I often don’t feel like having breakfast, but one preparation is very easy to do at home, never fails to taste delicious and is quite filling, light and easily-digested.
Yoghurt, simply whipped with a fork and tossed with any array of available nutritive toppings, from raisins to nuts, seeds, wheat germ and fruits, does the trick.
Add a drizzle of molasses, and you have one of the best meals whose ingredients literally constitute ‘food for thought’.
Molasses, which is a prime ingredient in this breakfast, is extracted from sugar cane. Unlike refined white sugar, molasses is replete with an array of brain-building minerals and vitamins of the ‘B’ group that are important for the nerves and brain. One tablespoon of molasses contains three times the iron found in an egg, and more calcium than a glass of milk.
The more nutritive type of molasses, which is unfortunately not readily available in the Egyptian market, is called blackstrap molasses.
These are the dark viscous molasses which reside after the maximum extraction of sugar from raw sugar cane. Blackstrap molasses contain more mineral and vitamin content than the lighter kind. But even one tablespoon of regular molasses contains a substantial amount of iron and calcium.
In leafing through one of my favourite books on nutrition called ‘Brain Food: The Essential Guide to Boosting your Brain Power’ by Lorraine Perretta (Hamlyn, 2004), I found a more elaborate version of my yoghurt breakfast concoction under the title ‘Molasses with Muesli and Thick Yoghurt’.
Here is my adapted version of this recipe, the main variation being in the amounts used to prepare it, and the fact that it is eaten fresh and not baked in the oven, as prescribed in the book.
Yoghurt with Molasses, Nuts, Seeds and Fruits
Two to three 105 gramme containers of yoghurt (the individual cartons available in the Egyptian market).
1 tbsp crushed unsalted almonds.
2 tsp wheat germ (this is available in Egypt, readily packed and sold under local brand names).
1 quarter tsp ground cinnamon.
1 tsp sesame seeds.
1 tsp sunflower seeds.
1 tsp pumpkin seeds.
1 and a half tsp clear white honey.
2 teaspoons raisins.
A dash of ground flaxseeds.
Any sliced fruit of choice, preferably bananas, apples or pineapple since these contain more filling fibre and relatively less sugar than other kinds of fruits.
This is a mixture of brain and heart, healthy cereals and seeds mixed with yoghurt and molasses.
The benefits of what I like to call ‘my favourite breakfast’ reside in its powerful array of calcium, minerals, vitamins and fibre. This combination satisfies the appetite (and tastes delicious) while at the same time keeping blood sugar levels in check. The nuts and seeds in the mixture Omega 6, and Omega 3 fatty acids are vital, not only for the health of nerve and brain cells but for cardiovascular health as well.
The calcium in the yoghurt and molasses, along with the high-fibre fruit (such as bananas or apples) together with the seeds, wheat germ and cereal constitutes an energy-boosting, low-glycemic meal. This last property, that foods should be high in fibre and hence low on the ‘glycemic index’, is a very important element in any good breakfast. Low-glycemic foods help keep blood levels in check throughout the morning. This protects one from the sudden feelings of fatigue that occur when the blood sugar rapidly spikes and then goes down.
This yoghurt-molasses-seeds hybrid is an ideal breakfast for people who do not want to eat heavily in the morning yet need to be active, not only physically but also engaging in ‘brain work’ such as writing, studying, or doing any creative activity.