Healthy foodies are falling for these new grain-free granolas, thanks in part to their gluten-free and paleo-friendly profile.
Granola is one of those so-called healthy products that tend to be more sugar bomb than superfood. That’s because the crunchy breakfast and snack staple is often loaded with calories, fat, and added sweeteners like honey or agave, which sound good for you but are still just sugar.
“You even need to be careful with granolas made from all real, whole food ingredients,” explains Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, nutritionist and author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean: The Diet. "Very often, the serving size is ¼ or ⅓ cup of granola (as opposed to ¾ cup or 1 cup of other breakfast cereals).” If you don’t stick to that paltry serving size, you may be shocked at how quickly the calories and sugar can add up.
Luckily you don’t need to ban granola from your cupboard. Instead, consider trying a grain-free granola made from nuts and seeds instead of oats. Healthy foodies are falling for grain-free granolas in part because of their gluten-free and paleo-friendly profile, but they offer other benefits as well.
“The perks of a grain-free granola are the good fats, fiber, protein, and plant nutrients of the nuts and seeds included,” explains Bazilian. “Dried fruits also offer vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and sweetness in a form that counts toward a fruit serving but is a bit more convenient and portable, thanks to a longer shelf life and the ability to be packed in your purse or stored in your glove compartment.”
Of course, grain-free granolas can have the same drawbacks as traditional granolas. They can be high in fat (though their fat typically comes from healthier sources) and may contain added sugars. That said, the right brand can be a smart choice. Grain-free granolas are also appealing if you're on a ketogenic diet (depending on the amount of dried fruit the granola contains), going low-carb, or just looking for a trendy nosh. Here are six grain-free granolas to try.