I continually puzzle people when I say Granola is about one of my most “guilty”/ cheat foods.
Granolas have gathered a healthy narrative for sure, so most consumers naturally do not even categorize the breakfast crunch within the bracket of junk or unhealthy foods.
However, most commercial Granolas are high in sugar and fat. Some just have healthier ingredients than others, and it always delights my inner Granola Glutton when I find one. Well, to my wallet’s dismay, I have found a few!
Today, I will share these guys, as well as assess their ingredients* and nutritional profile, with a focus on fat and sugar levels.
* Green Ingredients denote smile, Red Ingredients denote no-smile, Black Ingredients denote neutral.
Note that this is just based on my own subjective personal preference. (๑•́ ω •̀๑)
Is Granola Healthy?
Extensive use of syrup and oil is usually required for the golden clusters to bind and attain their godlike crunch. I can testify from my countless failed granola batches that you simply cannot scrimp on those ingredients. So, newsflash: if you are approaching Granolas from a fat and sugar nutritional standpoint, most of them are really not that healthy.
Typical Commercial Granolas
For years, Sweet Home Farm’s Maple Granola has captured my endless adoration. Yet, I have it only maybe once or twice a year. What?! Why is that so?!
Apart from the fact I am intensely anal about “healthy” ingredients of course, let’s have a look at Maple Pecan’s ingredients and nutritional profile.
Sweet Home Farm’s Maple Granola
"Milled Cane Sugar, Vegetable Oil, Rice Flour, Cornstarch, Maple Syrup…."
Repeated hits to my Orthorexia Nervosa’s heart (read about the eating disorder here).
Of all the Granolas I will share today, Maple Pecan has the highest carb (36.4g) and sugar content (12.7g). And this is why, I have to restrain my greedy fingers away from Maple Pecan.
Disappointingly, most commercial Granolas present themselves with similar ingredients and nutritional profiles. If you’re as fussy as me, I hope you will appreciate the following slightly “better” alternatives.
Healthier Granola Options
1. Pure Delish Raspberry and Maple nut No Grain-ola
As the name suggests, Pure Delish offers a Granola that has NO grains. I am sure that I am not the only one who identifies carbs as villainous to the waist, so this option might appeal to some.
Because it is primarily made out of nuts and seeds, the result is a chunkier bite. Not sure about the market, but I love me a crunch like this.
Nograin-ola packs a higher amount of fat (25.1g, 4.5g saturated fat). I believe this is due to its nut content, and one can seek solace in the fact it has zero trans fat. Additionally, Nograin-ola has some of the lowest carb (7.2g) and sugar content (5.1g).
How Does It Taste?
Nograin-ola is slightly sweet, and I would say the flavor comes out more from the nuts, coconut and raspberries as to its other ingredients. I love the fact it has Brazil nuts, which adds a layer of richness and creaminess to the bite.
2. Pure Delish Quinoa Grain-ola
I am deeply fearful of carbs. Even proven-healthier options like Brown Rice and Oats still strike some form of anxiety within me. However, Quinoa is one of the few carbs my bugged out brain has befriended (maybe because it is not even a grain!). So to anybody else with the same problem as me, relish in this Quinoa Granola!
Again, this option contains more nuts and seeds (with only 9% Quinoa). It has quite a high amount of fat (22.7g, 2.0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat), but of all of our beloved Granola contestants today, Quinoa Grain-ola has the lowest sugar content (4.9g).
How Does It Taste?
Probably due to date syrup and coconut nectar, Quinoa Grain-ola has a complex and aromatic sweetness to it. Not a fan of that, but compared to Nograin-ola, this is looser and has a more well-rounded feel. I appreciate the lightness that the quinoa puffs lend - for just munching on nuts and seeds can easily become uncomfortably filling and heavy.
3. Scoops Organic Hibiscus & Cranberry Granola
Similar to Quinoa, Buckwheat is not a grain but a vegetable seed. So carb-haters and organic-only eaters may rejoice in Scoops’ Hibiscus & Cranberry Granola. Made primarily with buckwheat and pumpkin seeds, it has a fat content of 10.7g (4.3g saturated fat) and a decent sugar content (7.9g). I would say that personally, the value comes more from most of the ingredients being organic and activated, which we do not exactly get a lot of.
How Does It Taste?
The magenta hue (probably from the beetroot powder) of this Granola definitely helps direct the brain to notice its charming tang. This is likely the flavor profiles of the hibiscus and lemon, whose arrivals are undoubtedly unique and refreshing. Depending on how you select them at the store, this Granola can come loose or in clusters. However, I can’t say I’m a fan of Buckwheat: it is rather heavy and hard. But I guess I cannot fault this, for it helps me control how much I eat (although against my will!).
4. Scoops Organic Turmeric Orange & Pistachio Granola
Another creative Granola from Scoops, this Buckwheat option comes with Turmeric Orange & Pistachio. Like its Hibiscus and Lemon counterpart, the Orange in this one lends a slight sourness that helps cut through the rather oppressive feel of Buckwheat and Turmeric. The fat content is at 11.2g (4.3g saturated fat), and its sugar at 7g. Pretty okay, I’d say. Again, most of the ingredients are organic and activated.
How Does It Taste?
I appreciate this Granola - I think it is special. And to balance Turmeric in a sweet situation is, to me, quite a feat. There isn’t much sweetness to this Granola, rather more of the flavors show up from the dried fruit, Cashew and Coconut. I was concerned with the turmeric being overwhelming, but you would probably taste more of the Orange than the spice. Again, with the nature of Buckwheat, I only eat these in small amounts, but that would already pack enough zest for me to go about my day!
5. Providore Toasted Cinnamon Muesli with Roselle Flowers
Next up on the list we have a more usual and conventional contestant from Providore. Sticking to rolled oats and cinnamon, Toasted Cinnamon Muesli with Roselle Flowers runs up its nutritional profile with Sunflower seeds, Chia seeds and Cashew nuts. It has a relatively lower fat content at 7g (1.4g saturated fat, 1g trans fat) and a sugar content of 7.7g.
How Does It Taste?
With the Granola market being saturated with options, we definitely see more innovative additions these days. I was more curious about the Roselle Flowers than anything, but I think that got played out by the sweetness of the abundant raisins in this pack. As the name suggests, this is “Toasted Muesli” - so do not expect any clusters. It is a very light option - not sweet to a fault and the gentle sweet punch of woody Cinnamon is always gleefully welcomed.
6. Barley+ Protein Clusters
I came across Barley+ in Australia, and I fell in love because clusters. I was intrigued by the barley flakes, soy protein crisps and nuts in this one. At a fat level of 7.6g (1.0g saturated fat) and sugar level of 8.4g, I consider it relatively decent.
How Does It Taste Like?
Protein Clusters has a rather flat sweetness to it, which makes it tastes more commercial/ mainstream. That is not a bad thing - some health foods (such as cashew cakes, kombucha or kefir) can travel off the deep end and become a strongly has-to-be-acquired taste. This is a well-balanced Granola that holds nutritional boosts from nuts and seeds, and can easily appeal to most people. To get it in Singapore, check the link here.
Why I Redlist Some Ingredients
Why do I have beef with the ingredients in red? Because these include oil and sugar in some form. Yes, most of the options presented today have replaced raw sugar with healthier alternatives such as honey and maple syrup. However, in a capitalistic world, I won’t exactly trust that corporations would drive up their cost by inputting pure and high-grade alternatives. So to me, it is still just sugar and fat.
At the end of the day, Granolas are still a sweetened food product. It would be unreasonable to expect one without sugar and fat, for that would be like asking for Croissants without butter. It would be eliminating what makes it taste so divinely in the first place!
The point of this post is really just to raise awareness of Granolas' nutritional profiles, and in doing so, hopefully assist you in making more informed decisions.
Here is a summarised table of our Granola contestants today. Depending on your diet concerns (eg. Carbs? Fat? Sugar?), pick the one for you, and enjoy them in moderation! Purple text denotes the lowest nutritional value of the respective Granolas.
Providore Toasted Muesli has the lowest calorie count, Pure Delish Nograin-ola has the lowest carbs content, Providore Toasted Muesli has the lowest fat content, and Pure Delish Quinoa has the lowest Sugar Content.
And here is my favorite way to groove to Granolas: With Frozen Fruits and Oat Milk!
Thank You for reading,