I love nothing better than a bowl of muesli with fresh fruit, natural yoghurt and milk. It’s quick to throw together and fills me up until lunchtime, so I’m not tempted to snack mid morning while I drink my coffee.
Freedom Foods have launched their new Toasted Vanilla Muesli into their range, so I wanted to see how it stacked up to similar toasted mueslis on the market. I have also included their new Crafted Blends Lemon Myrtle alongside other typical breakfast cereal choices, just for comparison.
The first thing to be aware of when comparing products is portion size. Every pack of cereal will list a different weight as the suggested portion size. Watch out for this, as comparing 30g of one cereal against 45g of another will yield a very different result, when in reality you probably pour the same amount of each into your bowl. For that reason I have compared a 50g serving of each. Dense heavy mueslis may therefore look like a smaller amount in the bowl than a light flake cereal, but bear in mind they will fill you up much more effectively.
The first test has to be for taste. Gluten free muesli options can often fall down here without the creamy taste of oats or the crunch of wheat or bran. However Freedom Foods Toasted Vanilla Muesli is unique on the market in using super healthy legumes – in this case puffed chickpeas and fava beans. These account for 17% of the total product and so are not just a token ingredient to be spruiked on the packaging as so often happens.
I’m a massive fan of legumes. They provide low GI carbohydrates, stacks of fibre – and importantly soluble fibre and resistant starch, essential for promoting the growth of good bacteria in your gut – plant protein and important nutrients including folate.
The grains are all gluten free, therefore suitable for coeliacs and those on low gluten diets. There is therefore no modern industrialised wheat and instead there is a nice mix of rice, corn (maize), sorghum and millet. The addition of sunflower seeds and pepitas gives an additional nutrition boost.
Secondly the major concern with muesli and cereal options is to do with added sugar. Now there is a little added to this muesli in the form of golden syrup, cane sugar and apple juice concentrate. There are also a few dried apples and so there is a small amount of naturally present sugars too.
However I’m pleased to report that the overall level of sugar is more than 20% lower than most toasted muesli options on the market – including those artisan varieties you find in your local wholefood store. In a 50g serve you’ll only have 1 ¾ teaspoons of sugar and this includes the naturally present sugar. A typical sugar-sweetened cereal will give you more than double this.
When you compare the Freedom Foods Crafted Blends Lemon Myrtle cereal to a competitor similar product, it has half the amount of sugar – making it one of the lowest in the market – and more fibre. If you haven’t tried it yet give it a go – the unique Aussie bush flavouring of the lemon myrtle in a cereal really works.
There are even lower sugar options on the market, but interestingly consumer research has shown when we buy those types of cereal we tend to add our own sugar at home, either as table sugar or as honey, and the amounts are usually much greater. So do watch out for this, especially with your kids left to their own devices – I know how much honey my kids can heap on if I’m not supervising!
One of the key benefits of muesli and a wholegrain breakfast cereal is the fibre content. Here you’ll see that mueslis, including the new Freedom Foods one, fair well. With just over 5g per serve that sets you on your way towards meeting your daily goal of 25-30g. If you add fresh fruit you’ll add to this figure too.
The wholegrain flake style cereals do provide more fibre, but the downside is that they contain none of the added nutrition found in the seeds, including the healthy fats which in turn slow down the digestion of the meal, keeping you fuller for longer. The fibre also tends to be primarily insoluble fibre – great for keeping you regular but it plays a less significant role in promoting healthy gut bacteria. For this you need soluble fibre and resistant starch found in the mixture of grains and legumes in the muesli.
Whether you are following a gluten free diet or not, the new Toasted Vanilla Muesli from Freedom Foods is a winner, while their Crafted Blends range ranks amongst the best on the market for a flake style cereal. I’ve been impressed with how hard Freedom are working to reduce the amount of added sugars in their products, while continually improving the taste. The result is we have several breakfast options that are quick and easy, while truly satisfying our breakfast taste buds.