4 January 2020

What is Granola Made of?

Granola is a popular breakfast and snack food because of its sweet flavor and crunchy texture. Read on to discover what ingredients granola contains and whether or not it is a healthy food choice.

What is Granola Made of?

The ingredients in granola vary by brand, but here we list the main components:

  • Oats
  • Other grains (wheat, rice, barley, spelt)
  • Nuts (almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans)
  • Seeds (flax, sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, chia)
  • Dried fruit (raisins, dates, sultanas, apricots, figs)
  • Sugar (honey, corn syrup, coconut sugar, agave, brown sugar)
  • Oils (coconut, palm, sunflower, olive)

The chosen ingredients are mixed together and baked until golden brown and toasty.

The most common ways to eat granola are:

  • As a breakfast cereal with milk
  • Sprinkled on top of yogurt or fresh fruit
  • Eaten alone as a snack

Is Granola Good for Weight Loss?

Commercially-made granola is commonly high in calories, sugar, and fat, and so, it would not be considered a weight-loss food. Also, the quality of ingredients can often be dubious. Many companies will use highly processed corn syrups and hydrogenated fats.

Therefore, correct portion control should be recognized when incorporating granola into your diet if you are trying to lose weight. A couple of tablespoons sprinkled on top of plain yogurt is the recommended serving size.

As a rule of thumb, choose granola that has 8g or less sugar per serving and less than 3g fat per serving. This should mean that the calorie count per serving will be 200 kcal or less.

Are There Healthier Granolas Available?

It is possible to find healthier granolas. When shopping, look for brands that use virgin oils such as coconut or olive rather than palm oil or hydrogenated oils. Also, seek out those brands that use less sugar and steer clear of products containing high fructose corn syrup.

The very best way to ensure that the granola you eat contains high-quality ingredients and is low in sugar and fat is to make it yourself. Making granola is fun, and you can vary the ingredients each time to try different combinations. 

Basic Granola Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 cup nuts and seeds
  • 1 cup dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/2 cup olive or coconut oil (melted)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. 
  2. Mix the oil and sweetener in a large bowl.
  3. Add the oats, nuts, and seeds (not the dried fruit) to the bowl and mix well so that the oil and sweetener mixture coats the other ingredients.
  4. Spread the granola over the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and toasty, stirring halfway through.
  5. Add the dried fruit to the granola once cooled and store in an airtight container.

Additional ingredients to vary the flavor:

  • Chocolate chips (add with the dried fruit)
  • Coconut flakes (add with the nuts and seeds)
  • Spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom)
  • Cacao powder
  • Sea salt

The last three options can be stirred into the syrup/oil mixture before incorporating the oats and nuts.

There we have it - a healthy granola recipe that you can try making at home. Mix up the ingredients and try different combinations of nuts, seeds, fruit, and flavorings, and you'll never face a boring breakfast again.

Photo by Dan Counsell on Unsplash

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