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Muesli Vs Granola – Which Is Healthiest?

Maria Foster
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by Maria Foster

You may be sick of hearing it but breakfast is the most important meal of the day – something instilled into us since we were young. 

The perfect way to start off your day is with a healthy and nutritious breakfast. Health experts all across the world recommend eating foods such as fruits, cereal, eggs, and milk. 

Muesli Vs Granola – Which Is Healthiest?

After waking up in the morning after a restful sleep, your body has been experiencing something of a ‘fast’. Therefore, you need to ‘break this fast’’ with healthy foods to power you through the day. 

If you’re starting your day with fatty or oily foods that are packed with added sugars, you’re not providing your body with the necessary nutrients that will keep you fuelled to lunch. 

When it comes to healthy breakfast options, you’ll want something that is equally nutritious as it is convenient and simple to whip up. 

This leads many people to look towards mueslis and granolas as viable options. 

With this in mind, this guide will explore everything you need to know about muesli and granola and which option is the healthiest. 

Let’s get started. 

What Is Muesli?

Muesli is a combination of nuts, whole grains, dried fruits, and seeds. The mixture of ingredients is then soaked overnight in water or milk so it can be ready to eat when you wake up. 

This can be eaten cold or you can simmer muesli in water or milk on the stove to create a warm porridge. Some whole grains in muesli include cornflakes and raw oats. 

In addition to this, you may find seeds and nits, too, consisting of almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds. 

Some popular dried fruits include cherries, cranberries, and apricots. 

What Is Granola?

Granola can be eaten both as a snack food and for breakfast. It is made using a combination of rolled, old-fashioned oats, and sweeteners (including brown sugar or honey) that is then baked. 

There are a ton of different granola recipes, each containing a unique range of mix-ins – some of the most popular include nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate. 

Granola tends to have a loose texture that is similar to breakfast cereal. It is then served with yogurt, milk, or simply with fresh fruit. 

When you layer granola with fruit and yogurt in a tall glass, it is known as a parfait – a popular dessert item. 

You can also press granola with corn syrup or honey to create granola bars. These can be made and eaten during outdoor activities, such as backpacking, hiking, and camping since they can be easily packed and don’t require refrigeration. 

Granola Origins

You may be surprised to learn that it wasn’t Fruit Loops that launched the giant cereal brand, Kellogg’s, onto everyone’s radar. 

According to The New York Times Magazine, Dr. James Caleb Jackson first invented granola in 1863. He used a water and graham flour mixture which he baked twice and then broke into small, brittle pieces which were only edible when soaked in milk overnight. 

It was originally referred to as “granula” and was created to treat patients staying at Dr. Jackson’s New York-based sanitarium as a sort of nutritional supplement. 

Not long after, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg created his own “granula” version in his Michigan sanitarium using a combination of oatmeal and wheat flour as opposed to graham flour. 

Various Food Historians believe that the two doctors were most likely inspired by the German hardtack, rusks, or zwieback – a type of bread that is baked twice and only eaten when softened with liquid, this was used by soldiers. 

Despite sharing a common source of inspiration, Dr. Kellogg received a lawsuit from Dr. Jackson for his “granula”. 

From here, all Kellogg did was switch a vowel in the cold cereal to give it a new name: granola. 

Muesli Origins

Muesli was invented in the late 1800s by a Swiss doctor. The breakfast cereal is not as popular in North America as it is in Europe. 

It is made using rolled eats – that said, it can be made with other whole grains like millet or quinoa – as well as a combination of dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. 

Since you don’t have to bake the cereal, there is no need for oils or added sweeteners to bind the ingredients together. 

There are many ways you can enjoy muesli. Typically, it is soaked overnight in cold milk or in other types of liquid, such as orange or apple juice to soften it up to form a porridge-like consistency (similar to overnight oats). 

Alternatively, it can be cooked on a stovetop like oatmeal. Here, all you have to do is toss it in a pot of simmering water or milk to enjoy it warm. 

Likewise, you can simply enjoy it when stirred into yogurt – just remember that it will have a chewier texture like granola since it is raw. 

Benefits Of Oats

Oats are some of the most nutritious and healthiest whole grains. Plus, they are also gluten-free and can help achieve weight loss goals. 

They are great for maintaining heart health, lowering blood sugar levels, and reducing cholesterol. 

Below, we have outlined some benefits of oatmeal and oats:

  • Whole grain oats are packed with anti-inflammatory plant chemical compounds and antioxidants. 
  • Oats also provide a well-balanced source of dietary fiber, complex carbohydrates, plant-based proteins, and healthy lipids. They contain a higher nutritional value than most other types of cereal grains. 
  • They are great for your heart health and can help lower cholesterol. 
  • Oats contain both insoluble and soluble fiber, such as dietary fiber and beta-glucan. 
  •  A portion of oats can appease your appetite and keep you feeling fuller for longer – a healthy option for anyone looking to lose weight. 
  • They can even improve your blood sugar control since they reduce insulin levels. 

What Is The Difference Between Granola And Muesli?

Muesli Vs Granola – Which Is Healthiest?
  • Granola tends to contain chunks or clusters of nuts and oats stuck together as a result of the baking process. On the other hand, the consistency of muesli is much more dry and loose. 
  • The main difference between the oat breakfasts is that granola is baked using sweeteners and oils, whereas muesli is generally eaten raw. That said, both contain a combination of nuts, seeds, and oats. 
  • Some packed mueslis tend to be packed with added sugars. Therefore, these may have a higher calorie content than homemade granola. 
  • Plus, granola is known to have more calories when compared to muesli as a result of the additional fat (butter/ oil) as well as sweeteners. That said, the calorie content is entirely dependent on the ingredients used. 
  • When purchasing muesli or granola from the store, make sure you’re reading the nutritional label. 

Which Is More Nutritious?

When looking at the nutritional value of granola and muesli; this is entirely dependent on the ingredients found in the bag you purchase. Therefore, it is difficult to determine which one is healthier. 

Granola and muesli both contain beta-glucans as a result of the oats. This is a type of fiber that helps regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Plus, it aids with weight loss, too. 

However, there are a few different factors you’ll want to keep in mind when eating these two breakfast cereals. 

For instance, since muesli isn’t baked like granola, it typically doesn’t contain any sweeteners and has a lower carbohydrate, sugar, and calorie content when compared to granola. 

However, this isn’t enough to give muesli an edge since it is still high in dried fruits. While these can be considered healthy, they must be eaten in moderation. 

Plus, muesli is made up of raw oats which, when not soaked in liquid, contain high amounts of antinutrient phytic acid. 

It is also important to keep in account that granola is generally eaten as a topping while muesli is eaten as a main ingredient – causing a significant difference in portion sizing. 

Any benefits of muesli containing lower calories, carbohydrates, and sugar content may be lost when you consider the serving sizes of granola. 

Typically, 28 to 56 grams of granola will contain 7 to 15 grams of sugar per serving, while 43-65 grams of muesli will typically contain 11 to 16.5 grams of sugar. 

Which Is Healthier?

Since both cereals are oat-based, granola and muesli contain healthy beta-glucans. 

Beta-glucans are the main fiber component in oats. They are also soluble, meaning they create a gel when combined with water. Lowering blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels, improving gut health, and promoting weight loss are just some of the benefits. 

Likewise, both these cereals contain seeds and nuts, which are known to provide heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs and MUFAs) that prevent the risk of heart disease. 

Having said that, both granola and muesli have their downsides, too. 

Firstly, added sweeteners, including syrup or honey, significantly increase the sugar content found in granola. 

Likewise, while muesli isn’t usually sweetened, you can purchase some sweetened brands from the grocery store. 

Furthermore, dried fruits – a key component found in many products – increase the sugar content further. 

This should be kept in mind since an excessive sugar content – regardless of where it comes from – can increase your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and excess weight. 

Secondly, raw oats found in muesli are a source of phytic acid. This is an antinutrient that binds minerals such as iron and zinc – impacting their absorption abilities. 

That said, since muesli is traditionally soaked in milk, water, or juice – it significantly reduces the phytic acid in the oats and improves the absorption of minerals. 

Muesli Vs Granola For Weight Loss

While both options are healthy breakfast items, if you’re looking to lose weight, then muesli is the most nutritious choice for you. 

Muesli is slightly healthier than granola since you can cut out extra sugars and fats. 

On the other hand, granola contains both oil and sweeteners – increasing your caloric intake. Muesli contains fewer calories and low sugar levels. 

The sweetness found in muesli is a result of the dried fruits – making it a more nutritious and healthier option. 

Opting for a breakfast of muesli can aid in weight loss by keeping calories low – while, at the same time, ensuring a sense of fullness thanks to the high fiber content of whole grains and fruits. 

Considerations To Make Before Purchasing Granola Or Muesli

Muesli Vs Granola – Which Is Healthiest?

When you’re purchasing a box of cereal from the grocery store, there are a few different things that you’ll want to be on the lookout for – especially when it comes to granola containing sweeteners. 

Firstly, you’ll want to scan the back of the box for the ingredients list to make sure there aren’t any added sugars such as maltose, dextrose, and corn syrup solids, to name a few. 

You should also keep in mind that the higher the ingredient is on the list, the higher the content will be in the bag. 

When you’re purchasing muesli, it is easier to find ones that don’t contain any sweeteners at all as opposed to granola. 

If you’re looking to keep your sugar content down, then you’ll want to avoid granola and muesli that contain additional sources of sugar from ingredients such as chocolate and candied fruits. 

You’ll also want to consider any dietary restrictions you may have since both granola and muesli tend to tick most allergen boxes. For instance, containing seeds, nuts, grains, and sometimes even dairy. 

Likewise, you’ll want to keep an eye out for any amount of trans fat or high amounts of saturated fats – for instance, oil – since these are bad for your cholesterol level. These are especially prominent in granola. 

Likewise, you can even consider making your own muesli in the comfort of your home. Remember, you don’t even have to bake muesli! 

All you have to do is throw all your ingredients into a bowl and you’re done. When it comes to granola, you can whip it up in as little as 15 minutes – great options for anyone in a time crunch. 

Muesli And Granola Nutritional Content

Calories per serving in granola:

  • Per 50g – 210 kcal.

Macros in granola:

  • Fat – 7.1g 
  • Saturates – 2.5g 
  • Sugars – 8.1g 
  • Salt – 0.1g

Calories per serving in muesli:

  • Per 50g – 183 kcal. 

Macros in muesli:

  • Fat – 3.1g
  • Saturates – 0.5g 
  • Sugars – 6.8g
  • Salt – 0.1g

Final Thoughts

Two of the most popular breakfast options: granola and muesli are known for being a healthy way to start your day. Although, which one is healthier?

When it comes to determining the healthiness of these breakfast cereals, it is entirely dependent on the additional contents. 

That said, muesli tends to be slightly healthier since it doesn’t require any additional sweeteners or oils to bind the oats together. 

Hopefully, this guide has informed you on everything you need to know about muesli and granola.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Best Brands Of Muesli?

On Amazon, the best-selling brand of muesli is Low Carb Keto Vanilla + Strawberry Nut Granola Mix. 

Keto is becoming increasingly popular and has undoubtedly influenced the ranking and sales of this type of muesli. 

For instance, when you look at ratings, you can see that the clear winner is the long-standing muesli from Bob’s Red Mill. 

In particular, this is their Old Country Style Muesli Cereal which is considered to taste delicious both cold and hot. 

In the middle of these two products is the HighKey Keto Granola. This has been marketed as being Keto friendly and it has certainly stood the test of time with over 1000 ratings. 

With an average rating of 4.5 stars, it is clear that this product leaves customers satisfied. 

What Are The Best Brands Of Granola?

The Safe + Fair Food Company is known for exceeding allergen-free claims made by various companies. 

They offer a range of granolas free from the top nine allergens including tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, eggs, fish, milk, sesame, and shellfish. 

Plus, the grains don’t contain any GMOs and consist of plant-based ingredients and ancient grains. 
This top-ranking granola is known for containing a wonderful, light texture thanks to its addition of millet and fluffy brown rice.

It remains as crunchy as other types of traditional granola! Don’t be skeptical of your granola containing rice – give it a try, and you’re sure to even surprise yourself. 

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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