If you love granola in the morning, but are keeping gluten-free, 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 1) healthy and 2) 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 at seven. Our team of researchers studied the top 20 brands of gluten-free granola and ranked them, so you can enjoy those golden clusters of goodness guilt-free.
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 (and sometimes even the number) of ingredients.
The list begins with the brands that have either questionable ingredients and/or high sugar content and then whittles down to ones 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 50 Best Overnight Oats Recipes!
Gluten-free Chex Granola Mix: Honey Nut
Nutrition: 130 calories, 4 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 35 mg sodium, 20 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 2 g protein (serving size is ⅓ cup)
Ingredients (13): Whole grain oats, sugar, canola oil, whole grain rice, rice, almond pieces, honey, molasses, rice flour, salt, baking soda, natural flavor, vitamin E and BHT (added for freshness)
While the number of ingredients may not be alarming, there is one element that stands out above the rest. And not in the good sense of the phrase. Vitamin E and BHT are added to ensure the product does not go stale. Vitamin E, of course, is a safe preservative to consume. The effects of BHT, on the other hand, have yet to be determined; however, the University of California-Berkeley has conducted research that leads us to believe it's one you want to limit ingesting. Eat This! has even ranked it as number right on the 23 Worst Food Additives in America! That's because it's a petroleum-derived antioxidant used to preserve fats and oils, but research also indicates that BHT is linked to an increased risk of cancer in animals. It's hard to say whether these effects would be prevalent in humans, but experts say to avoid it as much as possible to err on the side of caution.
Kashi Go Lean Clusters' Vanilla Pepita
Nutrition: 230 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 85 mg sodium, 37 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 3 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 9 g protein (serving size is 1 cup)
Ingredients (15): Sorghum, rolled oats, brown rice syrup, dried cane syrup, red bean flakes, pea crisps (pea protein, rice starch), expeller pressed sunflower oil, pepitas, acacia gum, whole oat flour, millet, vanilla extract, baking soda, salt, mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) for freshness.
You probably looked at that first ingredient and thought what the heck is sorghum? Also known as the possible "next quinoa," sorghum is an ancient whole grain that, when ground, is used as a substitute for wheat flour. Since it does not include gluten— the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley— it requires a binding agent which in this case is acacia gum. While two ingredients are not the ones to be skeptical of, it does contribute to the whopping 15 ingredients in this granola, a majority of which are syrups and starch-related substitutes. If you must consume starch, opt for food items resistant starch because it prompts weight loss!
KIND Vanilla Blueberry Clusters W/ Flax Seeds
Nutrition: 210 calories, 5 g fat (0.5g saturated fat), 60 mg sodium, 36 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 5 g protein (serving size is ½ cup)
Ingredients (18): Whole grain blend (oats, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa), dried cane syrup, flax seeds, chicory root fiber, canola oil, vanilla extract, molasses, apple puree concentrate, plum puree concentrate, apple juice concentrate, blueberries, brown rice syrup, glycerin, sea salt, Vitamin E (to maintain freshness), citrus fiber, citrus pectin,
If you are a connoisseur of KIND bars, give our KIND Bars— Ranked piece a read, so you can see how your fave flavor compares to all the others. But this article is devoted to granola and this one is chock-full of ingredients; 18 to be exact. The whole grain blend flax seeds are two ingredients that provide a glut of nutrition, however, the purees, concentrates, brown rice syrup and molasses all donate a generous amount of sugar to this package. A bit too much.
Trader Joe's Cranberry Maple Nut Gluten-free Granola
Nutrition: 140 calories, 6 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 20 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 2 g protein (serving size is ⅓ cup)
Ingredients (15): Cornmeal, evaporated cane syrup, brown rice, expeller pressed canola oil, dried cranberry (cranberry, sugar, sunflower oil), sunflower seeds, almonds, sesame seed, flax seed, corn starch, rice bran extract, pecans, natural flavors, caramel color, sea salt
Thanks to the new and improved nutrition label, listing any added sugars will soon be a requirement. Unfortunately for this product all eight grams of its sugar is classified as added. Only 10 percent of your daily intake of calories should be devoted to added sugars (if any at all), and just one serving size of this granola kills 33 percent of your daily consumption.
Granola Jones Spice-A-Delic
Nutrition: 140 calories, 6 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 22 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 15 g sugar, 2 g protein (serving size is ¼ cup)
Ingredients (8): Dried cranberries, oats, organic canola oil, pepitas, honey, brown sugar, spices, garlic powder
Yikes! 15 grams of sugar? While the ingredients list is fairly low and comprised of relatively nutrient-dense components (with dried cranberries, oats, and pepitas all at the top of the list), 15 grams of sugar is excessive for a measly ¼ cup serving. Despite the cranberry's infection-fighting powers, just ⅓ cup of these lil guy packs 26 grams of sugar. With the inclusion of these and supplemented with the honey and brown sugar, it's no wonder why this savory granola attracts those with a hankering for a sweet granola.
Bob's Red Mill Honey Oat Granola
Nutrition: 210 calories, 5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 37 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 11 g sugar, 5 g protein (serving size ½ cup)
Ingredients (10): Whole grain rolled oats, brown sugar, expeller pressed canola oil, brown rice honey, brown rice syrup, pure vanilla extract, sea salt, vitamin E
The famous oatmeal maker has also cranked out a tasty gluten-free friendly granola. While this one has just a bit more ingredients than the previous option, it still has less sugar than if you doubled the portion size to be the same as the Granola Jones Spice-A-Delic option.
Cocomama Crunched Out Fudgy Chocolate
Nutrition: 220 calories, 8 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 37 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 4 g protein (serving size is ¾ cup)
Ingredients (11): Cocomama Super Whole Grain & Seed Blend (brown rice flour crisps, sorghum flour, quinoa, millet, flax seed, buckwheat, amaranth, teff), invert evaporated cane syrup, tapioca syrup, unsweetened chocolate, non-GMO canola, safflower and/or sunflower oil, cane sugar, hazelnut flour, natural flavors, vanilla extract
Check out that grain and seed blend! Quinoa has righteously called one of the best plant-based foods, because of its vitamin and mineral content. But how often do you hear about buckwheat or teff? Not so much. It's a shame because these two have just as many remarkable health benefits as quinoa, if not more! Teff, for example, provides double the iron and nearly four times the amount of calcium and as quinoa. Buckwheat and quinoa alike contain all nine essential amino acids— they are two of the rare foods derived from a plant that houses these muscle-building compounds! The best part? With this granola, you get to reap the benefits of all three.
Bakery on Main Extreme Fruit and Nut Granola
Nutrition: 140 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 18 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 2 g protein (serving size is ⅓ cup)
Ingredients (20): Cornmeal, evaporated cane juice, brown rice, expeller pressed canola oil, sunflower seeds, raisins, almonds, sesame seed, flax seed, coconut, walnuts, hazelnuts, dried cranberries (cranberries, sugar, sunflower oil), corn starch, Brazil nuts, rice bran extract, natural flavors, pecans, caramel color, sea salt
A list of 20 ingredients is pushing it for sure, but unlike some of the other lesser ingredient options at the top, the majority of the six grams of sugar are coming from dried fruits as opposed to syrups. This list is decked out in healthy fruit and nuts! 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 in 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.
Nature's Path Gluten-Free Honey Almond Granola
Nutrition: 140 calories, 4.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 65 mg sodium, 21 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 3 g protein (serving size is ¼ cup)
Ingredients (10): gluten-free rolled oats, cane sugar, sunflower oil, roasted almonds, clover honey, flavor, rice starch, sea salt, chia seeds, tocopherol (Vitamin E)
Uncomplicated and low in fat! Even though that's not our main focus here, it is still worth pointing out since the fat content in granola is notorious for being high. Sprinkle a serving atop your morning yogurt or oats for an extra sweet crunch.
Jessica's Natural Foods Vanilla Maple Granola
Nutrition: 130 calories, 6 g fat (0.5 g fat), 30 mg sodium, 18 g carbs, 3g fiber, 7 g sugar, 3 g protein (serving size is ¼ cup)
Ingredients (12): 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)
Just ¼ cup provides 3 g of protein, that's pretty impressive for such a small serving of breakfast cereal. Make sure to not exceed one serving on the regular, though, because the sugar content will add up. There is a notable aspect to this granola, however, that gives it a higher ranking and that's ground flaxseed. When flaxseed is ground, it actually enables you to extract the most nutrients from them! Why? The hulls (its shell, essentially) is so hard that if you eat them whole, they will pass right through your digestive system without being broken down, which ultimately, prohibits you from securing any of its omega-3s! Lucky for you the seed in this treat is in digest-ready form.
Chappaqua Crunch Simply Granola Vanilla and Flax
Nutrition: 110 calories, 2 g fat (0g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 20 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 4 g protein (serving size is ½ cup)
Ingredients (10): gluten-free whole grain rolled oats, evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup, organic crisp brown rice, gluten-free oat bran, flaxseed meal, natural vanilla flavor, non-GMO, canola oil, salt
Low in sugar and relatively high in protein, this granola is the move! This cereal is stacked in whole grains and 3 g of fiber for just a smidgen over 100 calories.
Two Moms in the Raw Cacao Nib Crunch Granola
Nutrition: 110 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 35 mg sodium, 16 carbs, 3 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 3 g protein (serving size is ⅓ cup)
Ingredients (17): Sprouted certified gluten-free oats groats, coconut nectar, sprouted sunflower seeds, sprouted millet, sprouted buckwheat, sprouted buckwheat, sprouted pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, apples, cacao nibs, sesame seeds, flax seeds, sprouted pecans, sprouted almonds, cinnamon, chia seeds, sea salt, vanilla
This granola is laden in nutrition, so forget about the number of ingredients in this package because quality certainly outweighs quantity in this case. Chia seeds are just one of the many seeds that are trickled throughout an abundance of sprouted goodness! Notice that nearly half of the ingredients in this granola are sprouted, and when seeds are sprouted it reduces their gluten content, improves digestibility, and even increases their nutritional value. For more information on sprouted foods click, here!
One Planet Food Totally Free
Nutrition: 230 calories, 8 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 10 mg sodium, 34 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 7 g sugars, 7 g protein (serving ½ cup)
Ingredients (8): Whole grain oats, pumpkin seeds, dried mulberries, coconut, blueberries, agave nectar, maple syrup, sunflower oil
Not only does this granola have a fun, earthy name, it also has a diverse set of ingredients. Dried mulberries are probably the most obscure, seeing as you normally find this in its fresh form in a pie or maybe even in a jelly/jam. Regardless, it's here and ready for you to enjoy. Something unusual about mulberries it has rather high iron levels; not something you typically see in fruit!
Purely Elizabeth Banana Nut Butter Grain-Free Granola
Nutrition: 150 calories, 11 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 100 mg sodium, 9 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 5 g protein (serving size is ⅓ cup)
Ingredients (12): Cashews, organic pumpkin seeds, organic sunflower seeds, organic banana puree (banana, citric acid, ascorbic acid), organic coconut palm sugar, organic coconut flakes, organic raw virgin coconut oil, cashew butter, organic chia seeds, organic hemp seeds, vanilla extract, cinnamon sea salt.
With organic and wholesome ingredients filling the ingredients list, you are bound to receive plentiful nutrition. Not to mention, a distinctive nut butter is hiding in here: Cashew butter. Despite the number of ingredients, the carb count is extremely low clocking in at just 9 grams.
Lark Ellen Farm Pumpkin Fig Granola
Nutrition: 140 calories, 11 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 45 mg sodium, 9 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 4 g protein (serving size is ¼ cup)
Ingredients (13): Pure organic maple syrup, sprouted raw sunflower seeds, sprouted raw almonds, sprouted raw pepitas, sprouted raw walnuts, sprouted raw cashews, sprouted raw pecans, organic pumpkin, unsweetened shredded raw coconut, organic figs, pure vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, sea salt.
If you are on the prowl for other low carb snacks, add this one to the list! With only 5 grams of sugar and full of sprouted, raw nuts and seeds you will be overwhelmed with vitamins and minerals. What a great way to kickstart your day!
UDI's Pure & Simple Au Naturel Granola
Nutrition: 140 calories, 4.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 0mg sodium, 22 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 3 g protein (serving size is ¼ cup)
Ingredients (3): Certified gluten-free oats, wildflower honey, canola oil
Only three ingredients? Now that's impressive! A warning, though: If you double the serving, you will be at just as much sugar as the Granola-Jones Spice-A-Delic variation.
Glutenfreeda's Apple Almond Honey Granola
Nutrition: 120 calories, 4 g fat (0g saturated fat), 5 mg sodium, 19 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 3 g protein (serving size is ¼ cup)
Ingredients (9): Certified gluten-free oats, almonds, brown sugar, organic honey, apples, canola oil, flax seeds, contains less than 0.5% vanilla extract and cinnamon.
Bits of apples and almonds give this granola a fall-esque vibe; sprinkle a serving atop mashed sweet potatoes for a killer casserole. Another genius idea? Blend some granola into your morning Zero Belly Smoothie! You can lose up to 16 pounds in 14 days, compliments of the 150+ delicious drinks in Zero Belly Smoothies—available on Amazon!
Granola Jones French Toast Granola
Nutrition: 130 calories, 5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 20 mg sodium, 18 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 3 g protein (serving size is ¼ cup)
Ingredients: Organic oats, almonds, honey, canola oil, sugar, spice blend (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, pepper), vanilla extract, salt
Fun fact about this spice blend, notice that it contains cardamom which is coined the "Queen of Spices." Why? Well, it's known to help cure anything from dental diseases to urinary tract infections and even erectile dysfunction! Yeesh, you may want to get your own stash of the spice and sprinkle a little extra on! Also, the sugar content in this granola is nice and low, which is right where you want it to be.
Gatherer's Bee's Knees Granola
Ingredients (8): Gluten-free rolled oats, expeller pressed canola oil, wildflower honey, walnuts, pistachios, cane sugar, natural flavors, sea salt.
Nutrition: 130 calories, 6 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 10 mg sodium, 16 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 3 g protein (serving size ¼ cup)
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!
Go Raw Super Simple Sprouted Granola
Nutrition: 230 calories, 4 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 10 mg sodium, 47 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 3 g protein (serving size is ⅓ cup)
Ingredients (2): Sprouted buckwheat groats, sprouted flaxseed
And finally, the number one gluten-free granola is Go Raw's Super Simple Sprouted Granola. The name is literally not kidding when it says, super simple. This is as basic and down-to-the-nutrient as you can get! With one gram of sugar and two ingredients, you really cannot get any narrower; therefore, it's our winner! Slice half a banana atop a serving of this granola for some extra potassium and flavor and enjoy this healthy, gluten free granola breakfast while you read up on the 21 Amazing Things Bananas Do to Your body!