Breakfast is a wonderful option to start the day. It is, in fact, the best way to provide our body with essential nutrients and energy that it will need later in the morning. While it is true – by the way – as more and more nutritionists are saying, it is a fallacy that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”.
However, it is one hundred percent advisable to eat breakfast, because our body has spent a long period of fasting in our sleep, so if we don’t eat even a little after we wake up we are likely to feel lethargic or fatigued within a few hours, especially if we don’t tend to eat anything in the morning either.
When it comes to what could be the perfect breakfast, there is no doubt that the most important thing is that the breakfast is balanced and as healthy as possible. In this sense, it is highly advisable to opt for fresh fruit, wholemeal cereals and dairy products (if desired). Obviously, we have not mentioned cookies or typical breakfast cereals on this occasion.
The reason could be more than clear: cookies are not at all suitable, since they provide sugars and fats (which in many cases are saturated, since refined oils tend to be used in their preparation). Whereas, in the case of the usual breakfast cereals, they contain a very large amount of sugars, which does not compensate for the benefits that in theory they would provide.
Therefore, the best option is always to have whole grains, which stand out for their contribution in complex carbohydrates (that is, they provide us with energy slowly and do not cause glucose peaks in the blood), are rich in fibre and also provide B-group vitamins and minerals.
And, within the cereals that we could enjoy at breakfast we find two wonderful options: the muesli and the granola. But what do they consist of? Are they the same food? It is common for many people to confuse them, but in reality they are very different. Here’s why.
What is muesli? And granola? How are they different?
Some things in common
There is no doubt that both muesli and granola become an excellent option for both breakfast and snacks. This is one of the main things they have in common.
Both options are made from grain-based cereals, to which fruit (the most common are apple, coconut or grapes, especially in their dehydrated or dried version) and nuts (usually flaked almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts) are added.
This is in addition to the various nutritional benefits they provide, since both options stand out for their contribution of complex carbohydrates, vitamins (mainly from the B group), and an extremely interesting amount of fibre.
However, they also have one negative point in common: we must be careful with the products we find in most supermarkets (as we will see in detail in a later section).
Granola is a food made of oat flakes, nuts and other dried fruits, mixed with honey or oil and finally baked. In this way, you get a crispy, toasted breakfast.
To achieve this, during cooking in the oven the mixture of oat flakes, nuts and honey is mixed and stirred in order to maintain its typical consistency. In this way we avoid that it gets sticky.
Since cereals and fruits are toasted with honey or oil, it has a higher amount of sugars and calories, compared to muesli.
It was originally created by the American doctor James Caleb Jackson in 1863, and at that time it was called “granula”.
And what is muesli?
On the other hand, muesli is a combination of oats and other whole grains with fruit and nuts. It is also common to add rye and wheat germ. Among the fruits it is common to choose apple and grape, and among the nuts – and dried fruits – nuts, hazelnuts and raisins.
The main difference with granola is that muesli is not originally toasted or baked, although it is possible to do so (like the delicious crunchy muesli we talked about earlier).
In any case, from a nutritional point of view, it provides a lower amount of sugars and fats.
Its main differences, in summary
Granola is a combination of oat flakes (or other cereals), fruits, nuts and honey, roasted in the oven.
Muesli has a softer and finer texture, as it is made from raw cereals, not roasted in the oven.
Some aspects to take into account
We must be careful with most muesli and granola products we find in supermarkets, as many of them contain an incredibly large amount of sugars. Moreover, in the case of granola, as it is made with oil it can contain refined oils.
Therefore, the first thing we must do is read the label of the product we are going to buy, and find out about the ingredients it contains. If we look at its composition, ingredients such as sugar, glucose syrup, refined sunflower oil, palm oil… The best thing is to discard it.
So, what to do? Without a doubt, the best way is to make our own muesli or granola at home, using 100% natural ingredients. Or we can look at the options we buy and choose only the healthiest ones.
This article is published for information purposes only. It cannot and should not substitute for consultation with a Nutritionist. We advise you to consult your trusted Nutritionist.