Granola: Friend or Foe?

Is Granola Healthy?

In short, the answer is yes and no.

Granola is made by toasting rolled oats with other ingredients.  The common ingredients are: nuts, dried fruit, oil, coconut, honey (or other sweeteners), and rice.  So it sounds like this should be healthy, right?  Well it really depends on the granola you choose and how much you eat!

When shopping for granola compare labels:

  • Choose one that is lower in sugar (some have sugar as the first or second ingredient!)
  • Choose one that is low in saturated fat (coconut is saturated fat and is found in many brands)
  • Choose one that is lower in fat (some fat contents are extremely high from added oils, nuts and coconut).
  • Choose a granola with a short ingredient list; some have many additives like cereal.

Granola Tips:

  • For weight loss purposes, I usually recommend staying away from granola since it is very calorically dense.
  • An average 1/4 cup portion has 150 calories.  If you eat 1 cup full you will be consuming 600 calories and that’s without milk or yogurt!
  • Try weighing out one portion of your granola to see what it actually measures as, since the contents often settle in the bag.
  • Serve one portion over greek yogurt with berries and flaxseed for a satisfying breakfast or snack!
  • Granola is a great food for those trying to gain weight.
  • Try making your own granola so you can control the amount of fat and sugar that goes in.
  • A good swap to save calories but still get a similar granola crunch is Kashi GoLean Crunch.
  • Yogurt parfaits served at cafes with granola, are not always the healthiest option.  They are usually made with sweetened yogurt, which combined with copious amounts of granola make it a high sugar choice.  If you like yogurt parfaits, make sure to stick with plain yogurt and limit your granola portion.

Do you enjoy granola?  Which brand do you like the best?

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9 Responses

  1. I love granola but enjoy it in very small portions because it is so calorie dense. I like to have a small handful of granola with a larger handful of cereal to add more bulk.
    I thought coconut was healthy despite the saturated fat?!!

    • That is very controversial, there are not enough studies out there to determine that the saturated fat in coconut is less harmful. For now I recommend limiting coconut fat, and sticking with the fats that are mostly poly and mono unsaturated.

  2. I rarely eat granola so the same reasons you posted above.. I only buy a small amount from time to time to add a tbsp on top of my oats to give it a bit of crunch… making at home tough sounds like a good idea.

  3. I love love love granola, but I too limit my consumption b/c it’s like a calorie bomb . . . and it’s also a food I have trouble limiting, so it’s a double toughy for me to have around the house – been known to polish off a small bag on my own over the course of a day – mama’s metabolism can’t do that too often!

  4. Granola is amazing I have a cup now and then with plain yoghurt, I’m having the Jungle Energy Crunch one now, yum

  5. […] two are very high in calories and depending on the brand can contain a lot of sugar. In this article, Nutritionbyeve asks the question, is granola healthy? She comes back with the answer yes and no. […]

  6. Reblogged this on iamdeannad and commented:
    I cannot believe my favorite snack can be considered non Belarus

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