruit.

Blueberries are known for their many health benefits, being low in calories but high in nutrients.  A 1 cup serving (148g) of blueberries contains:

  • 84 Calories
  • 4g fiber
  • 15g carbohydrates
  • Vitamin C & K
  • Manganese
  • They are around 85% water

Blueberries are full of antioxidants.  Antioxidants protect the body from producing free radicals which damage your cells and contribute to cancer and aging.  These powerful berries also are known to reduce oxidative DNA damage which is natural and occurs tens of thousands of times a day in our bodies being the direct reason why we grow older.

The iron, phosphorus, calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin K are all equal components of having healthy bones.  These vitamins and minerals which are found in blueberries have been linked to strength and elasticity in bones and joints, calcium absorption, and a reduce in calcium loss.  Healthy bones are very important to be able to have a healthy, active lifestyle.

If you have high blood pressure, then blueberries are the food for you!  Studies have shown that diets rich in blueberries (therefore low in sodium) help to reduce those at risk for heart disease by lowering their blood pressure.

Blueberries are also high in vitamin C, a vitamin that helps prevent skin damage.  The vitamin C helps the collagen in the skin to reduce wrinkles and smooth out the skin.  Giving those who consume a healthy amount of fruits high in vitamin C a more youthful appearance.

Studies in animals have also shown that blueberries help increase intelligence, memory, and brain function.  Blueberries have also shown these improvements in human studies as well, one study specifically showing “nine older adults with mild cognitive impairment consumed blueberry juice every day.   After 12 weeks, they experienced improvements in several markers of brain function“.  This is partly because the antioxidants in blueberries help repair damage in the brain from oxidative stress, improving cell signalling in aging neurons.

Blueberries are a great choice of fruit for diabetics.  They are relatively low in sugar compared to most other fruit and the bioactive compounds help to control blood sugar. The “anthocyanins in blueberries also have beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism” which has been shown to prove anti-diabetic effects through both blueberry juice and extract, although it always best to consume the whole blueberry to get all the fiber benefits.

Blueberries are loaded with nutrients for the body and mind and should be a staple food in anyone’s regular diet.  They are commonly ranked one of the world’s healthiest foods and sometimes named a superfood.  They can be bought fresh, dried, frozen, freeze dried, in juice, or in form of extract and will amp up many different recipes.  Please try the lemon blueberry pancakes below and enjoy a delicious breakfast treat with antioxidant benefits.

 

Pancakes 2

Epic Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (can substitute 1 cup white and 1 cup whole wheat depending on your taste)
  • 1 banana (to be blended with 1/3 cup water (additional water)) to substitute adding sugar
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp & 1 tsp ground flax seeds to be mixed with 3 tbsps of water to for a flax egg
  • 1/2 medium lemon zest
  • 1 cup blueberries (preferably fresh, but frozen works too)
  • 2 cups plant based milk (almond/oat/soya/cashew)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (mixed with plant milk to curdle)

Directions

  1. Mix 1 tbsp ground flax with 3 tbsps water and set aside in a small bowl or cup for 5-10 minutes until the mixture forms into a gel-like consistency mimicking an egg.
  2. Mix plant milk in a bowl with lemon juice to curdle.
  3. Begin by blending your banana and 1/3 cup of water until smooth and set aside.  This can also be done by mashing a banana in a small bowl with the water until it is generally smooth (some chunks can be left depending on your taste).
  4. Next add all your dry ingredients into a bowl (the flour, baking powder, cinnamon) and mix.  Create a well in the middle of your dry ingredients.
  5. Add all your wet ingredients into a bowl (banana mixture, vanilla extract, and plant based milk) and mix until combined.
  6. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, add the flax egg and mix until it forms a thick pancake batter consistency.  It is okay if it is thicker then a usual pancake batter as this will create fluffy thick cake-like pancakes.  If you like thinner pancakes almost like crepes then you want to add more water or plant based milk.  You may need to add more water/milk if your pancake batter is becoming too thick, add 2 tbsps at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.
  7. Add the lemon zest and blueberries into the batter and give a final mix.  Remember when your pancake batter sits it will thicken so you may want to add more liquid after it sits for a while, while you are cooking the other pancakes.
  8. Scoop out 1/3 cup of batter at a time for each pancake and place in a non-stick frying pan or a regular frying pan with a spray of oil.  When the pancake is beginning to have air bubbles you can flip it to cook the other side.  Remove from heat when fully cooked and has a golden brown colour.
  9. Top with bananas, warm cooked apples, berries, maples syrup or agave (my favourite), or another desired topping and enjoy!