Many Americans enjoy a bowl of granola cereal first thing in the morning. Although it may taste good, is it really healthy?
Granola cereal is synonymous with the movement towards healthy and natural eating. What health food store or natural food market doesn’t have boxes or bins of read-to-eat granola cereal available? The general perception is that you’re doing something good for your body when you snack on a bowl of granola; but is granola cereal really healthy?
Is Granola Healthy: What Is It?
Granola cereal is usually a mixture of grains, seeds, whole oats, nuts, raisins, and dried fruit pieces that are baked until brown and crispy. They’re marketed as a snack that can be eaten by the handful or served as a quick, high energy breakfast when topped with milk. Sometimes granola is made into soft, chewy granola bars that can serve as a quick breakfast on the go.
Is Granola Healthy?: The Reality
Despite granola cereal’s popularity with the health food crowd, granola may not be as healthy as the media has made it out to be, especially if calorie counting is an issue. Granola cereals are surprisingly high in calories especially when compared to other options such as old-fashioned oat cereal. This is because many granola cereals have been sprayed with sweet syrups or honey to give them added sweetness and make them more appealing to a larger audience. Some granola cereals also have additional ingredients such as chocolate chips that add additional sugar and calories. Many granola cereals are higher in calories and sugar than standard breakfast cereals and are essentially nothing more than glorified cookies.
The Good Aspects of Granola
Despite the sugar and calories, granola cereal may have some health benefits. The whole grains and nuts provide a good source of fiber for digestive health; and a few granola cereals are low fat or fat-free. Some granola cereals contain nuts which have health benefits for the heart, particularly walnuts with their high omega-3 content.
How to Choose a Healthy Granola Cereal
To choose a healthy granola cereal, look for one that has five or less grams of sugar and that’s low fat or fat free. Watch out for brands that are high in calories. With a little searching, you should be able to find a granola cereal with less than 150 calories per serving. To reduce the calorie load even further, use skim milk instead of whole milk.
The Ultimate Healthy Granola Cereal
It’s not difficult to make a healthy granola cereal at home using nuts, oats, and dried fruits from your local natural food market. There are a variety of recipes available online for healthy granola cereals that can be made right in your own oven. This is a great way customize the ingredients to suit your taste and health requirements without exposing you or your family to the refined sugars and preservatives found in so many cereals. When it come to healthy granola cereals, it’s best to think out of the box and make your own.