Have you ever heard the word “Hangry”? It’s “so hungry you’re angry.” Any mother of small kids is familiar with this concept, but for me it’s not limited to my kids. When my blood sugar gets low, I get irritable and cranky, short tempered and snappish. In short, I get hangry. Which is why I never understand those people who don’t eat breakfast. Aside from all that chipper nutritionist talk of breakfast being the most important meal of the day, if I haven’t eaten something in 12 hours I am seriously hangry. Breakfast is essential, and I try to actually make it healthful as well.
Unfortunately, my mornings these days aren’t really lending themselves to my fantasy breakfast (which involves sunshine and balconies and piles of fresh fruit and bowls of coffee and warm milk). I get up at an ungodly hour of the morning, drink coffee, gather supplies for the day, dress, wake, change and feed the baby, and hit the road while it is still an ungodly hour of the morning. So breakfast has to be on the go.
This summer I discovered Bircher Muesli (a/k/a Oats in a Jar, or Overnight Oats). I love oatmeal, but it’s too hot in the summer (and fall) here to really enjoy it, plus I don’t have time to make a bowl of hot oatmeal every morning. Bircher muesli is not oatmeal, and it’s not Mueslix — that breakfast cereal from the 80’s which was not that dissimilar from eating sawdust. I’d describe it more as a cold oatmeal. Only more delicious and easier to make. Oats are soaked overnight in liquid until they become soft and chewable. There’s dried fruit involved, and usually yogurt, because it is European. (A glance at the yogurt aisle in any French supermarche will give you an idea of how much Europeans love their yogurt.) It gives you a ton of fiber, protein from the oats, milk, nuts, seeds and yogurt, and whole grains to satisfy. But the best part is how easy it is to make. I mix up a big jar Sunday night, then each weekday morning I’ll grab a smaller jar, add some yogurt, and take a piece of fruit to slice over the top. When I’ve completed the morning routine and commute and dropoffs, I sit down at my desk with my muesli and a cappuccino from the kitchen, briefly fantasize about sundrenched balconies, and get to work, no longer hangry.
- 1.5 cups steel cut oats (you can use regular oats, but they get softer. I prefer steel cut.)
- 1.5 cups milk
- 1 cup juice or coconut water (I usually use apple juice or coconut water)
- 2 Tablespoons - ¼ cup nuts (I like sliced almonds - the amount you use is up to taste and how big the nut pieces are)
- ¼ cup dried fruit (I go for dried strawberries)
- 1 Tablespoon Chia seeds (optional -- I had some and this is the only application I've found where I actually like them and welcome the texture)
- Plain yogurt and fresh fruit
- In a large mason jar, combine the oats, milk, juice, nuts and fruit. Let soak overnight, and serve topped with yogurt and fresh fruit.