Monday, October 11, 2010

Fat-fighting Strategy

I'm a huge fan of breakfast, and it's almost always my healthiest meal of the day.
New evidence supports the idea that eating the right sorts of things at the start of your day can rev up your body to be a fat-burning machine for hours afterward. A key to getting those benefits is to work in a brisk walk or other exercise around lunchtime.

According to Eating Well Magazine, "eating a breakfast made with “slow-release” carbohydrates, such as oatmeal or bran cereal, three hours before you exercise may help you burn more fat, suggests a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition. Here’s why: in the study eating “slow-release” carbohydrates didn’t spike blood sugar as high as eating refined carbohydrates, such as white toast. In turn, insulin levels didn’t spike as high and because insulin plays a role in signaling your body to store fat, having lower levels may help you burn fat."

Here's a recipe that has all the right stuff. Make a batch tonight -- or whenever you have all the ingredients on hand and time to do so -- and have it around for several breakfasts to come.

Recipe: Scandinavian Muesli (Makes 6-8 servings)

Serve this Scandinavian cereal with low-fat yogurt or nonfat milk to start your day off with whole grains and some protein and calcium-rich dairy. You can substitute any combination of chopped dried or fresh fruit for the raisins—apricots, apples, figs, cherries or cranberries would all be delicious. Try walnuts or hazelnuts instead of the almonds if you like. Ground flaxseeds stirred in at the end provide a boost of heart-healthy omega-3s. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


  • 2 cups old-fashioned or quick-cooking (not instant) rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup rye flakes, or wheat flakes (see Note)
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped almonds, (1 3/4 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons flaked coconut, (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup flaxseeds, ground (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Spread oats and rye (or wheat) flakes on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Stir in almonds and coconut; bake until the oats are fragrant, about 8 minutes. Turn off the oven. Stir raisins into the muesli.
  2. Microwave honey for 10 seconds in a glass measuring cup. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon; drizzle over the muesli and stir to coat. Return the muesli to the turned-off warm oven and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Stir in flaxseeds, if using.

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