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Oatmeal vs. Granola: A Healthy Breakfast Guide

A cup of oats with fruit and cinnamon on the side


Eating a regular, healthy breakfast is associated with positive outcomes like a higher nutrient intake, better weight management, and increased productivity throughout the day. But, all breakfasts aren’t created equal. Oatmeal and granola are two popular, healthy breakfast choices, but which one wins when it comes to oatmeal vs. granola?

What Is Oatmeal?

Oats are whole-grain foods that can make for either a healthy breakfast or one that’s not so healthy, depending on how they get prepared. Oat groats are the most intact, whole form of oats, but they take a long time to cook; many people prefer rolled or crushed oats. Instant (or quick) oats cook the fastest but are also the most highly processed.

Many people eat oats for breakfast in the form of oatmeal, which can be made by boiling oats in milk or water. However, the health benefits tend to go downhill when sugar and other sweeteners get added to the oatmeal.

Related: Let’s Talk About Oats: Where do they come from?

Benefits of Oats and Oatmeal

Oats are nutritious, and they are full of important antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but it’s important to avoid processed oatmeal or ones with added sugars. Some benefits of oats are:

  • They are a good source of fiber, carbs, and protein, along with B vitamins.
  • Oats contain avenanthramides, which can help lower blood pressure and have anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Oats contain beta-glucan, which can help reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
  • Oatmeal is quite filling and can be effective as an appetite control tool.

What Is Granola?

Granola makes for a healthy breakfast cereal or afternoon meal. It’s typically made from rolled oats and nuts but can contain mixtures of other grains, rice, seeds, spices, dried fruit, and various nut butters. Some granola companies—not Nana Joes Granola—add artificial sweeteners and other ingredients that may result in higher added sugars and fats.

Granola is a calorie-dense breakfast option that is rich in fiber, protein, and macronutrients. The nutritional profile of granola varies depending on the ingredients used to make it, but it can also provide things like iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin E, and selenium.

Related: Let’s Talk About Gluten-Free, Vegan Breakfast Brownies

Benefits of Granola

Although health research on granola is limited, the common ingredients used in its creation are linked to various health benefits.

Granola is high in fiber and protein—both of these contribute to feeling full after eating. The high levels of protein come from the nuts and seeds in granola, and the fiber comes from the oats as well as the nuts and seeds. The high-fiber foods found in granola help increase digestion time, which helps you feel fuller, longer. It can also aid in appetite control.

Granola can also provide other benefits, like:

  • Improve blood pressure. Oats and seeds that are high in fiber have been shown to have the ability to reduce blood pressure naturally.

  • Reduce blood sugar. Seeds, whole grains, and dried fruits can help control and reduce blood sugar levels, especially in people who are prediabetic.

  • Provide antioxidants. Ingredients like coconut, Brazil nuts, and chia seeds are a great source of antioxidants that help inflammation, such as gallic acid, selenium, vitamin E, and quercetin.

  • Reduce cholesterol. Oats are an excellent source of beta-glucan, which is a fiber that helps reduce LDL and overall cholesterol levels—two risk factors for getting heart disease.

  • Improve gut health. Granola can help increase the levels of healthy bacteria in the gut compared to other breakfast cereals.

  • Here’s another reason why people love granola: it’s easy to take anywhere! Whether you’re going out for the afternoon or are in a rush during the morning, granola makes for a quick and healthy meal!

    Choosing a Healthy Granola

    When you’re shopping for a healthy granola, it’s important to understand that ingredients vary widely from brand to brand. You should check the label and avoid products that use sugar and sweeteners, especially if they appear close to the top of the ingredient list. Instead, look for ones that have whole foods listed first, like oats, seeds, nuts, and dried fruit.

    Related: Store Locator: Find Nana Joes Granola in a store near you

    Which One Is Better for Breakfast?

    best oatmeal breakfast bowls


    Both oatmeal and granola make for a healthy, nutritious breakfast, but the winner for us is granola—the added nuts, seeds, and dried fruits give you a source of fiber and healthy fats that oatmeal can’t quite compete with. The biggest downfall of granola is the added sweeteners that many companies add, which packs on extra sugar, fats, and calories. That’s why, at Nana Joes Granola, we did away with artificial sweeteners and processed foods! You can get all of the benefits of granola (including the great taste) without any of the unnecessary ingredients.

    Granola Top Picks

    Are you looking for a delicious, healthy breakfast free of added sugars and preservatives? We’ll make the choice simple—check out these options! All of these blends from Nana Joes Granola are vegan-friendly, certified organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free.

    Sunset Blend: Pecan, Mulberry, and Coconut

    Nana Joes Granola Sunset Blend

    Introducing the freshest granola ever from Nana Joes Granola—the Sunset Blend! Featuring delicious pecans, sweet coconut, and crunchy mulberries, you’ll want to eat this granola all day long, and since it only has 130 calories per serving, you can!

    Cluster Blend: Cashew and White Peach

    The Cluster Blend is the sweetest mixture from Nana Joes Granola. The crunchy clusters mixed with freshly ground cashew butter, nutmeg, cinnamon, and sweet California-grown peaches make the cluster blend perfect for any occasion. It’s amazing by itself or paired with milk, yogurt, and even ice cream!

    Savory Blend: Pecan, Almond, and Cashew 

    Nana Joes Granola Savory Blend

    If you don’t like sweets first thing in the morning, the Savory Blend makes for the perfect breakfast! It has no added sugars and contains a healthy mix of pecans, cashews, almonds, and fragrant spices. If you soak it overnight and warm it up in the morning, you’ll have a delicious, savory oatmeal to enjoy!

    Getting a strong craving for some delicious granola? Check out the rest of Nana Joes Granola selectionWe even have paleo and keto-friendly granola options, yum!

    Related: Granola Nutritional Facts You Should Know