Even for health buffs, picking a muesli or granola from the supermarket is not a quick or easy job.
It usually goes something like this:
- Step 1: Stroll into the muesli or health food aisle of your local Coles or Woolies
- Step 2: Drop your jaw at the huge variety in front of you
- Step 3: Immediately feel attracted to those with modern or catchy branding
- Step 4: Be hypnotised by the claims on the front of the boxes (‘full of natural ingredients!’, ‘most nutritious!’, ‘x number of vitamins & minerals!’, ‘no added sugar!’)
- Step 5: Flip over to check the nutrition information & ingredients (now we’re getting serious)…
Now, step 6 is a bit like the old ‘choose your own adventure’ books some of us read as young kids…
- Step 6 – option a: Get overwhelmed, freak out, and panic-buy the same one you’ve always had..; OR
- Step 6 – option b: Get overwhelmed, freak out, and run away screaming ‘how am I ever going to know which breakfast product is right for me!!’
(if choosing option b we suggest just keeping your voice down a little for the comfort of other shoppers)…
So what to you need to keep in mind when picking your breakfast muesli or granola?
Ignore the claims on the front!
These don’t necessarily mean anything, so jump straight to the ingredients listing on the back. For example, just because one box suggests it contains lots of natural ingredients, it doesn’t mean all ingredients are natural, or it has more natural ingredients as compared to other brands.
What’s in it?!
When reading the ingredients, it’s simple – anything you don’t recognize probably means it’s not the best for our bodies, and has probably been added for extra flavouring or enhancing the life of the product. The freshest and most natural ingredients pack enough flavour and are meant to be eaten when most fresh, so if you spot some weird looking ingredients move straight onto the next box!
Beware of sugar
Be aware of the sources of sugar. Is there any added sugar? Avoid. Opt for those with natural ingredients such as Rice Bran Syrup or Agave Nectar.
Also be conscious of the amount of dried fruit. Even though it can be great for us in many ways, the drying process reduces a lot of the fibre and leaves the sugar content behind, and as dried fruit pieces are always smaller than their fresh counterparts, we are likely to be consuming more. Better to decrease the dried fruit content and add fresh fruit later on.
Look for healthy fats
Good fats are vital for many of our bodily processes, and breakfast presents an ideal opportunity to consume some good fats in the form of nuts & seeds. Look for added almonds, walnuts or pecans, and seeds such as linseed, sunflower seeds, pepitas or chia seeds.
Still a bit overwhelmed? Here’s a simple checklist – take a screenshot and keep it handy for your next supermarket trip.
- Ignore the branding & the claims on the front – go straight for the ingredients listing
- Make sure you recognize the ingredients. If not, move on.
- Avoid added or unnatural sugar sources
- Minimise the dried fruit content (and add fresh fruit later!)
- Aim for added nutrition and good fat from nuts & seeds
Our Winter box features one of our ultimate favourite breakfast products which is made by the team over at Food For Health – it’s filled with nutritious and natural ingredients such as sunflower kernels, almonds, linseed & chia seeds, is sweetened with the goodness of Rice Bran Syrup, contains no dried fruit so we can add our own later, and is gluten & fructose free.
And, with a name like ‘Coffee & Cacao Fruit Free Clusters’, its very hard not to want to try it! (we like to sprinkle it onto smoothie bowls, or take Food For Health’s suggestion and turn them into Breakfast Bars!).
You can check out Food For Health’s clusters at https://store.foodforhealth.com.au/collections/muesli, or to cure the breakfast-product-overwhelm we spoke of earlier, you can also find them in the health food aisle of your local Coles or Woolworths.