In the wellness world, granola tends to get a standing ovation or it gets completely demonized; there's no in between. The health community raves about it—it's the perfect mix of nuts, seeds, and grains, full of healthy fats and protein to add to a morning bowl of Greek yogurt. However, the spoonfuls of refined sugar that's in most store-bought granola—which gives granola a sweet, candied flavor that noticeably distinguishes it from most cereals and makes it extra delicious—usually gets the thumbs down by most dietitians and nutritionists.

When sugar is manufactured, it goes through a refining process in order to remove any impurities. This process strips sugar of any nutritional value, and can cause a speedy rise in our blood sugar levels, which is potentially harmful to the body. When visualizing refined sugars, think of white cane sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar, and high fructose corn syrup. 

The problem with most granolas that you buy in store is that they're packed with one, or sometimes a mix, of these refined sugars. And since most people tend to eat handfuls at a time (who actually measures out a strict serving of granola to put it on yogurt bowls?), that means our bodies are receiving too much sugar, and insulin levels will have to dramatically rise to keep our blood sugars at even levels.

Katarina Romero

The easiest thing that can be done to ensure that granola is nourishing our bodies is to make it at home. There are tons of recipes out there that are made with no refined sugar! This means they're sweetened by sugars that are not chemically altered, like maple syrup and honey, or even sweetened by fruits, like bananas and dates. Here are 12 healthy granola recipes for refined sugar-free granola. Be warned: you're bound to salivate heavily.

1. Chickpea Granola

Chickpea granola is the newest way to enjoy heart-healthy beans in a sweet and delicious way. This recipe is sweetened with just 2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup, and has an additional mix of chickpeas, oats, pecans, and pumpkin seeds. The high fiber content in this mix will play nice with your blood sugar, helping sugar digest slowly into the bloodstream.

2. Nut-Free Granola

Usually, granola comes chock full of all types of nuts. But fear not, because those with nut allergies can still enjoy granola made out of just seeds and grains. Ingredients like pumpkin seeds and oats combined with maple syrup make for a delicious way to enjoy granola without worrying about any allergens.  

3. Banana-Nut Granola

Banana bread meats granola in this delicious, low-sugar recipe sweetened naturally with mashed banana and applesauce. The addition of oats, cinnamon, and banana chips will definitely make this snack feel as if you're eating a warm, gooey bite of your grandma's banana bread that just came out of the oven. 

4. Honey Almond Granola

I love using honey when I bake; I find it gives everything a very authentic, rustic flavor. This granola sweetened with honey is made with almond slivers and warming spices like ginger and cinnamon. If you want to use honey with strong antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, you may want to use raw Manuka honey. 

5. Raw Chocolate Chip Granola

It's like eating the raw cookie dough of our dreams, without getting worried about the salmonella. Plus, it's sweetened with dates—or as I like to call them, nature's candy! Dates are unbelievably sweet on their own, and taste incredible when incorporated into this mix. I'll take a whole batch, please.

6. Turmeric Granola

Turmeric has been all the rave lately, but for all the right reasons. Studies have shown that turmeric is highly anti-inflammatory and can help fight chronic pain, cancer, and more. The bright yellow spice adds a lovely golden hue to the granola, and I can just imagine how good it tastes paired with a large glass of chilly almond milk.

7. Matcha Granola

You don't need that latte in the morning to wake you up and give you a boost of antioxidants—try caffeine in granola instead! Matcha is a powdered form of green tea, and it can be added to this maple syrup-sweetened granola after it's been baked. Plus that green color is just showing off at this point, and it would look so Instagram-worthy in a yogurt bowl. 

8. Tropical Granola

Just another day in paradise when you wake up and add this delicious tropical granola to a yogurt bowl. Made with delicious banana, pineapple, and cashew chunks, all sweetened with maple syrup and raw honey, this granola is sure to make your taste buds wish they were off lying on a beach somewhere. 

9. Cocoa Coffee Granola

We all wake up craving a hot, delicious cup of joe. Now we can enjoy it as a snack, but this time with added chocolate...dreams do come true! An entire shot of espresso and 1/3 cup of cocoa powder are added to this recipe to make this granola taste better than ever.

10. Pumpkin Spice Granola

This granola isn't meant to be enjoyed only during the fall. The warming pumpkin spice and cinnamon bring out the flavor of the pumpkin puree, and it's all naturally sweetened with maple syrup and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Pumpkin spice latte in granola form? Yes, please.

11. Citrus Caraway Granola

Every granola needs a good crunch, and this one is no exception. A unique blend of oats, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, caraway seeds, and fennel seeds make this crunchy mix a delicious treat your roommates will all want to try. It's flavored with honey, almond butter, and tangy lemon juice. 

12. Cinnamon Bun Granola

My greatest memories involve sitting around a table with my family, forking off pieces of a warm and gooey cinnamon bun topped with all the whipped cream. This recipe takes me back! It incorporates raw buckwheat groats for added fiber, and Medjool dates for more sweetness, chewiness, and nutrients. Cinnabon's got nothing on this granola! 

Daniela Nessim

At first, it might seem hard to get our tastebuds used to sugars that come in their purest forms. After all, Americans eat about 82 grams of sugar on the daily, and at this point some people just need a little corn syrup to satisfy their sweet tooth. However, I truly believe that natural sources of sugar are just as tasty, if not tastier, than refined sugar. Plus, you'll notice a huge difference in the way you feel after eating them. No more afternoon slumps!