There are few snacks as satisfying as granola – the crunchy goodness is delicious on yogurt, with milk, or straight from the bag. But granola’s reputation as earthy and healthy is often super misleading, since most grocery store brands are pumped with fat and sugar to make them into the sweet clusters you know and love. To learn which granola brands are actually healthy and which are glorified sugar bombs, read on for a ranking from best to worst.
6. Back to Nature Almond Chia Granola Clusters
If you’re trying to get as close to nature as possible, you probably want to steer clear of a bag that has four different types of sweeteners (brown rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, brown rice crisp, and oat syrup solids). This granola clocks in at the highest amount of carbohydrates (with 35g), or 12% of your daily recommended amount.
This granola is the only one that lists it phosphorus content, providing 15% of the daily recommended amount. Phosphorus works with calcium to form strong bones and is found mostly in dairy products, so this cereal is a good source of the mineral for vegans.
5. KIND Maple Quinoa Clusters with Chia Seeds
This granola’s blend of five super grains is great for your digestive system and has the most fiber of the bunch, with 4g (16% of the recommended daily amount). But the dried cane syrup, maple syrup, molasses, and brown rice syrup make up the 10g of sugar.
While it’s not super high in sugar content, all the sources are high-glycemic and can contribute to blood sugar crash later on that will just leave you hangry. With a fairly low-calorie count (190 calories for 1/2 cup), this granola is good to fill you up when balanced with a more protein-based energy source (such as yogurt), to release sugar more slowly.
4. Bear Naked V’nilla Almond Fit Granola
This granola is fairly harmless. In a 1/4 cup serving, there are 120 calories, 2.5g of fat, and 4g of sugar. In a market where most competitors are loaded with extra sugar, this is a pretty impressive nutrition profile – what it lacks in clusters, it makes up for in health.
On the flip side, this granola has no Vitamin A, Vitamin C, or iron, all essential nutrients; so what you’ll have to make sure to get them from other sources such as leafy greens.
3. One Degree Sprouted Oat Cinnamon Flax Granola
This granola has only 7% of your daily carbohydrate amount and 5% of daily fat amount, making it a good choice to snack on without packing on the pounds (which is all too easy to do with granola). The sprouted grains in this brand make it easier to digest, and the high amount of organic ingredients in the snack make sure you’re getting the good stuff without anything you don’t want.
2. Paleonola Grain-Free Pina Colada Granola
With only 1/4 of a cup packing 160 calories as well as 14g of fat and 7g of saturated fat (22% and 35% of your recommended daily amount, respectively), this granola is the most energy-dense of them all. But this isn’t entirely a bad thing: the fat comes from natural sources such as coconut, almonds, pepitas, and pecans.
With 5g of sugar per serving, this granola is relatively sweet – but this sweetness comes from honey and maple syrup, which have a slew of health benefits. If you’re going to indulge, this granola is the right way to do it, since the fat and sugar all come from natural sources.
1. Purely Elizabeth Chocolate Sea Salt Probiotic Granola
Made with GanedenBC30, a vegan, non-GMO strain of healthy bacteria, this granola on top of yogurt is a delicious way to get double the probiotics. Purely Elizabeth’s website recommends eating two servings a day for optimal effects – and with only 5g of fat, 6g of sugar, and 130 calories for a 1/3 cup serving, that might be a good idea. Plus, the coconut palm sugar used to sweeten is low-glycemic and won’t spike your blood sugar levels.
#SpoonTip: If you usually pass on granola because of dietary restrictions, this certified vegan and gluten-free option is a delicious option.