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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Healthy Eating arrow Granola vs. Oatmeal: What’s the Difference and Which Breakfast Food Is Better for You?

Granola vs. Oatmeal: What’s the Difference and Which Breakfast Food Is Better for You?

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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
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Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: June 2, 2023
5 min read 902 Views 0 Comments
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Wondering whether granola or oatmeal is better for your breakfast? Both are popular choices to have in the morning, but they each have their own health benefits.

granola vs oatmeal

Choosing the right breakfast will prepare you for the day. No one wants to wake up and eat something they don’t enjoy. Granola and oatmeal are two popular, delicious options that could enhance your diet. 

Some people believe that granola and oatmeal are basically the same in terms of their appearance, but they have many differences. Raw oats are more versatile, while granola usually contains fruits, honey, or nuts. They are both healthy and flavorsome breakfast choices, but which one is better? 

Discover our comparison between granola vs. oatmeal, including their health benefits and main differences. 

Granola vs. Oatmeal: Which One Wins the Great Breakfast Debate? 

Oatmeal is the better option because it doesn’t contain as many fats, sugars, and calories. People seeking weight loss should choose this option out of the two popular breakfast foods.

The ongoing debate between oatmeal and granola is a tough one because both options are tasty and nutritious. Even though granola has more vitamins and minerals, it also has unhealthy additives due to the cooking process. Branded honey almond granola, whether it’s gluten-free or not, still contains a lot of calories. Therefore, you should choose to make homemade granola as a healthier alternative. 

On the other hand, oatmeal contains a range of healthy fats, such as unsaturated fatty acids. This fat lowers LDL “bad” cholesterol in your blood, which reduces the risk of heart disease. Oatmeal is also good for diabetes since it doesn’t contain many sugars or carbs that will spike your blood sugar. 

Overall, you should eat oatmeal in the morning to gain the most benefits. Make sure to top it with low-calorie fruit and nuts to avoid making it unhealthy. 

What Is Granola? 

Granola is a breakfast food consisting of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, and a sweetener like honey. You can purchase gluten-free and low-sugar granola, depending on your health goals and diet. 

Many people buy granola at the grocery store because it’s a pre-made breakfast, but that doesn’t make it the healthiest option. It’s better to make granola at home by coating the oats with honey, maple syrup, other flavored syrups, or cinnamon before baking them for twenty minutes. You can then add raisins or almonds once it’s cooked. 

This breakfast has a fruity sweetness due to the dried fruits and honey. Toasted almonds can make it more savory, while coconut oil or vanilla extract deepens the flavor. 

In a 100-gram serving of granola, there are 489 calories, 8.9 grams of fiber, 13.7 grams of protein, 24.3 grams of fat, and 53.9 grams of carbs. 

Health benefits of granola

Granola, being a snack food and breakfast option, has a few benefits. You can compare granola with oatmeal to determine which food suits your diet. 

The main benefits of plain or whole-grain granola include: 

What Is Oatmeal? 

Oatmeal is the preparation of boiling rolled oats and milk, but you can also use water. The thick consistency can increase fullness and fuel your gut. People like to use toppings such as bananas, chia seeds, apple slices, and cinnamon for added sweetness. 

You can make oatmeal by mixing steel-cut oats, stone-ground oats, or regular oats with a little milk. You can also use water, but it won’t be as thick. Boil the oats and milk together, stirring in some cinnamon and honey to increase the overall vitamin content.

Having oatmeal on its own might be a bit plain. Consider adding fruit, seeds, or nuts on top to enhance your breakfast. Mixing protein powder with oatmeal can also make it a satisfying meal. 

Compared to granola, a 100-gram serving of plain oatmeal contains 367 calories, 9.8 grams of fiber, 16 grams of protein, 6.3 grams of fat, and 67 grams of carbs. 

Health benefits of oatmeal 

Oatmeal that is made with steel-cut oats or whole-cut grains can improve your long-term health due to its high iron and vitamin content. 

The following are some benefits of eating oatmeal for breakfast:

Main Differences Between Oatmeal and Granola 

Learning about the benefits, ingredients, and main differences between oatmeal and granola can help you decide which is best for your healthy diet. 

Below is a comparison between these healthy breakfast options:

GranolaOatmeal
Nutrition Granola has more minerals, such as magnesium (168mg), potassium (593mg), and phosphorus (431mg)

High-sugar breakfast (19.8g)

Contains 53.9g of carbs

Has 0.9g less fiber than granola

A high-fat food, with 24.3g per 100g portion

Contains 2.3g less protein 
Oatmeal has more iron (4.2mg)

It contains 367 calories per 100g with water

Low-sugar breakfast (1g)

Contains more carbs (67g)

Has 9.8g of fiber

Low-fat food, with 6.3g per 100g portion

High in protein (16g)
Ingredients Rolled oats

NutsSeeds

Honey

Sweeteners or brown sugar

Dried fruit Milk 
Rolled oats

Water or milk

Toppings of your choice
PreparationMixing the granola with milk to create a cereal Boil the water or milk and stir in the oats until they create a thick texture
ConsumptionAdd granola to cereals, acai bowls, ice cream, yogurt, or homemade cereal barsMake normal hot oatmeal and add honey, fresh fruit, cinnamon, protein powder, or chia seeds
Health benefitsGreat source of vitamins and minerals

Suppresses your appetite

Reduces inflammation

Improves digestion

Supports muscle growth
Can promote weight loss

Lowers blood sugar

Rich in antioxidants

Reduces bad cholesterol

Supports skin health

Relieves constipation

Boosts immune function
Good for weight loss and dieting?No, because it is high in calories, sugar, carbs, and unhealthy fatsYes, because it is low in calories, saturated fat, and sugar 

Sources: Granola, Oatmeal

FAQs 

Is muesli the same as granola?

No, granola has already been cooked and sweetened, whereas muesli is a mix of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit that you can soak in milk overnight. In terms of texture, granola is crunchier and thicker when served straight away.

What’s healthier – granola or oatmeal?

Oatmeal is usually healthier because it only contains raw oats with milk or water. You can add whatever toppings suit your dietary preferences. To make a healthy breakfast, add dried fruit, sunflower seeds, or a teaspoon of peanut butter on top of your oatmeal.

Is granola or oatmeal better for weight loss?

You should choose oatmeal for weight loss. Oatmeal contains fewer calories, sugars, and fats, meaning it shouldn’t exceed your calorie intake. Remember to choose low-calorie toppings as well, such as honey instead of maple syrup or berries instead of chocolate.

A Word From a Nutritionist

Even though oatmeal is the healthier option, you can still consume granola in moderation or make your own granola bars at home. Avoid buying oatmeal packets or crunchy clusters in the grocery store, as they usually contain artificial sweeteners, refined oil, added sugar, and food chemicals.

A low-calorie oatmeal breakfast includes mixing the oats with water instead of milk. Then, use toppings such as bananas, apple slices, or almonds to increase your protein and vitamin intake. If possible, try not to add chocolate spread like Nutella, as this contains too much sugar and saturated fat.

For people who are seeking weight loss, speak to a registered dietitian about low-calorie meal options. They can give you more insight into healthy oatmeal recipes or quick granola snacks to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Conclusion

Both oatmeal and granola are great options for breakfast, but those who are losing weight should choose oatmeal because it doesn’t contain as many calories and sugars. Simply mix some old-fashioned rolled oats with milk or water and boil that before adding cinnamon, fresh fruit, or honey. 

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Edna
Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: June 2, 2023
5 min read 902 Views 0 Comments
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