Mixed Berry & Granola Yogurt Parfait
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Currently, this is my breakfast almost every morning. If not for breakfast, I have a smaller version as a snack.
How lucky am I? Okay minus the chocolate. That's only on special occasions. I just thought it made the picture look prettier.
And can it get anymore wholesome?
Homemade muesli or granola like these recipes:
Crunchy Pecan & Cranberry Muesli (pictured here), or
Delicious vanilla soy yogurt
Fresh or frozen berries, including strawberry and raspberries
Ground flax seeds sprinkled on top
Now that I mentioned flax seeds, let's talk about omega-3 fats.
Omega-3 is a long, complex and still widely debated topic. To avoid turning this post into an essay, I'll give you a super abbreviated version here. I'll also be writing a more thorough article on the topic which I will link here when finished.
Dietitian's definition: omega-3 fats are the raw building material for the brain, nervous system, and cell membranes. They work favourably in the body with a whole bunch of essential processes like enhancing cell signalling, and they also help to prevent a wide range of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and several types of cancer. In short: it's important stuff.
There are three kinds of omega-3 fats to know about:
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
Eicosapentanaenoic acid (EPA)
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
The one our bodies really need is ALA. We can then use ALA to make DHA and EPA. There are two problems though:
The conversion process is not efficient
Vegans don't get enough DHA/EPA from food because they don't eat fish or omega-enriched eggs
So to cut to the chase, this means the amount of ALA vegans need is about double the amount recommended for non-vegans. The suggested amounts for vegans are:
2.2 g ALA per day for women
3.2 g ALA per day for men
Here's a little summary of food sources:
Flaxseed oil, 1 Tb: 7.3 g ALA
Chia seeds, 2 Tb: 4 g ALA
Ground flax seeds, 2 Tb: 3.2 g ALA
Walnuts, 1/4 cup: 2.6 g ALA
Hempseed oil, 1 Tb: 2.5 g ALA
Canola oil, 1 Tb: 1.3 g ALA
Hempseeds, 2 Tb: 1.7 g ALA
Dietitian's recommendation: use ground flax seeds instead of whole flax seeds, given that whole flax seeds pass through the digestive system largely unabsorbed.
To summarize: include a high dietary ALA source daily. Whole food sources are preferable from ground flax seeds chia seeds, hempseed and walnuts, followed by the oils of these products. Supplementing is likely not necessary, although it does effectively boost omega-3 fat in the blood; a microalgae capsule that offers 200 - 300 mg DHA 2-3x/week should suffice if you choose to take it. If you want to learn more about omega 3- read our detailed article here.
Now... more pretty pictures:
Have you had your intake of ALA today?
Mixed Berry & Granola Breakfast Parfait
▸ ▹ Vegan, gluten-free
Yield: 1 serving Prep Time: 5 min Total Time: 5 min
1/4 cup (30 g) Crunchy Pecan & Cranberry Muesli (or other muesli of your choice)
1/2 cup (125 mL) soy yogurt (or other plant yogurt)
1 ripe banana, sliced
1/4 cup (75 g) frozen strawberries and raspberries, defrosted
1 Tbsp (7 g) ground flax seeds
1 tsp (5 g) pumpkin seeds (optional garnish)
coconut flakes (optional garnish)
Place the frozen berries in the microwave for about 60 seconds or until defrosted while you prepare your other ingredients, or use fresh berries instead. Layer ingredients in a cup or bowl, and enjoy!
*Or use any plant-based granola or muesli you desire.
Nutrition Tip: purchase a calcium-fortified yogurt. Check the label and aim for a product that offers about 100 mg calcium per 100 mL or 100 g serving.
Variations: add your own desired fresh/frozen/dried fruit, nuts and/or seeds.
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