Know your granola

November 12, 2012

Know your granola

It is a very popular breakfast choice for people trying to live healthily and eat a balanced diet, but is your granola really healthy?

Granola is one of those food items which most people assume to be extremely healthy – and that may well be true, certainly they usually contain some great, highly nutritious ingredients. However, shop bought granola often contains too much sugar and even salt which may mean it is anything but a healthy granola. The key is always to read the labels – check the ingredient list to ensure you are indeed buying the healthy choice you were hoping to buy.

What is in the granola?

Even healthy granola may have some ingredients that we may be trying to avoid, knowing what to look for makes it easier to choose healthy granola.

  • Sugar – sweetener, whether in the form of sugar, honey, corn starch or something else, certainly gives granola a great taste – but the levels of sugar can be almost alarming – as high as 18.4g per serving. Look for healthy granola with 5 g or less of sugar per serving – better still make your own unsweetened version.

  • Fat – surprisingly maybe for a healthy product – many granolas contain a high fat content, avoid anything with processed fats in and look for partially hydrogenated soybean or peanut oil instead.

  • Oats – the key ingredient to any healthy granola and one that is especially good for you, oats are high in fiber, are a source of slow release energy, are great for your heart, lower your cholesterol and provide a number of vitamins and minerals – they should be at the top of the ingredients list indicating they are the main item.

  • Nuts and seeds – choosing a granola with a good selection of nuts and seeds has loads of health benefits; nuts and seeds are also good for your heart health, are high in protein which provides long lasting energy; they are full of fiber and are the source for some great vitamins and minerals. If you make your own granola you can include as many different nuts and seeds as you like!

  • Dried fruit – full of nutrients but also full of calories – a healthy option is to choose, or make, granola without any dried fruit and add some of your own fresh items – giving you all the nutrients and taste but with far fewer calories.

Granola for breakfast

Everybody agrees that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and by starting your day with some great tasting healthy granola with skimmed milk or low fat yogurt you will boost your energy levels and your metabolism and make it to lunch time without feeling hungry and filling up on unhealthy snacks.

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