If you love granola in the morning, but are keeping a gluten-free lifestyle, then your alarm should be going off—and not just your 8 a.m. iPhone one. That's because granola is traditionally one of the unhealthiest "health" foods on the planet, with clusters of oats or grains welded together by unhealthy added sugars and fattening oils. In fact, some brands have as much sugar as three Krispy Kreme doughnuts! Secondly, most granolas are not naturally gluten-free because rolled oats (the foundation of granola) are likely to have been contaminated in the oat-cutting process, unless it was done in a GF-certified facility.
Therefore, finding a brand that is both healthy and gluten-free can be quite a challenge—one you may not want to tackle before 9 a.m. Good thing we here at Eat This, Not That! woke up early and did the research for you. Our team of researchers studied the top 15 brands of gluten-free granola and ranked them, so you can enjoy those golden clusters of goodness.
How We Ranked Them
First, forget calories and fat for a hot second—after all, one is energy, and the other keeps you full—and focus instead on something a bit more concerning: Added sugars. Your ideal bowl of granola has less than 7 grams of sugar per serving—and many of the following do. We also took into account the quality of the ingredients.
The list begins with the brands that have either questionable ingredients and/or high sugar content and then whittles down to ones with the least of the two. Choose from those, and you're golden! And if you love granola, then you're probably an oats fan, too—in which case, don't miss out on these 48 best overnight oats recipes!
Bob's Red Mill Honey Oat Granola
Ingredients: Whole grain rolled oats, cane sugar, brown rice, canola oil, honey, molasses, oat syrup solids, salt, vanilla extract (vanilla bean extractives, alcohol, water), mixed tocopherols (antioxidants).
The famous oatmeal maker has also cranked out a tasty gluten-free friendly granola. However, out of the 10 ingredients listed, a staggering 40 percent of them are sugar. There are better gluten-free granolas out there.
Safe + Fair Blueberry Cinnamon Granola
Ingredients: Oats, brown rice syrup, cane sugar, sunflower oil, dried blueberries, brown rice, millet, cinnamon, sea salt.
Safe + Fair commendably excludes eight of the top allergens from its granola recipe. While this nut-free, vegan pick doesn't serve up a high calorie count, it's too high in sugar—with brown rice syrup and cane sugar listed as the second and third ingredients. Thankfully, it sneaks in some warm cinnamon, which helps stabilize your blood sugar.
Bakery on Main Extreme Fruit & Nut Granola
Ingredients (per 11 oz. bag): Multigrain & bean crisps (cornmeal, brown rice, millet, cane sugar, corn starch, rice extract, teff, caramelized pear juice concentrate, navy beans), cane sugar, mixed nuts (almonds, dried coconut, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans), canola oil, sunflower seeds, invert cane sugar, raisins (raisins, sunflower oil), flax seeds, sesame seeds, sweetened dried cranberries (cranberries, sugar, sunflower oil), natural flavors, sea salt.
While this list is decked out in healthy fruit and nuts, we don't like that the recipe sneaks in five different types of sugar. Another sketchy observation: Bakery on Main's 11-ounce bag and the 22-ounce bag of the Extreme Nut & Fruit Granola contain different ingredient lists. However, one particular ingredient that shines above the rest is Brazil nuts because you don't often see these added into a granola mix. Brazil nuts are loaded with selenium, which plays a vital role in metabolic functions, the immune system, and even reproductive health—just two of them puts you over your daily need.
UDI's Au Naturel Granola
Ingredients: Certified gluten-free oats, wildflower honey, canola oil.
Only three ingredients? That sounds impressive—but the ingredients themselves aren't so. We're not sure why Udi's added canola oil to the mix. We docked points because we would've liked to see the fat content in this supported by healthy fats such as omega-3-packed chia and flax seeds or some nuts. In case you were wondering, the eight grams of protein printed on the front of the bag refers to a half-cup serving, which clocks in at 270 calories.
Jessica's Natural Foods Vanilla Maple Granola
Ingredients: Certified gluten-free rolled oats, organic honey, brown sugar, expeller pressed sunflower oil, ground flax seed, coconut, water, maple syrup, pure vanilla extract, sea salt, cinnamon, tocopherols (natural vitamin E).
Make sure to not exceed one serving on the regular because the sugar content in here will add up. There is a notable aspect to this granola, however, that gives it a higher ranking—and that's ground flaxseed. "Flaxseeds are a great addition to granolas, but they do need to be ground for our body to absorb the beneficial nutrients," April Bruns, RDN, LD, tells us.
"It does take some effort to grind them up, which is why people turn to pre-ground flaxseeds. Unfortunately, pre-ground flaxseeds are exposed to oxygen. Over time this exposure causes nutrients, such as polyunsaturated fats, to break down. Food preservation and packaging can slow the oxidation down, so you are still getting similar protein, fiber, total fat, vitamins, and minerals," she explains. If you are looking for granola with flaxseeds, Bruns suggests looking for packaging that limits exposure to light and oxygen to gain the most benefit. "Keep the granola stored in the refrigerator to ensure the flaxseeds maintain freshness and do not go rancid."
Nature's Path Gluten-Free Honey Almond Granola
Ingredients: Gluten-free rolled oats*, evaporated cane juice*, sunflower oil*, roasted almonds*, clover honey*, flavor*, rice starch*, sea salt, chia seeds*, tocopherol (Vitamin E). (* = Organic ingredient)
Uncomplicated and low in fat! Sprinkle a serving atop your morning yogurt or oats for an extra sweet crunch. However, you'll want to stick to the serving size with this gluten-free granola, as it's higher in sugar than many of our other brands.
One Degree Organic Foods Gluten-Free Sprouted Granola Vanilla Chia
Ingredients: Gluten-free organic oats, organic cane sugar, organic brown rice, organic sunflower oil, organic flax seeds, organic sunflower seeds, organic chia seeds, organic vanilla, unrefined salt, tocopherols (vitamin E).
Chia seeds are just one of the many seeds that are trickled throughout an abundance of sprouted goodness! Notice that a decent amount of the ingredients in this granola are sprouted, and when seeds are sprouted, it improves digestibility and even increases their nutritional value. While we love that One Degree's website is so transparent about where each ingredient comes from, there's just too much cane sugar in this to qualify as our top pick.
Gatherer's Bee's Knees Granola
Ingredients: Gluten-free rolled oats, expeller pressed canola oil, wildflower honey, walnuts, pistachios, cane sugar, natural flavors, sea salt.
This simple yet sweet granola would be the perfect topping for a traditional parfait. Add a serving of this to a cup of plain Greek yogurt and a half-cup of strawberries for a delicious, protein- and vitamin C-packed dish!
Glutenfreeda's Apple Almond Honey Granola
Ingredients: Certified gluten-free oats, apples, almonds, honey, flax seeds.
Bits of apples and almonds give this granola a hearty vibe. We love that this breakfast pick is made with just five wholesome superfoods. Sprinkle a serving atop mashed sweet potatoes for a killer casserole. Another genius idea? Blend some granola into your morning smoothie!
Bear Naked Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Granola
Ingredients: Whole grain oats*, cane sugar*, hazelnut butter*, expeller pressed sunflower oil*, whole oat flour*, hazelnuts*, semisweet chocolate* (cane sugar*, chocolate*, cocoa butter*, soy lecithin*, vanilla extract*), sunflower seeds*, honey*, pumpkin seeds*, chocolate*, sea salt, rosemary extract* for freshness. (* = Organic ingredient)
Is your sweet tooth hankering for a Nutella on toast breakfast? Skip the nutrition-void combo and opt for Bear Naked's dark chocolate hazelnut granola. It's packed with healthy-fat-filled hazelnut butter, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds and will nix your chocolate craving right in the bud!
KIND Vanilla Blueberry Clusters with Flax Seeds
Ingredients: Oats, cane sugar, brown rice, flax seeds, chicory root fiber, buckwheat, canola oil, millet, vanilla extract, amaranth, molasses, blueberry puree, apple puree concentrate, plum puree concentrate, brown rice syrup, quinoa, apple juice concentrate, glycerine, citrus fiber, citrus pectin, sea salt.
If you are a connoisseur of KIND bars, you're going to love this blueberry and vanilla-infused breakfast. The super-grain blend and flax seeds are two ingredients that provide a glut of nutrition. However, we're not sure why KIND opted for adding fruit purees, concentrates, brown rice syrup, and molasses—all sources of sugar—to its granola. Thankfully, the overall sugar content isn't too high.
Purely Elizabeth Banana Nut Butter Grain-Free Granola
Ingredients: Cashews, organic pumpkin seeds, organic sunflower seeds, organic coconut sugar, organic banana purée (banana, citric acid, ascorbic acid), organic coconut flakes, cashew butter, organic raw virgin coconut oil, organic chia seeds, organic hemp seeds, vanilla extract, cinnamon sea salt.
With organic and wholesome ingredients filling the ingredient list, you are bound to receive plentiful nutrition. We love that you'll find that cashews are the most abundant ingredient in Purely Elizabeth's pick, which accounts for eight percent of your daily value of anemia-fighting iron as well as some mood-boosting magnesium. Take note that this bag of banana granola lists a slightly larger serving size than most at a third-cup.
Go Raw Sprouted Granola, Coco Crunch
Ingredients: Organic sprouted buckwheat groats, organic dates, organic sprouted sunflower seeds, organic sprouted sesame seeds, organic coconut, organic hemp seeds, organic cacao, organic vanilla extract, sea salt.
Go Raw's Coco Crunch Sprouted Granola is high in sugar compared to our other picks, but it's sweetened with dates, which are low-glycemic and safe for diabetics because they don't spike blood sugar as much as cane sugar does, a Nutrition Journal study found. Plus, there's plenty of fiber in this pick to help stabilize blood sugar and keep cravings at bay.
Sakara Classic Superfood Granola
Ingredients: Gluten-free rolled oats, organic almonds, organic coconut chips, organic raw wildflower honey, organic dried goji berries, organic coconut oil, pink Himalayan salt.
Don't fret the relatively high saturated fat content in this bag—Sakara adds coconut oil and coconut chips into its recipe, which are jam-packed with fat-burning MCTs. This superfood-packed pick also contains juicy goji berries, a prime source of free-radical-busting antioxidants.
Lark Ellen Farm Pumpkin Fig Granola
Ingredients: Sprouted raw nut & seed mix* (sprouted sunflower seeds*, sprouted pumpkin seeds*, sprouted almonds*, sprouted walnuts*, sprouted cashews*), maple syrup*, pumpkin purée*, coconut*, figs*, vanilla extract*, cinnamon*, sea salt, spice. (* = organic ingredient)
If you are on the prowl for other low-carb snacks, add this one to the list. With only five grams of sugar and full of sprouted nuts and seeds, you will be overwhelmed with vitamins and minerals. What a great way to kickstart your day!