Product Type: Sainsbury's Breakfast
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This is strictly for the birds!
Sainsbury's Basics Muesli
Member Name: ladybracknell
Sainsbury's Basics Muesli
Disadvantages: Too many untoasted oat flakes make it difficult to swallow
I do like to ring the changes with my choice of breakfast food but mainly on weekdays I stick to porridge when it's a cold day and muesli once the weather begins to warm up.
The original Muesli was created by Dr Bircher-Benner in the late 19th century and the name Muesli is a derivation of a Swiss German word, mus, meaning mixture or mush. Depending on the country, variations of this recipe mix of oats, wheat, fruit and nuts is known as Muesli, Bircher or Granola. Whatever you choose to call it, Muesli has a lot going for it healthwise: it's made from completely natural ingredients, is high in fibre and contains wholegrains, all of which add up to a bowl of filling food which is very low when measured on the Glycemic Index and will keep your digestive system in full working order and also help to keep your heart healthy.
My preferred brand of muesli is Alpen with no added sugar but in these difficult financial times, I've been looking around to see where I can cut costs and have frequently found that substituting Sainsbury's Basics products for high end branded ones hasn't made much difference either to taste or in quality but has made a considerable saving with regard to making my money stretch that little bit further.
The packaging for the Basics Muesli is a strong tear-open style plastic bag in the usual orange and white livery. The bag is manufactured from a plastic which is recyclable in the usual way (if your local authority accept various plastics) or can be recycled at larger branches of Sainsbury's.
With Alpen currently costing £3.75 for a 1.3 kilo pack and the Basics Muesli retailing at 96p for a 1 kilo pack, which works out at 29p per 100g and 10p per 100g respectively, it was a bit of a no-brainer as to which I'd buy. However, I should have taken heed that cheapest isn't always necessarily best.
Ingredients and nutritional values
The ingredients for Alpen and Basics Muesli aren't hugely dissimilar. Both contain oat flakes, wheat flakes, dried fruit and chopped nuts. The only difference, it seems, is in the quantities. It has to be said that Alpen are far more generous with their fruit and nuts than Mr Sainsbury! The only additional ingredient to those I've given is Vegetarian Whey Powder manufactured from cows' milk. These ingredients, of course, have certain allergy implications and it's definitely not going to be suitable for anyone with a wheat, nut or dairy allergy. The packet also indicates that it may not be suitable for people with a sesame allergy either because of where the product is manufactured.
The nutritional values given on the packet quotes for a 50g serving plus 100 ml of semi-skimmed milk. The amounts to 222 calories per serving which is broken down into 9.2g protein, 35.1g carbohydrate (of which 7.2g is sugar), 5.0g fat (of which 1.7g is saturated) and 5.1g fibre. Although there is 0.10g of salt, this is naturally occurring sodium.
Once opened, it was pretty obvious that this muesli has not only a difference monetarily but also with regard to appearance. The colour is much paler than Alpen and also has much fewer toasted wheat flakes and far more raw oat flakes. There does appear to be plenty of dried fruit, however, although these seem to be restricted to the top 50% of the packet. Appearance isn't everything though so on to the taste test.
Because of the amount of raw oat flakes the milk was very quickly soaked up and took on the appearance of raw porridge with added lumps and, quite frankly, the taste wasn't much better. Again, because of the high percentage of oat flakes, even with the added milk, there was very little crunch and each mouthful felt dry and dusty and was very difficult to swallow. In fact not only did this look like raw porridge, it tasted like it too. I really didn't like it.
I know many people regard any muesli as looking and tasting like budgie food and in this case they'd be right. The packet remained in the cupboard for several weeks until I hit on a brainwave. As it looked and tasted like bird food, why not give it to the birds. Without more ado, I started supplementing the sunflower seeds and peanuts with added muesli and the birds couldn't get enough of it.
Nowadays, although I don't eat Basics Muesli myself and have gone back to good old Alpen for which there really is no substitute, I do still buy this for the birds because they absolutely love it. There is one drawback to using it as bird food though. It seems it's every bit as good for clearing out their digestive systems as it is for humans!
Summary: Makes a great addition to the birds' food but not so good for humans