Granola Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

granola nutrition facts and health benefits

Photo: Alexandra Shytsman

Is granola healthy? The answer can depend on how you include the snack food in your total eating plan. But in most cases, granola is less healthy than you would imagine. And if you are trying to slim down or maintain your weight, it may be a food that you want to avoid.

Granola Calories and Nutrition

Classic Granola Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/2 cup (53 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 180 
Calories from Fat 22 
Total Fat 2.5g4%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0.5g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 5mg0%
Carbohydrates 36g12%
Dietary Fiber 4g16%
Sugars 5g 
Protein 6g 
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 2% · Iron 10%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Even though granola sounds healthy, some store-bought brands and even homemade mixes can be a significant source of empty calories in the form of sugar and fat. But granola nutrition depends greatly on the brand that you buy or the way that you make it at home.

For example, according to USDA data, one-half cup of homemade granola usually provides 298 calories, 9 grams of protein, 32 grams of carbohydrate, 5 grams of fiber and 12 grams of sugar.

A half-cup serving of low-fat granola provides 214 calories, 5 grams of protein, 44 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of fiber, 16 grams sugar, and 3 grams of fat.

And how do the brands compare?

  • One half-cup of Sprouts Farmer's Granola provides 240 calories, 3 grams of fat, 47 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams of fiber and 12 grams of sugar.
  • A half cup of President's Choice Organic Honey Almond Granola provides 194 calories, 7.5 calories from fat, 28 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams of fiber and 8 grams of sugar.
  • One-half cup of Sun Country Granola with Almonds made by Quaker Oats provides 266 calories, over 10 grams of fat, 38 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fiber and 11 grams of sugar.
  • Cascadian Farms Dark Chocolate Almond Granola provides 187 calories, almost 4 grams of fat, 34 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of fiber and 12 grams of sugar if you eat a half-cup serving.
  • A single serving (listed at 2/3 cup) of Trader Joe's Just the Clusters Vanilla Almond Granola Cereal provides 220 calories, 34 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams fiber and 12 grams of sugar.

Serving size is also an issue when you evaluate granola nutrition. Some commercial brands (like the one listed on the label) list a serving size as a one-quarter cup. But many people eat far more than that. Granola is a food that is easy to eat mindlessly, especially when you consume it right out of the bag. As a result, you may eat much more than a single serving.

Since the serving size can vary be sure to check the Nutrition Facts label of your favorite brand before you calculate the calories in your granola.

Health Benefits

Granola can provide a quick and convenient source of carbohydrate. Many hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts like to carry granola to fuel their activity when they have a long day of exercise. Granola can also provide a boost of protein if you include nuts, like almonds or walnuts.

But granola can also provide a significant number of calories from added sugar. Some brands are made with added sugar like brown sugar or cane sugar. Also if you buy or make a brand with dried fruit, you'll also get more added sugar.

So should you eat granola or avoid it? It depends on how you use it. If you need a convenient source of carbohydrates, it's a good choice. But dieters might want to skip this food unless they can control the portion size. Eating whole fruit or vegetables at snack time will provide a better source of fiber and healthy calories.

Granola Recipes and Healthy Preparation Ideas

If you make granola at home, you can control the ingredients to fit your nutritional needs. Use these recipes to make your own batch with nearly no fuss.

Once you have your batch of healthy granola, throw it on top of a serving of plain non-fat Greek yogurt for a low-calorie meal in the morning. You can also just enjoy it plain with skim milk. Later in the day, enjoy it with a few fresh veggies as a mid-afternoon snack or top a tiny serving of ice cream with berries and granola for a healthier version of an ice cream sundae.

A Word From Verywell

Granola is a food that carries a "health halo." That means that it has a reputation as a food that is good for you. But since granola calories, fat and sugar add up quickly it's important to take a step back and consider whether it is the best food for you. For many people, it's a smart food to use in certain situations. Like all foods, it's important to get the facts and make informed choices to stay healthy.

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