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What's the difference between granola and muesli?

June 1, 2021
4 min read

KGarden

Cereal Expert

Image source: unsplash.com

Granola and Muesli

These two very similar breakfast cereals really do have a big difference. Muesli, granola’s cousin, was first named by Swiss nutritionist Dr. Maximillian Bircher-Benner in Swiss-German that translates as “little porridge.” His uncooked mixture of rolled oats, grated apples and ground nuts resembles mush when combined with milk. He touted the health benefits his sanatorium patients found combining lighter food like muesli and physical exercise.  

Just a few years earlier, Dr. Caleb Jackson was searching for a healthier alternative to English-style breakfasts in New York and started experimenting with recipes for “granula,” a baked graham flour cereal. Around the same time, Dr. John Kellogg — yes, that Kellogg — concocted something so similar that he proactively patented his cereal as granola. It languished in the shadow of other options like Corn Flakes for a couple generations until the counter-culture hippies of the 1960s and ‘70s rediscovered it and made it a grocery store staple. 

So, one difference between granola and muesli is how and where they came to exist. 

Granola

Muesli

Nutritional Difference: Muesli v. Granola 

Both muesli and granola make for densely nutritious breakfast or snack options. Anytime you’re combining whole grains with high-quality protein like nuts and some kind of low-fat dairy product like skim milk, you’re getting a well-rounded meal. Portion size is important to keep in mind, though, as is the overall calorie count in your diet. 

Another difference between granola and muesli is how much processing they go through before reaching your kitchen. Muesli is generally sold uncooked, so if you’re looking to add raw foods to your diet, it’s a winner. Granola, on the other hand, is baked before it’s packaged, often with oils or sweeteners added to help it bind together in its characteristic clumps. While this preparation makes for delicious snacking right from the box — we don’t judge — it also changes the nutritional profile of all those healthy ingredients.  

How to Eat Granola and Muesli 

How to eat muesli

how to eat granola

We’re not one to tell you what to do, but we have suggestions for how to make granola or muesli a tasty addition to your everyday menu.  

Muesli: 

Because all the ingredients are raw, we suggest preparing your muesli one of two ways, depending on whether you want a hot or cold snack. For hot cereal, warm the milk of your choice and stir in the muesli. Let it simmer for a few minutes while you stir it. Cold muesli is a plan-ahead meal. Combine it with cold milk or yogurt and leave it covered in the fridge overnight. 

Granola:

Because granola is baked before it’s packaged, you can eat it any number of ways, including by the handful. Sprinkle it on salads, bake it into cookies, stir it into yogurt, heat it up with milk or doctor it with loads of chopped nuts, dried fruit, shaved coconut, chocolate chips or any other chewy and crunchy tidbits that appeal to your tastebuds. 

Popular Brands of Muesli and Granola 

Discover the One Less Trip difference: muesli, granola and more delivered right to your door for free! 

Alpen No Added Sugar Muesli Cereal

Dig into this high-energy combo of whole grains, nuts and raisins for a low-sodium, low-calorie, cholesterol-free start to a better day. 

Seven Sundays Unsweetened Bircher Muesli 

A whopping eight grams of protein and seven grams of fiber per serving power this wholesome choice that ups the flavor ante with dates and pumpkin seeds. 

Purely Elizabeth Maple and Almond Butter Granola

Power up on the go with this delicious source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and folate that comes in a recyclable package you can pour milk directly into.  

Paleonola Granola Original

Free of glutens, GMOs and all other unnecessary additives, this all-natural snack makes going Paleo delicious. 

Granola with Fruit

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