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

Unlike granola, muesli or musli is not as widespread in Canada as in Europe, especially in Switzerland or Germany. However, it presents nutritional and gustatory interests different from those of granola. 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 multi-benefit cereal type.

What is Granola?

Beginning back 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 and later inventor of corn flakes, launched a similar product under the same name, on the market 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. A process which consists in adding more sugars (granulated sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc.) compared to other cereals in order to obtain a crunchy texture. Granola is usually consumed cold.

Porridge, groats, oatmeal.

Porridge or oatmeal is a traditional preparation of oatmeal mixed with hot water or milk. It has existed since the dawn of time, so to speak, since it appeared around 4,000 years before our era. We can say that it really is a useful preparation considering it facilitates the digestion of cereals and because it is a poor man’s meal which costs almost nothing to prepare, while being very nutritious.

It was a big hit in Germany, in particular, which gave its name to the oatmeal (from grütze, “hulled grain”). In Canada, the term “oatmeal” is used to refer to traditional porridge made from cooked oats with milk or water, with sugar, honey or maple syrup. There are dozens of different forms of traditional porridge depending on the country of origin. Today, porridge, groats or oatmeal, whatever you want to call it, take more varied forms, eaten cold or hot, sweet or salty, with the addition of other types of cereals, legumes, dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, spices and many other ingredients.

What is Muesli?

Muesli, unlike granola, is a blend of raw cereals, nuts and dried fruit which can be eaten cold, with dairy or non-dairy milk, which can also be prepared by adding yogurt, compote, fruit juice, etc., or eaten hot, just like oatmeal.

The original recipe is that of an oatmeal without any cooking. Developed by the Swiss doctor Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner in the 1900s, the cereal is soaked for 12 hours in cold water before adding one tablespoon of lemon juice as well as one tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk, then 200g of grated whole apples, all sprinkled with a tablespoon of hazelnuts or grated almonds. A recipe inspired by the diet of a shepherd living in the mountains with whom the doctor had shared a meal. Since then, the success of muesli has never gone away.

What can explain the success of Muesli?

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

Muesli is ideal for a healthy and high-quality breakfast, rich in complex carbohydrates which, unlike simple sugar, are absorbed slowly and continuously by the body. In this way, they provide energy over a longer period of time. Muslis are also rich in soluble and insoluble fiber which contributes to develop a better 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 (animal or vegetable).

These groups of main components provide the body with important macro and micronutrients as well as the fibers necessary for good digestion. While the complex carbohydrates contained in muesli provide energy, nuts and dairy provide calcium and protein, and fruits will give you mineral, vitamins and trace elements.

But is Muesli really healthy?

Rich in good carbohydrates and fibers, but also in nutrients such as vitamins B1, B2, B6 or E, and in minerals like magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and zinc, muesli is considered a nutritious blend, 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 and result in being small calorie bombs.

The layman will not detect certain sugars at first glance. Terms, in the list of ingredients, that end with –ose: Dextrose, glucose, sucrose or even fructose, for example, often refer to sugar. Maltodextrin, barley malt extract or glucose syrup also contain sugar. However, these sugars are added to the good carbohydrates naturally present in cereals, which removes their nutritional input.

What about Fourmi Bionique’s Müska cereal?

At Fourmi Bionique, we decided to get the most out of muesli. We didn’t want to offer bland rabbit food 😊 or caloric bombs with no nutritional value. As always, our goal is to design soulful 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: oatmeal, rye and spelled which provide a healthy and hearty base. Our Dukkah Brunch is a mixture of almonds, sesame seeds, coconut and maple syrup, enhanced with cinnamon and a hint of salt. Finally, you will find the star ingredients and strong personalities of our signature flavors: Aphrodisiac, Vitality, Natural and coming soon Tonic, Divine and Zen.

In the end, Müska will delight both in terms of taste and 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.

*For the Natural blend.

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