Is Muesli Healthy? Tips from a Dietitian
Today we're excited to hand over the reigns to Jenna, Registered Dietitian and founder of Gorham Consulting Group, so she can share nutrition wisdom that can help us all make better breakfast choices! Without further ado...
Jenna Gorham RD, LN, founder of Gorham Consulting Group, is a registered dietitian, licensed nutritionist, and nutrition communications expert. Gorham Consulting Group specializes in improving brand awareness, connecting brands with nutrition experts, and helping brands find their nutrition voice.
Jenna believes in a wholesome and realistic approach to nutrition. She believes good health is something to prioritize but nothing to stress (or obsess) over. Jenna believes good health can be accessible to all, foods come first over supplements, and eating should be balanced, simple, and fun.
Nutrition 101: Tips from a Dietitian
The name Seven Sundays comes from the idea that we are our most mindful on Sundays. Sunday mornings are a little slower and we tend to be more intentional with our actions.
If we apply the concept of mindfulness and intention to food and eating behavior, we can see numerous benefits in both our physical and emotional health. You can improve cholesterol levels and metabolism, manage your weight to a natural and healthy set point, reduce stress, be more in tune with your hunger and fullness, and even enjoy food more.
Being more intentional and mindful with food choices allows us to pay attention to how much we eat as well as how foods make us feel. We begin to realize that whole foods and real ingredients really do leave us feeling our best.
Below you will find concrete tips for selecting healthier breakfast options. As you choose what to eat, keep in mind how your food choices will make you feel and eat your breakfast mindfully and with intention.
Components of a Healthy Breakfast
A Note on Carbs
Carbs are neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad,’ but breakfast is often a carb heavy meal. Depending on the type of carb, they can keep you feeling full for hours or leave you feeling hungry shortly after.
Easy to digest carbs that are found in white breads, pastries, or sugary cereals will quickly spike your blood sugar giving you a quick boost of energy. Because these carbs are digested quickly, your blood sugar will drop shortly after eating, leaving you feeling hungry and tired.
By pairing carbohydrates with nutrients that take longer to digest (fiber, protein, and fats) this can delay the drop in blood sugar and provide a more prolonged source of energy, keeping you full for the next few hours. This is one of the reasons that whole grains (like oats) can be a more nutritious option than processed white flours. Oats and other whole grains offer more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than processed white grains. Read more about the health benefits of oats, where Seven Sundays sources their oats from, and their sustainability efforts here.
What is a Calorie?
A calorie is a form of energy. Our bodies need calories to perform general daily functioning. This includes things like breathing, a beating heart, digestion, driving your car, thinking, reading, and so on.
Calorie needs vary, but the average person requires about 1500-2000 calories each day. Depending on your eating patterns and daily schedule, this means you could choose to have more than 500 calories per meal and still fall within your body’s daily needs. Start with a serving of muesli and add your favorite toppings or sides to satisfy your hunger. Add milk, fresh fruit, or a dash of maple syrup.
The key here is that not all calories are equal and the quality of calories matters when it comes to a healthful eating pattern. Low calorie products are not always the best choice. They are often filled with artificial ingredients or artificial sweeteners and can leave you feeling hungry shortly after.
Rather than choosing food based on calorie content, focus on your hunger and fullness and choose products based on wholesome, real ingredients, and satisfying nutrients like fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
The Key Three: Fiber, Protein, Fat
Fiber is the part of a plant or carbohydrate that cannot be digested. Fiber is beneficial for heart health and has been shown to help improve LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation. In addition it helps digestive health, weight management, and can help to control blood sugar levels.
Because fiber moves through the digestive tract slower than other carbohydrates, it can help to increase bulk and absorb liquid in your digestive system. This makes it a more filling nutrient and can help keep you satisfied for the next few hours.
Most people do not consume enough fiber. Women should aim to get at least 25 grams of fiber per day and men should aim to get at least 38 grams per day. To increase your fiber intake, include more whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
Protein has many roles in the body. It builds and repairs tissues, provides cell structure, aids in chemical reactions and processes, and boosts the immune system. Your body can only use about 30 grams of protein at one time, making it important to space out your protein intake over the course of the day.
The reason I look for protein at breakfast is because, like fiber, it can help to slow the digestion of easy to digest carbs. Like fiber, protein is a filling nutrient and will help to keep you full until lunch.
Like protein and fiber, fat is also digested slowly and increases satiety. Seven Sundays Muesli contains 12-13 grams of fat in the grain free flavors and 6-8 grams in the traditional flavors.
These fats come from the healthy plant based ingredients (mostly nuts and seeds!) like coconut, almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, pecans, and pistachios. The fats from these types of foods will leave you feeling much better than fats found in highly processed or fried meals.
Health means something different to everyone. Your goals and preferences probably differ from your friends' and family's. The healthiest habits are those that are consistent, sustainable, and appropriate for you. Use the guidelines above and the Seven Sundays message to be more intentional and choose foods that work best for you and your health goals.
In a nutshell: