Every time I stroll down the cereal aisle looking for my breakfast food, attractive boxes and packs of cereals, granolas and muesli stare at me. Tough choices to make as I checked the ingredients content of several boxes. This aside, have you ever wondered what the difference between granola and muesli is? Let’s find out.
Granola vs Muesli
While both granola and muesli are made up of grains, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, granola is baked along with a sweetener and oil to bind the ingredients together, and muesli is unbaked.
Granola is always served cold, normally with milk or yoghurt, or even on its own as a healthy snack.
On the other hand, muesli can be served cold or hot. You either soak the muesli overnight in milk or fruit juice, or cook in simmering milk or water. But the easiest way to eat muesli is raw. Simply sprinkle over cold yoghurt or warm/hot bowl of oatmeal.
So, the baked granola and unbaked muesli is the main difference. Surely, you like to know more about them both. Read on…
What is in Granola
The main ingredient in granola is rolled oats though other grains such as millet and quinoa can be added. Combined with nuts, seeds and dried fruits, the mixture is then tossed with a sweetener like honey or maple syrup and fat, for instance, olive oil or butter. Both sweetener and fat act as a binding agent and once baked gives you clusters of crispy goodness.
Did you know?
Granula was invented in Dansville, New York by Dr. James Caleb Jackson at the Jackson Sanitarium, also known as Our Home on the Hillside, in 1863. The Jackson Sanitarium was a prominent health spa that operated into the early 20th century.
The company formed to sell Jackson’s cereal was known as the Our Home Granula Company.
A similar cereal was developed by John Harvey Kellogg. It too was initially known as Granula, but the name was changed to Granola to avoid legal problems with Jackson.
How to enjoy your granola?
Granola is usually stirred into milk or sprinkled over yoghurt. And since it’s already sweet, you can actually eat it straight out of the bag. On top of that, try sprinkling some onto your green salad for texture or fruits salad.
What is in Muesli
Muesli has the same dry ingredients as granola that is rolled oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruits. Since it’s not baked, sweetener and fat are not needed.
Did you know?
Muesli was created by Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner, M.D. around 1900 for patients in his hospital where a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables was an essential part of therapy. It was not originally intended as a breakfast food, but as an appetiser similar to bread and butter. Now, it is eaten as a breakfast dish (1).
How to enjoy your muesli?
There are several ways and since muesli is on the dry side compared to granola, it’s most often soaked overnight in cold milk or fruit juice such as apple or orange. This will soften the muesli and become porridge-like, commonly known as overnight oats, perfect for the morning rush.
Alternatively, muesli can be enjoyed warm by simmering in a pot of milk or water.
My way? I like warm breakfast rather than cold thus I usually stir in muesli to my bowl of morning quick cook oats or a big cup of hot Milo. This way, I get to enjoy a hearty warm breakfast with a bit of crunchiness and chewy texture at the same time.
Granola or Muesli Healthier
You may think that muesli is healthier because it does not contain sweetener and fat. Not necessarily so.
Muesli may have a fairly high sugar content if it contains dried fruit, much like granola. For this reason, a healthier option is based on the ingredients used.
Below is the comparison between 40g of branded Crunchy Oat Almond Granola and 37.5g branded Fruit Muesli.
|Total Fat (g)||6.9||2.8|
As you can see, the difference between them is about 2.5g equivalent to 1/2 teaspoon and the sugar content of muesli is 0.6g more. This is due to the dried fruits in the muesli. However, total fat is 4.1g lesser.
This is to emphasize no matter granola or muesli, choose your favourite but always check and compare the nutrition facts on the packaging. Buy what works for you.
In a Nutshell
Rolled oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruits make granola and muesli. The main difference between them is baked and unbaked.
The dry ingredients of granola are mixed with wet ingredients such as maple syrup or honey and butter or olive oil, then baked. This gives the crunchiness you desire. On the other hand, muesli is just dry ingredients thus baking is not needed.
There aren’t strict rules how you should eat your granola or muesli but it is norm granola served cold and muesli cold or hot. Both can be eaten stirred into milk or fruit juices and sprinkled onto yoghurt. I even add some to my oatmeal porridge which according to some people, that’s very wrong. Tell you what, have it your way how you enjoy your food.
When buying, it is important to read, study the nutrition facts on the packaging. Even though muesli does not contain sweeteners and fat, other ingredients can contribute to the sugar content. If sugar is your enemy, it makes it more important to read and choose your granola or muesli carefully. But in general, if you’re opting for store-bought, muesli is probably better.
Apart from that, you ought to know commercial granola and muesli contains fillers and unnecessary ingredients you and I may have difficulty pronouncing their names. For this reason, you may want to consider making your own or buy from a trusted source. All I can say for now is choose carefully.
If you like to buy granola or muesli online, consider using this affiliate link* – shop on Amazon (for US shoppers).
For my fellow Malaysian, shop on Shopee*. There’s a wide selection of muesli and granola with good reviews.
*I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This allows me to enjoy a cup of coffee while writing and share articles like this one.
Tell us in the comments section below, now that you know what the difference between granola and muesli is, which is your preference? If you have delicious ways to enjoy these, tell us too. We love trying new uncommon ways.
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Still could not figure out which to choose – granola or muesli?
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Thanks for reading.
Me YourHealthy Corner – Stay in Good Health, Healthy Eating Habits
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