Porridge, oatmeal, granola, muesli, what’s the difference?

Unlike granola, muesli or musli is not as widespread in Canada as it is in Europe, especially in Switzerland or Germany. However, it has different nutritional benefits and different tastes than granola does. We often find it hard to tell the difference between muesli, porridge and granola, so here is everything you need to know about this other cereal and its many benefits.

What is Granola?

Beginning in 1863, James Caleb Jackson, a nutritionist and spa director, sold a product called “Granula”, which was crumbled whole wheat flour that was cooked twice. John Harvey Kellogg, a famous nutritionist who would later invent corn flakes, launched a similar product under the same name in 1878, which was later renamed “Granola” for legal reasons.

Today, what we call “granola”, or sometimes “crispy muesli”, is presented as a mixture of golden baked cereals. Granola is made through a process which consists of adding more sugar (granulated sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc.) compared to other cereals in order to obtain a crunchy texture and a golden hue. Granola is usually consumed cold.

Porridge, groats, oatmeal.

Porridge or oatmeal consists of ground oats mixed with hot water or milk. It has existed since the dawn of time, so to speak, since it dates to at least around 4000 B.C.E. It has probably stuck around so long because it is such a useful recipe, as it not only makes oats easier to digest, but it also costs almost nothing to prepare but is still very nutritious.

Oatmeal is very popular in Germany, in particular, which has given us the term “groats” (from grütze, “hulled grain”). In Canada, the term “oatmeal” is used to refer to traditional porridge made from oats cooked with milk or water and sweetened with sugar, honey or maple syrup. There are dozens of different porridge traditions from countries around the world. Today, porridge, groats, or oatmeal, whatever you want to call it, takes all sorts of forms and can be eaten cold or hot, sweet or savoury, with of other types of grains, legumes, dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, spices, and many other ingredients.

What is Muesli?

Unlike granola, muesli is a blend of raw grains, nuts and dried fruit which can be eaten cold, with dairy or non-dairy milk. It can also be prepared by adding yogurt, compote, and/or fruit juice, or it can be eaten hot, just like oatmeal.

The original muesli recipe is for uncooked oatmeal. Developed by the Swiss doctor Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner in the 1900s, oats are soaked for 12 hours in cold water before adding one tablespoon of lemon juice, one tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk, and 200g of grated whole apples, all sprinkled with a tablespoon of hazelnuts or grated almonds. This recipe was inspired by the diet of a shepherd living in the mountains with whom the doctor had shared a meal. Since then, muesli has been a success!

What can explain the success of Muesli?

Although it is often eaten as a light dinner, particularly in Switzerland, its country of origin, muesli has carved out a special place on the breakfast shelves here in Canada. This is for many reasons: it has a delicate taste which can be more or less sweet depending on the recipe, it is easily customizable, it is rich in macro and micronutrients, and, thanks to its high fibre content, it can regulate hunger, weight gain and digestive issues.

Muesli is ideal for a healthy and high-quality breakfast because it is rich in complex carbohydrates which, unlike simple sugar, are absorbed slowly by the body. As a result, they provide energy over a longer period of time. Muesli is also rich in soluble and insoluble fibre, which contributes to healthy digestion.

The basic components of muesli are often cereal flakes (oats, corn, rye, wheat…), nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, etc.), dried fruits (apples, apricots, bananas…), all usually accompanied by fruit juice, yogurt or milk (whether animal or non-dairy).

These food groups provide the body with important macro and micronutrients as well as the fibre necessary for good digestion. Muesli’s complex carbohydrates provide energy, nuts and dairy provide calcium and protein, and fruit provides vitamins, minerals and trace elements.

But is Muesli really healthy?

Rich in good carbohydrates and fibres, but also in nutrients such as vitamins B1, B2, B6 and E, and in minerals like magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and zinc, muesli is considered a nutritious blend and is often recommended for athletes. However, muesli can also contain ingredients that do not exactly correspond to a healthy lifestyle. Some commercial blends may contain too much sugar, making them calorie bombs.

The layman will not detect certain sugars at first glance. Words in ingredient lists that end with –ose: dextrose, glucose, sucrose, and fructose, for example, often refer to sugar. Maltodextrin, barley malt extract and glucose syrup also contain sugar. However, these sugars are added to the good carbohydrates naturally present in grains, which reduces their nutritional benefit.

What about La Fourmi’s Müska cereal?

At La Fourmi, we decided to get the most out of muesli. We didn’t want to offer bland rabbit food 😊 or calorie bombs with no nutritional value. As always, our goal is to create recipes that feed your body and soul!

Müska is an innovative Muesli recipe which is blended with our Dukkah Brunch. For the muesli base, we use a blend of whole grains: oats, rye and spelt, which provide a healthy and hearty base. Our Dukkah Brunch is a mixture of almonds, sesame seeds and maple syrup, enhanced with cinnamon and a hint of salt. Finally, you will find the star ingredients of our signature flavours: AphrodisiacVitalityNatural, and, coming soon: Tonic, Divine, and Zen.

Müska will delight your taste buds and your desire for good nutrition, with up to 88%* less sugar than our Grand Granola recipes! You can enjoy it as muesli or soaked in milk for a creamy oatmeal with no cooking required, just like in this apples oatmeal recipe.

*For the Natural blend.

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