Is Granola Good For You?


Salted Cocoa Crunch Elevated Oats on Yogurt Bowl


You’re at Natural Pantry after an incredibly long day of work, but it doesn’t matter; you’re pumped. You’ve got a hiking trip with your BFF planned this weekend, and you’re in charge of bringing the snacks. You eagerly grab a bag of granola that has the word “ all natural” stamped on the front, but when you turn it over to read the ingredients, you see it’s full of sugar and words you can’t pronounce. 😱


Hold up—isn’t granola supposed to be healthy? Why the hell is one ¼ cup serving 38% of your daily sugar intake? Something’s not right.


Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Stick with us because we’re breaking it down for you right now.


🤔 What Makes Granola Healthy?


Granola comes in many shapes, sizes, and flavors, but most granola’s foundation consists of oats, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, and fruits. The chosen blend is then mixed with a sweet “binder” that holds the ingredients together when baked. When it cools, it firms up, and that’s what gives you those coveted clusters you tend to pick out first.


Each ingredient provides multiple benefits in its own right. But overall, granola has carbs to fuel your muscles and provide energy for your next backpacking trip in Yosemite. It’s also full of protein and fiber, which helps keep you fuller longer, so you don’t find yourself mindlessly snacking throughout the day (or needing to stop every ten minutes to fish out snacks from your pack.)


So what is it about these base ingredients that make granola good for you?

Rolled Oats

Nuts

Seeds

Healthy Fats

Fruit


❌ What Makes Granola Unhealthy?


All that sounds great, right?


Granola seems to dot the I’s and cross the T’s on the nutrition scale, but here’s the downer ➡️ Not all granola is created equal. The additives in granola can plummet the granola’s health reputation in a hurry, making it no better than a bag of candy.


Here are some things to look out for:

Chocolate

This tasty morsel can sometimes get a bad rep in granola. And to be fair, when the chocolate in question are M&M’s, we would have to agree with you. If the chocolate to oat ratio is 3:1, then maybe it’s a granola without your best interest in mind. Besides, anytime you add something sweet like chocolate, you are bound to up the calorie count. However, some chocolate sprinkled into granola will not only add to the flavor and texture but could sneak in some health benefits. Dark chocolate ➡️ Made from the cocoa tree’s seed, dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients, soluble fiber, and a ton of antioxidants.

White chocolate ➡️ Admittedly, the force isn’t as strong with this one, but for someone who often gets headaches or stomach pains from eating dark or milk chocolate, white chocolate may be the perfect substitute—besides the addition adds a creamy layer to the mixture (And if you have a fur baby at home, this is safe to eat in moderation, unlike its antioxidant-packed cousin.)

Oils

Sugar


🤔 So, What’s the Verdict? Is Granola Good for You?


Yes! As long as you are an active participant.


No, we don’t mean you need to run in place while eating granola (though that would be a hilarious IG story that you should immediately tag us in it). But because there are so many options out there, it’s best to find a small-batch granola roaster that focuses on simple ingredients tailored to your health needs.


😍 How to Choose a Healthy Granola


First things first, always look at the ingredients.


Now that you are a professional at analyzing ingredients, you can pick simple granola packed with health benefits following these general rules:


  • Avoid any ingredients you don’t recognize.

  • Look for simple ingredients.

  • Consider serving sizes (because it’s all fun and games until you find out the serving size is a handful).

  • Pay special attention to sugar. And not only the grams (because some of them can come naturally from the fruit) but instead find where sugar is listed in the ingredient list. The higher up on the list, the more added sugar you’ll get in each bite.

  • Pick a granola that you can envision using in many different ways (don’t worry, we’ve got some ideas for you.)


Now when you reach for your granola, you’ll know you are doing something good for your body. And that, my friend, is going to score you major brownie granola cookie points when you show up for your hiking trip.


 




No, but seriously, you should tag us on Instagram and let us know what granola you’re eating!


What is your favorite way to eat oats? Here are some of our faves.