We realize: No tasty breakfast without crunchy granola. Whether as a topping on the smoothie bowl, pure with almond drink and a few blueberries or as a crunch on your Overnight Oats: Granola, also known as crunchy muesli, tastes heavenly good and provides a good bite in the breakfast bowl.
But if something is this incredibly good it can't be healthy - can it?
- What is granola and what is it made of?
- How healthy are the ingredients of granola?
- Healthy ingredients of granola: The ratio counts
- Sugar trap or healthy crunchy breakfast? Conclusion
- DIY healthy Granola
What is granola and what is it made of?
One thing right from the start: It depends
What is granola anyway? Granola refers to a crunchy cereal whose base consists of cereal flakes and nuts. It is baked in a sweet oil mixture to form crunchy clusters and refined with dried fruits, cocoa nibs or chocolate and spices such as vanilla or cinnamon.
Crunchy muesli from the supermarket usually consists of a mixture of oat and wheat flakes or cereal crispies, sunflower or palm oil and refined sugar. Glucose syrup, whole milk powder and wheat flour are also often hidden in the ready-made products. The base of homemade crunchy muesli is usually oats, which are baked in coconut oil and honey, coconut blossom sugar or maple syrup to form granola. The big advantage: You decide what goes into your granola - and how sweet it should be.
Most ready-made crunchy mueslis no longer have much to do with healthy enjoyment: Granolas from major brands often contain no less than 25 grams of sugar per 100 grams. It's worth checking the list of ingredients and nutrient facts before buying.
If you prepare granola yourself, you can prevent it from becoming a sugar bomb and calorie trap.
How healthy are the ingredients of granola?
How healthy a granola is depends on its ingredients. The ingredient list of crunchy mueslis from the supermarket is usually long and contains palm oil and unnecessary additives in addition to refined sugar. Homemade granola is often the better option - but only if the recipe is right. To assess whether granola is healthy or not, it's worth taking a closer look at the basic ingredients of a healthy granola:
The Base: Oats or Other Types of Grains
Oatmeal - whether it's rolled or instant oats - is a healthy base for crunchy fun. They consist of long-chain carbohydrates and vegetable protein, which ensure a long-lasting feeling of satiety and do not cause blood sugar levels to spike abruptly after consumption. They also contain the dietary fiber beta-glucan, which binds cholesterol and can thus naturally regulate cholesterol levels in the blood. The flakes also contain B vitamins, magnesium and iron.
Beware of cereal crispies: unlike flakes made from grains, these are highly processed cereals made at high temperatures with lots of sugar.
Granola: The mix makes it healthy
Cereals from the whole grain are to be preferred, as they contain valuable minerals and many satiating fibers. For a delicious granola, you don't always have to rely on flakes: Puffed cereals, such as puffed amaranth, are also ideal for a crunchy granola. It provides bite and tastes particularly good in combination with cereal flakes.
Better use cereals from whole grains, as they contain valuable minerals and many nutritious fibers. For a delicious granola you do not always have to rely on flakes: Puffed cereals, such as puffed amaranth, are also ideal for a crunchy granola. It provides bite and tastes particularly good in combination with cereal flakes..
Our tip: A mix of whole grain flakes and puffed pseudo cereals (for example whole grain spelt flakes and puffed amaranth) complements each other perfectly and provides a lot of fiber.
Breakfast lovers who are sensitive to wheat or suffer from celiac disease should avoid gluten-containing cereals made from wheat or spelt. Gluten-free alternatives are rice, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth or millet.
Nuts, seeds and kernels
Whether whole or chopped: Nuts, kernels and seeds are an excellent completion to granola. They provide valuable unsaturated fats and add that extra crunch. Not to mention the wonderful roasted aromas they develop during baking.
Nuts and seeds are also rich in plant based protein and provide vital amino acids that the body cannot produce itself. So nuts in granola are an excellent idea for a healthy breakfast. Almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia or flax seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pecans or macadamia nuts are particularly suitable.
The high amount of minerals and omega-3 fatty acids also makes nuts a must-have granola for all early morning athletes. Why? The polyunsaturated fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect and, together with magnesium, support muscle regeneration. Goodbye, sore muscles!
Refined sugar is often used to sweeten crunchy granola - and not too little. While this sweetening method is cheap and easy, refined sugar provides no nutritional benefit and often turns granola into an unhealthy sugar trap.
Better alternatives for sweetening are for example honey, maple syrup or coconut blossom syrup. Unlike white granulated sugar, coconut blossom syrup still contains numerous micronutrients. Another advantage of liquid sweeteners is that they provide the sticky texture of granola clusters when combined with oil. In granola with refined sugar, this effect is achieved with binders and other additives.
Unlike sunflower or palm oil, coconut oil not only provides a unique taste. Thanks to its saturated fatty acid content, coconut oil can be heated unhesitatingly and is therefore ideal for baking muesli clusters.
Healthy ingredients of Granola: The ratio matters
Okay: A crunchy muesli made from whole grain cereal flakes and nuts is healthier than a granola made from cereal crispies. But even the healthiest basic ingredients are of no use if they are prepared with kilos of sugar and cheap oil. Without oil and sweeteners, however, the granola will neither be tasty nor will the typical crunchy clusters form. That's why the ratio in which they are used is so important.
A healthier version of granola contains a good 50 percent whole grains or pseudocereals, which provide fiber and complex carbohydrates and provide a satiating base.
The sweetener should not make up more than a quarter of the recipe and the oil should also be used sparingly: About 1 tablespoon (which is about 10 g) per 100 grams is enough.
You will often find other ingredients in the crunchy granola as well: coconut chips, dried fruits or cocoa nibs. They make the granola really nice, but are often also high in calories, sugar or fat. However, they should only be used sparingly.
The same applies to chocolate: Since it often contains a lot of sugar, there should be no more than 10 percent chocolate in 100 grams of crunchy muesli. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar it contains.
Spices provide flavor, are low in calories and may end up in the granola as the mood takes you: Cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom...
How much sugar can I have?
The German Nutrition Society recommends that simple sugars, such as household sugar, should not account for more than 10% of total daily energy intake. This means that for an energy requirement of 2,000 kilocalories, no more than 50 g of sugar should be consumed. With 100 g of crunchy muesli from the supermarket, half the recommended amount of sugar quickly ends up in the bowl - only for breakfast!
That's why it's important to make sure you don't eat too much sugar for breakfast and enjoy granola as a tasty add-on rather than on its own. After all, the day is still long.
Is granola suitable for weight loss?
Granola can help you lose weight. Excuse me? Yes, that's right. Thanks to its crunchy texture and sweet taste, granola - used sparingly - is the ideal complement to porridge or overnight oats. Not only does it stave off sweet cravings, but it also helps prevent food cravings later on. But be careful: it's all about the dose. More than half a handful of granola a day can be counterproductive for weight loss.
Is Granola vegan?
No, not always. If honey, butterfat, milk chocolate or whey powder are used, granola is not vegan. Homemade crunchy mueslis that contain nuts and cereal flakes, coconut oil, date or maple syrup and vegan dark chocolate, on the other hand, are purely plant-based.
Tip: Before buying, check the list of ingredients or look for the vegan seal.
Sugar trap or healthy crunchy breakfast? Conclusion
Granola can become a sugar trap and calorie bomb, but it doesn't have to be. Homemade crunchy granola is usually the better alternative, because you can determine what the recipe is. The important thing here is the ratio or the quantity ratio.
It's also important how you enjoy the granola - pure with sweetened plant milk or as a topping on a smoothie bowl? We don't recommend eating granola pure for breakfast, but rather enjoying it as a topping or snack in small portions - something like 30 grams per serving.
Together with coconut yogurt and a few fresh fruits, the healthy crunchy breakfast is ready to be enjoyed.
DIY healthy Granola
If you want to be sure that a healthy crunch ends up in and on your bowl, then just make your own crunchy granola easily from now on. The emphasis is on easy: it's really not complicated or difficult at all to make your own granola. All you need is an oven, a baking sheet, a few ingredients and 15 minutes of time.
How does chocolate granola with almonds, banana bread granola, or vanilla cranberry granola sound to you? You can enjoy our three DIY granola recipes without a guilty conscience!
Plan B: Wholey Crunchy Granola for breakfast
Don't feel like making your own crunchy granola or don't have the right ingredients? Don't worry: our Crunchy Granola made with organic ingredients also makes for a delicious and healthy start to the day. It's made with a great mix of grainy ancient grains and rolled oats, which we bake in coconut oil with coconut flower syrup to make extra-large clusters. Perfect as a crunchy topping on a bowl or with coconut yogurt. Have you tried it yet?