Muesli is a ready-to-eat or cold breakfast cereal. It contains a healthy proportion of whole grains, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. You can eat muesli like classic cereal with milk, eat it hot like oatmeal, or grind it up as a flour base for pancakes. Hence, muesli is a breakfast staple due to its endless versatility.
There is no doubt that breakfast is an important meal in a weight loss diet. It helps kick-start your metabolism and fuels your body throughout the day. But is eating muesli for breakfast or muesli generally a good option for weight loss? Let us take a look.
What is Muesli?
Muesli is a healthy, low-sugar alternative to granola. It originally consisted of raw oats, grated apples, chopped nuts mixed with water, lemon juice, and sweetened condensed milk.
Today, muesli more often refers to a mix of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Because you do not need to bake muesli, no oil is required to bind the ingredients together.
Both granola and muesli have similar ingredients. However, granola undergoes baking until it becomes crunchy, while muesli is kept raw.
The main difference between the two is that granola uses natural sweeteners, such as syrup, honey or jaggery, alongside dried fruits. On the other hand, the sweetness of muesli comes from only dried fruits.
Muesli generally has fewer calories than granola, but both contain some form of sugar. Therefore, you need to eat moderate amounts.
Nutritional Profile of Different Types of Muesli
The nutritional content of muesli varies depending on how you prepare it and its ingredients. Some muesli brands contain gluten-free grains, while some recreate granola-style chunky texture with additional ingredients.
Some people toast the grains, nuts, and seeds to bring out their flavours. Nonetheless, a good combination of crunchy nuts and seeds with chewy fruits and grains still offers a nutritional boost.
According to USDA, 100 grams of toasted muesli containing whole grain rolled barley flakes (56%), whole grain rolled oats (15%), and maple syrup (6%) has the following nutrients:
According to USDA, 100 grams of toasted oats muesli with organic raisins, wheat flakes, dried dates, cranberries, and almonds has the following nutrients:
A bowl or standard serving of muesli, depending on the brand and the mix of ingredients, contains:
Muesli Benefits for Weight Loss
Muesli can be helpful for a weight loss diet due to the following reasons:
Packed With Whole Grains
Muesli contains a blend of weight-loss-friendly whole grains, such as rolled oats. A study says that foods rich in whole grains nourish the gut microbiota. It, in turn, promotes weight loss or better weight management.
Nutritionists also highly recommend whole grain-rich foods as a vital part of healthy eating.
Reduces Diabetes Risk
People with diabetes are more prone to obesity or being overweight than those without it. It can be due to insulin resistance, high glucose levels, or appetite changes. Therefore, preventing or managing diabetes is necessary for weight loss.
High-fibre breakfast cereals would be protective against the risk of developing diabetes. A study shows that muesli consumption reduces diabetes risk. Muesli consumption on its own or as a part of oats-based cereal can significantly lower the odds of developing type 2 diabetes.
Muesli with unsweetened almond milk contains high fibre, protein, and mineral content. As a result, it helps to maintain the blood sugar level and increase insulin sensitivity. These two benefits of muesli can help prevent diabetes-related weight gain.
Muesli has fibre, protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Therefore, it has a high satiety quotient. While the amount of fibre and protein in muesli varies from brand to brand, you can still get a sufficient amount to fill you up.
A ½ cup of generic muesli provides over 4 grams of protein. It meets 9% and 7% of the recommended dietary allowance of protein for women and men, respectively.
Another notable factor is the high-fibre nature of muesli. One-half cup of generic muesli has 3-4 grams of fibre. It meets 12% and 8% of the recommended dietary allowance of fibre for women and men, respectively.
Fibre, especially soluble fibre, physically fills your stomach. It slows down the rate at which food leaves your stomach. As a result, you will not need to snack between meals. According to a study, dietary fibre intake promotes weight loss, independent of caloric and other macronutrient intakes.
The HealthifyMe Note
Muesli is a combination of whole grains, dried fruits, nuts and seeds that can be a part of a weight-loss diet. Its complex carbs, fibre, protein and healthy fats support weight loss by creating a feeling of fullness. However, be careful of the portion size to limit calories. You can also modify the muesli composition and portion size according to your needs. Picking sugar-free muesli will be a better option for weight loss diets and especially for people with diabetes.
How to Eat Muesli for Weight Loss?
Serve muesli with a higher protein, low-fat, and low-calorie milk. You can use unsweetened hemp, almond, or oat milk. With sweetened milk, watch for sugar, as it can easily add up. Further, look for unprocessed versions of nondairy milk when making muesli-porridge for breakfast.
A study shows that unprocessed or minimally processed muesli from indigenous crops has better nutritional quality. However, it is better to eat homemade muesli for weight loss. Making muesli at home allows you to customise the ingredients and keep the sugar content to a minimum.
The general formula for preparing muesli is as follows:
Muesli formula: 4 cups grains + 1½ cups nuts and seeds + ½ cup dried fruit
Here are some suggested ingredients when making muesli for weight loss:
Grains: Rolled oats, wheat bran, whole barley, rye, quinoa flakes, millet puffs, sorghum, or millet flakes.
Nuts: Sliced almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts
Seeds: Sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds
Dried fruit: Dried cherries, dried figs, dried apricots, raisins, golden raisins, currants, unsweetened coconut flakes, apple chips
You can also talk to a nutritionist at HealthifyMe to get real-time personalised diet and meal prep advice. For example, Pro Coaches can help you find the ideal formula for muesli, which works for your weight loss goals and calorie needs.
You can also receive diet and lifestyle suggestions based on your metabolic health, BMI, diabetes risk, and other underlying conditions.
Muesli is often a healthier breakfast choice than other packaged cereals. It is lower in refined sugar and higher in protein and fibre. Although muesli does contain some natural sugar from dried fruit, it also has plenty of beneficial minerals and healthy fats.
In addition, the nuts, seeds, and whole grains help promote satiety and keep you feeling full for longer. It can prevent unhealthy snacking and lead to better weight management. However, remember that calories still count when trying to lose weight. Therefore, be mindful of how much muesli you eat.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. When should I eat muesli for weight loss?
A. The best time to eat muesli is in the morning and at noon. The proportionate amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fibre in mueslis is the best breakfast for weight loss. It keeps you full for longer and helps avoid any unnecessary snacking. You can also make your lunch extra filling by adding a bowl of muesli.
Q. Is muesli better than oats for weight loss?
A. Both oats and muesli are healthy and nutrient-dense. However, oats are a better choice since it does not have additional ingredients. It is also a better choice for diabetes patients on a weight-loss diet. However, muesli has a greater protein content due to the extra components like nuts and seeds. So, if more protein is your focus, choose muesli.
Q. Is muesli healthy or fattening?
A. Muesli, in moderate amounts, is a healthy and nutrient-dense food. Compared to other sugary breakfast cereals, muesli is not fattening. However, roasting the nuts and grains in oil or adding sweeteners can make muesli fattening. So, it is better to choose sugar-free muesli.
Q. Is it OK to eat muesli every day?
A. Yes, you can eat muesli every day. However, do not have more than half a cup if you eat muesli daily. Excess muesli can cause digestive distress and weight gain, mainly if it contains added sweeteners and oil-toasted nuts. Also, make sure to buy sugar-free or low-sugar muesli brands.
Q. Can we eat muesli with milk for weight loss?
A. Yes, muesli with milk is a good breakfast for weight loss. You can soak muesli overnight in milk and enjoy a refreshing breakfast the next day. Or prepare a muesli porridge with warm milk and fresh-cut fruits as toppings. For better weight loss benefits, use low-calorie milk or plant-based milk.
Q. Is muesli full of sugar?
A. The sugar content of muesli depends on the ingredients or the brand you buy. You can buy sugar-free muesli. Or customise the sugar content as per your liking with homemade muesli. Unlike many other processed kinds of cereal, muesli offers better-for-you ingredients. However, try to avoid mueslis with excessive amounts of dried fruits.