How to find a better granola

Chex, Raisin Bran, Special K, Quaker, Kashi, and Honey Bunches of Oats. They’re all getting into the granola business. Only trouble: granolas are calorie-dense and some don’t deserve their health halo.

One reason is unrealistic serving sizes. Take Bear Naked Honey Almond Granola. A serving has just 150 calories, says the label. But that’s if you eat only ¼ cup, or about a handful. As if!

Bear Naked and some other brands of granola cheat by using the 1 ounce serving size for snacks, when they should be using the 2 ounce serving size for heavy cereals.

Another problem: Some granolas are loaded with sugar. Take Kashi Organic Cocoa & Coconut. A 2/3-cup serving (twice the puny serving shown on the label) has about 4 teaspoons of added sugar. That’s two-thirds of the maximum amount of added sugar–6 teaspoons–that the American Heart Association recommends for most American women for the entire day.

For a decent granola, check out some of the lower-sugar granolas by Kind GranolaEngine 2 Plant-Strong (sold at Whole Foods) and Kind.

Or try muesli, which Alpen calls “granola’s fit and Swiss cousin.” Just be sure to pay attention to the serving size on muesli, too. Unlike with granolas, we had no trouble finding no-sugar-added mueslis.

Here’s what to look for when you’re shopping for granola or muesli:

  • All or nearly all whole grains
  • No more than 2 ½ teaspoons of sugar per serving (except fruit-rich mueslis that list fruit before sugar in the ingredients list)
  • No unsafe sweeteners (like acesulfame potassium or sucralose)
  • Less than 3 grams of saturated fat per serving

Or make your own Swiss muesli with this quick and delish recipe from The Healthy Cook, Kate Sherwood:

Grate 1 apple or pear. Mix the grated fruit with 1/4 cup of dry rolled oats and 1/2 cup of 0% Greek yogurt. Allow to stand for 15 minutes or overnight. Top with 2 tablespoons of chopped pecans or walnuts. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of honey.

Swiss Muesli from Kate doesn’t accept any paid advertising or corporate or government funding. Any products recommended by have been vetted by our staff of nutritionists and are not advertisements by the manufacturers.


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