So, it’s a new year, and it’s a new you, right? We are all trying to improve our health, and some of us are trying to shed a few pounds. But knowing what to eat and how to keep weight off once we lose it is half the battle. There is so much conflicting information on the internet that it’s no wonder why everyone is confused.
One of the things that people commonly question is whether granola is good for weight loss. To answer the question plain and simple would be hard. Granola is not the best thing when it comes to weight loss, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have it. It also varies in nutritional metrics quite a bit depending on who is making it.
Let’s take a deep dive.
What is Granola?
Granola is commonly eaten during breakfast and as a snack to incorporate some carbohydrates into someone’s diet. It’s typically a cluster of nuts, honey, rolled oats, sweeteners, sugar, etc., to create a fiber-filled ball. It also is easy to crumble and can be eaten like cereal with milk. It’s similar to muesli.
Granola also can be made into bars as a quick snack and is made by popular brands like K-Cereal, Cliff Bars, and so on. But granola can also be homemade. Not all granola is good for you, but if you control the ingredients, you can make it a healthier alternative.
So, Is It Good For Weight Loss?
Ultimately the answer is no. Most granola does not help weight loss and is a higher-calorie option than most snacks. When comparing it to fried food, it is seemingly a good option to top on cereal or as a quick snack. But when comparing it to vegetables, the vegetables will win out every time. But we don’t have to avoid it completely. (1)
Too much of any granola (even the healthier ones) will not help your weight loss journey. But granola which is nutritious and doesn’t have a lot of sugar can be a filling snack. Most of the time, homemade granola is the safest bet. Here is one example of a healthy granola recipe.
- Whole-grain old-fashioned oats
- Nuts and/or seeds (pecans, chia seeds, etc.)
- Coconut oil
- Maple syrup or honey
- Dried fruit
- dark chocolate
Generally speaking, anything store-bought that tastes good is going to have artificial sweeteners, processed food, and other additives that contribute to weight gain. Ultimately homemade is the best option but if you are going to buy granola, try going with premium brands. You will pay extra for this, but it will be someone else’s homemade granola verse a chain or mass-produced option.
How to Incorporate Granola Into Your Weight Loss Journey
Granola can fit into our diets when we are eating very cleanly. So there are two perfect times to eat it.
- For breakfast. This is when our stomach has the best digestion, and carbs are digested more easily than at night. It’s great as a cereal topper in small portions.
- Granola can also be a healthy snack or used as a dessert. When we are eating very clean, this can be our “cheat” meal as a better alternative to sugary dessert. It can help satisfy cravings and offer something sweet and salty. This is especially true when you add things like dark chocolate chips and coconut flakes to your homemade recipe.
If you are looking for something to satisfy your salty or sweet cravings, then consider these snack alternatives.
- Mixed nuts are often a good alternative. Keep in mind that not all nuts are created equal. Almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, and hazelnuts are among the healthiest nuts to eat for weight loss.
- If you want to create your own homemade trail mix, this is certainly an alternative to granola. You can use the nuts listed above and also mix in some dark chocolate and dried fruit.
- Consuming nut butter like almond butter, peanut butter, or even sunflower seed butter is a better alternative to most granolas. This will offer you protein, and you can combine it with nuts, rolled oats, dark chocolate, coconut flakes, and dried fruit to make protein balls as a snack.
- Muesli is said to be better for you than granola. This is because muesli is just rolled oats that may be soaked overnight. You don’t get all the added sugar or additional processed ingredients that some granola have.
Other Things To Stay Clear Of
So, when you are trying to lose weight, you don’t actually want to skip breakfast. Getting a good breakfast can start your digestion system off on the right foot. But that doesn’t mean that you can eat anything you want. There are a number of foods you still want to try and avoid at the cost of tacking on unnecessary calories that will turn into fat.
- Store-bought premade smoothies are another breakfast trap. Oftentimes these are loaded with sugar, and they taste great. But if you want to have a smoothie do it yourself from home with frozen berries, greek yogurt, and a protein powder of your choice.
- Processed bread is another big no-no. You may need to spend a little extra money, but bread companies like Ziggy’s or When Pigs Fly offer bread that is clean in terms of the ingredient list. There is a reason why bread in Europe is healthier than bread in America. Fewer additives. (2)
- Protein bars will not help you lose weight. It’s a myth to have a protein bar in place of a meal because you are not adding a lot of nutritional value to your meal. The ratio of calories to what you are consuming is usually not great unless you are having something minimal like an Rx Bar.
- Acai bowls taste great, and they look like a lot of fun. They are basically dessert and ice cream. They are loaded with sugars and processed food, depending on what you put in them.
- Any kind of juice or drink with calories is something you want to avoid You never want to drink your calories, so stick to water, tea, and black coffee. This is especially true with juice that is bought from the store. This is high in sugar.
- Kombucha is something that surprises most people. It has a lot of probiotics but is also loaded with sugar to not make it taste so bad. This will not help anyone trying to lose weight.
How Much Granola Can I Have In a Day?
If you are going to have some granola in your diet, make sure that it is homemade. And Keep your intake low. Treat it as a treat where you may have it as a snack or a part of your breakfast. Roughly three tablespoons of granola are 40 to 50 grams worth. This is what most brands recommend having per day. It’s not a lot so make sure to eat it with something else.
At the end of the day, granola is not the best thing for you if you are trying to lose weight. However, if you can live without it, there is a way to incorporate it into your diet without dealing with your weight loss journey. Keeping your intake minimal Is the best way to approach it.
It’s also a better alternative to some desserts if you find yourself needing to cheat. But if you are going to have a regular dessert and granola, this will lead to weight gain. It’s all about managing your calories in vs. out.