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The Healthiest Granolas on Grocery Shelves, Say Dietitians

Skip the added-sugar-laden granolas and enjoy the healthier stuff instead.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino
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Granola has a health halo that has stuck around for decades, but not all options are created equal. Although granola is made from wholesome ingredients like oats, seeds, grains, fruit, and natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, the problem with mass-market granola is that popular brands often load up on processed ingredients and have higher amounts of added sugar, saturated fat, sodium, and calories. These unhealthy granolas can trick us into thinking we are eating a nutritious snack when we are actually derailing some of our health goals for the day. But it is possible to find a healthy granola—you just need to use our guide.

If you love the crunchy breakfast staple, use our list of healthy granolas to guide your choices. These options focus on more of the healthiest ingredients like whole grains, nuts, dried fruit, and seeds, and less of the unhealthy ones like added sugars and unnecessary oils.

How to shop for the healthiest granola brands

Just because a granola's package touts that it's organic or uses whole grains doesn't necessarily mean it's healthy. Check the nutrition facts panel and ingredients list to get an accurate picture of what's in your food.

Here's what to focus on to find the best granolas for your health.

  • Serving size: Granola manufacturers often use different serving sizes, ranging from 1/4 to 2/3 cup. It's important to account for the different serving sizes to compare products on equal footing. If one granola appears to be significantly higher in calories, sugar, and fat, it may be because the brand uses a larger serving size. One may appear to be lower in calories and sugar, but it's only because a smaller serving is used on the package.
  • Added sugar: Although granola can be a tasty treat, it often contains excessive amounts of added sugar. A good rule of thumb is to look for granolas with no more than 8 grams (2 teaspoons) of added sugar per serving. Most major public health organizations, like the American Heart Association, recommend limiting added sugars to about 10% of total calories. For women, the AHA recommends no more than 6 teaspoons per day, and for men, 9 teaspoons. Added sugars can masquerade under more than 30 different names, including dextrose, maltose, syrups, nectars, honey, and molasses.
  • Whole grains: The first ingredient on the label of any granola you buy should be a whole grain. Normally, it will be rolled oats, but any type of whole grain is acceptable, including kamut, spelt, quinoa, millet, and buckwheat. This will help ensure that the cereal provides more fiber and protein.
  • Fiber: Look for granola with at least 2 grams of fiber, but this is one nutrient where more is better. Fiber will help you feel fuller longer and help control cravings for carbs and junk food.
  • Sodium and saturated fat: Two nutrients that you want to monitor are sodium and saturated fat. When consumed in excess, these can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other heart-related issues. The good news is that most granolas are not significant sources of either. However, many brands have coconut and coconut oil in their ingredient list, which drives up saturated fat counts. Look for granola with less than 200 milligrams of sodium and no more than 3.5 grams of saturated fat per serving.

    The top 13 healthy granolas to buy

    To find out which brands are healthier than others, we reviewed the package labels on popular granola brands available at national supermarkets and online retailers. Read on, then check out The 50 Healthiest Weight Loss Snacks on Grocery Shelves.

    Bob's Red Mill Homestyle Peanut Butter Granola

    Bob's Red Mill Granola Peanut Butter
    Courtesy of Bob's Red Mill
    Nutrition (Per 1/4-cup):
    Calories: 140
    Fat: 7 g (Saturated Fat: 2.5 g)
    Sodium: 65 mg
    Carbs: 18 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 6 g)
    Protein: 4 g

    Bob's Red Mill Homestyle Granola is a more traditional, back-to-basics recipe with wholesome ingredients like whole grain oats, peanuts, maple syrup, and peanut butter. Nutritionally, the brand does a good job of limiting added sugar to 5 grams (< 2 teaspoons) in this particular flavor. It also has 4 grams of protein, which can help keep you satisfied. With a delicious and decadent peanut butter flavor, this granola is great on its own, with milk, or layered with your favorite yogurt.

    Purely Elizabeth Pumpkin Cinnamon Ancient Grain Granola

    purely elizabeth pumpkin
    Courtesy of purely elizabeth.
    Nutrition (Per 1/3-cup serving):
    Calories: 130
    Fat: 6 g (Saturated Fat: 3.5 g)
    Sodium: 130 mg
    Carbs: 18 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 6 g)
    Protein: 3 g

    This granola is made with whole-grain oats, amaranth, and quinoa flakes, and is sweetened with coconut sugar. It does include coconut oil, which makes it higher in fat and saturated fat than most other granolas. We like that it includes sunflower, chia, and pumpkin seeds for added fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients.

     12 Unhealthiest Cereals—Ranked by Sugar Content

    Bear Naked Vanilla Almond Crisp Granola

    Bear Naked Vanilla Almond Crisp Granola
    Bear Naked
    Nutrition (Per 1/2-cup serving):
    Calories: 220
    Fat: 8 g (Saturated Fat: 1 g)
    Sodium: 150 mg
    Carbs: 36 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 7 g)
    Protein: 6 g

    Bear Naked offers a wide variety of better-for-you granolas, and this lower-sugar option is one of their fan favorites. We like that it has just 110 calories per ¼-cup and less than a teaspoon of added sugar. It does include syrups for sweeteners, but they keep the amount in check. Adding almonds gives this granola a boost of healthy fats and protein.

    KIND Raspberry Granola with Chia Seeds

    bag of KIND banana peanut butter clusters
    KIND
    Nutrition (Per 2/3-cup serving):
    Calories: 250
    Fat: 9 g (Saturated Fat: 2 g)
    Sodium: 90 mg
    Carbs: 37 g (Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 10 g)
    Protein: 10 g

    It's rare to find a granola high in both fiber and protein, but KIND made it happen with their Banana Peanut Butter Clusters.

    "This granola is made with 5 super grains (like oats, millet, and buckwheat), real dried banana, and it boasts 10 grams of protein per serving [thanks to the addition of soy protein isolate]," says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN. While this option has 10 total grams of sugar, only 8 of them are added—the other 2 come from dried banana. Plus, "This non-GMO option is gluten-free and an excellent source of fiber (6 grams per serving, or 21% of your Daily Value)," Manaker adds.

     10 Best High-Fiber Cereals for Weight Loss

    Nature's Path Dark Chocolate and Red Berries Love Crunch Granola

    Nature's Path Love Crunch
    Nature's Path
    Nutrition (Per 1/4-cup serving):
    Calories: 130
    Fat: 5 g (Saturated Fat: 1 g)
    Sodium: 55 mg
    Carbs: 20 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 6 g)
    Protein: 2 g

    For a more decadent-tasting granola, the combo of dark chocolate and tart raspberries is a real treat that won't blow your calorie or sugar budget. Its nutrition facts are solid: Saturated fat is limited to just 1 gram, and it has 6 grams (1.5 teaspoons) of added sugar per serving.

    Go Raw Sprouted Organic Raisin Crunch Granola

    bag of sprouted granola on a white background
    Go Raw
    Nutrition (Per 1/4-cup serving):
    Calories: 110
    Fat: 1.5 g (Saturated Fat: 1 g)
    Sodium: 0 mg
    Carbs: 21 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 7 g)
    Protein: 3 g

    This Sprouted Organic Granola from Go Raw has only 7 ingredients and uses sprouted buckwheat groats as its primary ingredient. Dates, raisins, and vanilla extract provide natural sweetness, so it has no added sugar. Another bonus: it's sodium-free!

     11 Unhealthiest Breakfast Foods on Grocery Shelves

    One Degree Organics Coconut Hibiscus Tea Infused Granola

    bag of One Degree granola on a white background
    One Degree Organic Foods
    Nutrition (Per 1/3-cup serving):
    Calories: 150
    Fat: 7 g (Saturated Fat: 2 g)
    Sodium: 50 mg
    Carbs: 20 g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 5 g)
    Protein: 3 g

    If you want a healthy granola that is low in sugar, uses trustworthy ingredients, and has a unique flavor, Manaker recommends the Coconut Hibiscus Tea Infused Granola from One Degree.

    "One Degree Organics Coconut Hibiscus Granola only contains 5 grams of added sugar, and it is made with organic oats, organic olive oil, and organic hibiscus," she says. "This granola is infused with real tea to give it a unique flavor without having to add any questionable ingredients into the mix."

     25 Unhealthiest Breakfast Foods on the Planet

    Struesli Grain Free Granola

    bag of Struesli Organic Granola
    Struesli
    Nutrition (Per 1/4-cup serving):
    Calories: 160
    Fat: 12 g (Saturated Fat: 2.5 g)
    Sodium: 70 mg
    Carbs: 9 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 2 g)
    Protein: 4 g

    It can be tough to find a tasty granola that's low in sugar, but Struesli achieves this with its organic granola. "Struesli Grain-Free Granola is made with a handful of superfoods like walnuts, hemp hearts, and chia seeds, is free from any added sweeteners, and is certified Organic," says Manaker. Overall, it's a "great option for people avoiding grains in their diets."

    Lil' Bucks Clusterbucks

    bag of Clusterbucks Granola
    Lil Bucks
    Nutrition (Per 1-ounce serving):
    Calories: 110
    Fat: 4.5 g (Saturated Fat: 2 g)
    Sodium: 135 mg
    Carbs: 17 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 5 g)
    Protein: 3 g

    "Clusterbucks Granola Clusters are made from buckwheat, a grain that is a complete source of plant-based protein," says Manaker. "Organic, gluten-free, vegan-friendly….this granola checks all of the boxes."

    Not only is this granola relatively low in sugar, made from whole ingredients, and adaptable for multiple dietary needs, but Manaker adds that "one serving of this granola provides 100% of your daily value of vitamin D."

     30 Healthy Sugar-Free & Low-Sugar Snacks

    KIND Healthy Grains Raspberry Granola With Chia Seeds

    Kind Raspberry Granola
    Courtesy of Kind Snacks
    Nutrition (Per 65-gram serving):
    Calories: 230
    Fat: 4 g (Saturated Fat: 0 g)
    Sodium: 60 mg
    Carbs: 45 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 7 g)
    Protein: 5 g

    This KIND Raspberry Granola has a lower calorie count, thanks to its limited added sugars and fat. It's made with five different whole grains, including oats, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa. This cereal also contains cranberries, raspberries, and chia seeds, adding additional fiber, antioxidants, omega-3s, and other beneficial bioactive compounds.

    Udi's Gluten Free Au Naturel Granola

    Udi's gluten-free granola
    Courtesy of Go Raw
    Nutrition (Per 1/4-cup):
    Calories: 140
    Fat: 6 g (Saturated Fat: 1 g)
    Sodium: 45 mg
    Carbs: 20 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 6 g)
    Protein: 3 g

    Udi's Gluten-Free Granola uses only certified gluten-free whole-grain oats and is sweetened with only honey. It made our best healthy granola list because it has just four ingredients: oats, honey, canola oil, and water. The result is a granola that is low in sugar and has no saturated fat or sodium.

     18 Best Grocery Snacks To Keep You Full & Energized

    Familia Swiss Muesli — No Added Sugar

    Familia Swiss muesli
    Courtesy of Amazon
    Nutrition (Per 1/2-cup serving):
    Calories: 220
    Fat: 3.5 g (Saturated Fat: 0.5 g)
    Sodium: 5 mg
    Carbs: 37 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 7 g)
    Protein: 6 g

    Muesli is generally a healthier Swiss cousin to the American-created granola. They share many of the same ingredients, but muesli is not baked, so it tends to have fewer calories, sugar, and fat than granola. The first and second ingredients in this Swiss Muesli from Familia are whole-grain rolled oats and whole-grain wheat flakes. It is sweetened with more natural ingredients, including dates and raisins, rather than using processed nutrient-poor sweeteners.

    KIND Zerog Added Sugar Apple Cinnamon Nut Granola

    KIND Zerog Added Sugar Apple Cinnamon Nut Granola
    KIND
    Nutrition (Per 1/3-cup serving):
    Calories: 130
    Fat: 10 g (Saturated Fat: 1 g)
    Sodium: 100 mg
    Carbs: 10 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 3 g)
    Protein: 5 g

    This low-carb, higher-fat, oat-free granola has no added sugars thanks to the addition of the zero-calorie sweetener allulose. The 3 grams of sugar in KIND's Apple Cinnamon Nut Granola come naturally from the date powder and dried apples. You'll get a good dose of healthy fats from almonds, sunflower seeds, pecans, and almond butter.

    This story has been updated to include new information, fact-checking, and copyedits.

    Samantha Boesch
    Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha
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