granola parfait on a table

With its inviting, sweet taste and snackable crunchy texture, granola is a great “gateway” whole grain food. Plus, it is typically easy to find at even the smallest of supermarkets and convenience stores, meaning you won’t have to go to specialty stores to get your hands on this family favorite.

The healthfulness of granola can vary from one brand to the next, so be sure to check the nutrition label on the packages to find granola options with lower amounts of added sugars. Once you’ve flipped a few packages over to compare nutrition, you can start to get a good sense of what’s a typical amount of added sugar and what types of options are available, so that you can pick the granola that meets your needs. Additionally, by looking at the gram amount in the Whole Grain Stamp, you can compare to see which granola has more whole grains per serving.

Granola is also very easy to make at home, and the ingredients list is very adaptable to what you have on hand. Try our Oldways Homemade Granola recipe as a jumping off point, and feel free to give it your own personal twist. Don’t have five cups of oats? Four cups will work just fine, it just won’t yield as much. No slivered almonds? Try sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds. Not enough maple syrup? Try honey instead.

  1. Yogurt Parfait: Layer ¼ cup granola over ½ cup plain Greek yogurt and 1 cup fresh fruit. Try this with strawberries, banana slices, or nectarine slices. You could also transform this into a dessert parfait by swapping frozen yogurt in for the Greek yogurt. (Granola is in fact one our favorite toppings from froyo bars!)
  2. Easy Fruit Crisp: One of our favorite weeknight “dessert hacks” is to dice up fruit (like apples, peaches, or strawberries and rhubarb), top it with granola, and then bake it (350°F for about 45 minutes), creating the world’s easiest fruit crisp.
  3. Trail Mix: Most trail mixes contain some combination of dried fruit and nuts, and occasionally a surprise element like dark chocolate or coconut flakes. To take your trail mix up a notch, try mixing in some granola too. For example, oat and honey granola with dried cherries and cashews, or cinnamon granola with dried cranberries and pistachios.
  4. Crunchy Topping on Muffins: A crunchy, unexpected topping can often mean the difference between a good muffin and a great muffin. While some achieve this with crumbled brown sugar, a healthier, crunchier, and dare-we-say more delightful way to dress up the humble muffin is by topping the muffin batter with a tablespoon or so of granola on each muffin top before baking. Next time you whip up a batch of our Whole Grain Blueberry Muffins or Whole Grain Banana Muffins, try topping them with the granola. You won’t go back!
  5. Smoothie Bowl: To make a smoothie bowl, mix up your favorite smoothie recipe (such as a Cocoa Beet Smoothie or a Blueberry Smoothie), serve it in a bowl rather than a glass, and garnish the top with granola, a handful of fresh fruit, and some nuts or seeds.
  6. Classic Cold Cereal: When the weather warms up, we love trading in our steaming, rib-sticking oatmeal for a refreshing bowl of granola and berries that’s swimming in ice cold milk. It might sound simple, but it’s a classic for a reason! Note that because of the way granola clumps together, and because of the delicious nuts, dried fruits, oils, and honey that are sometimes added, granola is often higher in calories than other breakfast cereal options, like puffed whole grain cereals. If you’re watching your portion sizes, it may be helpful to serve yourself using a small bowl, and to fill the bowl with a sliced banana or generous handful of berries before garnishing the fruit with granola and your milk of choice.

Do you have any creative uses for granola or a favorite granola recipe? Do tell! (Kelly)

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