If you started your day off with a homemade yogurt parfait topped off with some granola, or had a bowl of granola with some milk, you may want to start reevaluating your "healthy" breakfast options.

Over the years, granola has received this reputation that views it as a healthy part of every diet just because we associate it with healthy, outdoorsy types of people. Yet, while granola sounds, looks, and tastes like the healthy breakfast option, personal trainers would never go near this food.

Sydney Segal

Sounds surprising right? Yes, the pretty natural-looking packaging instantly draws you in, and just seems to be better than the sugary cereals you’re told to avoid your whole life. But, this is where most of us go wrong: even though it is made from heart-healthy oats, it actually isn't that healthy. 

So What's Bad About it?

"Granola," according to Juan, a personal trainer, "is calorically dense with little or no nutritional value. A cup of granola probably has twice the number of calories than that of cereal, at least, and probably four times a cup of plain greek yogurt with berries. (The yogurt would be a good source of protein, with some natural sugars, if you add the berries).”

Although granola combines some of nature’s most nutrient-dense treats, including oats (rolled), nuts, honey, dried fruit, and seeds. It’s major downfall: the mounds of added sugars and preservatives. A normal portion of granola is a stingy half cup, and let’s be real, who actually can only eat half a cup of granola?

milk, sweet, muesli, granola, cereal
Isabel Wang

Don't believe me? Bear Naked Protein Granola, for example, has 140 calories in a 1/4 cup serving—that’s 280 calories for half a cup. Granola can contain 25 grams of sugar, but not natural sugars like fruit—it is all added rather than naturally occurring. For this reason, “the nutritional level of granola is very low,” Juan added.

What to Eat Instead

Juan advised having a breakfast that will keep your blood sugar stable to avoid any crashes mid-morning. "I aim for protein, healthy fats and veggies. An example is two eggs with two slices turkey bacon, asparagus and a quarter avocado," Juan explained.

vegetable, rice
Becky Hughes

When substituting granola as a snack, Juan recommended a handful of raw nuts such as almonds or cashews—natural foods are always key! Some other alternatives to granola can even include berries, pomegranate seeds, and even chia seeds.

So, the next time you're tempted to grab a handful of granola, I'd recommend holding off. But, I don't blame you if you're in New York and dying to try The Granola Bar that just opened near you!