GRANOLA – a handful makes a sustainable snack and a delicious summer breakfast. Oats are mixed with sugar or honey, sometimes with dried fruit, nuts and seeds and coated in an oil - often rapeseed or sunflower so it toasts in the oven to give it a cooked, crunchy feel.
Eaten with milk and a blob of yogurt to provide added protein, it can also be served with seasonal fresh fruit for extra vitamins and minerals.
Avoid adding sugar in any form as most granolas can have quite a lot of other sweet additions – treacle, golden syrup, fruit concentrates. Some have as much as 20% sugars. An option with those is to sprinkle some on regular porridge for interest and added texture and will avoid adding other forms of sugar. It’s good to sprinkle on stewed apple, which is also good added to a full bowl of granola.
Granola can be a better option than lighter, sweeter cereals which have less protein and fibre. Oats provide slow-release energy, and seeds and nuts also have some protein to sustain us until lunchtime. That’s the aim of the game.
We focused mainly on Irish products for our survey. Every time we buy Irish, we help sustain families who have been hard hit during the corona crisis. Also, the carbon footprint of local foods is significantly smaller than imported alternatives.
The Happy Pear Steve’s Dreamy Granola 350g €3.99
With 41% oats, chicory root fibre (like oats, a source of soluble dietary fibre which is good for the digestion), there is a decent 11% seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, linseed), 4.8% coconut, with rice flour and almonds. Freeze-dried raspberries (0.8%) fell to the bottom of the bag and didn’t add to the taste which was nevertheless moreish. A commendably low 4% sugars puts it top of the list, and a compostable pouch was another plus.
Just Live a Little Gluten-Free Triple nut Granola 400g €6.20
More toasted than most samples, makes this crunchy and interesting, with gluten-free oats, plenty of sunflower seeds, 4% each cashews, pecans and almonds, some coconut. 11.8% sugars from apple purée, golden and maple syrups, honey and condensed milk and a hint of cinnamon results in a delicious product. There is a low sugar (3.8%) version with coconut and chia seeds.
From The Cinnamon Cottage, JJ O’Driscoll, O’Keeffes, Bradleys in Cork and delis nationwide.
Dunnes Stores Simply Better Roasted Nut & Seed Granola 500g €4.49
This smart box has a bag of 58% Irish oats, rapeseed oil, 6% almonds, 4.5% hazelnuts, 3% each sunflower seeds and pecan nuts, 1% pumpkin seeds and some warm cinnamon. While sugars from sugar and honey amount to 12%, it’s not at all sweet and flavours and textures are well balanced. Delicious! Made in Co Galway.
Aldi Specially Selected Super Nutty Granola 500g €2.99
This granola with shards of toasted coconut has 54% oat flakes, 16% mixed nuts (cashews, brazil, hazel, almonds, macadamia, pecans), 3.5% mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, linseed). Sugars amount to a high 19% from added sugar, 1.5% honey and black treacle. Plenty of seeds and nuts give it a good bite and nutritional value. The overall taste was a bit too sweet. Good price.
SuperValu Signature Tastes Hazelnut Pink berry & coconut crisp granola 500g €4.49
Oats 65%, sunflower seeds 5%, dried coconut flakes 3% provide a decent toothsomeness. Sugars of 12% come from sugar and honey, and the overall taste is from the generous amount of lively, sweet and sour freeze dried goji berries and raspberry pieces. A good Irish product.
Kelkin Multiseed oat granola 450g €4.19
Oat and wheat flakes, wheat flour, have a decent and well balanced 21% seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flax) which is a good way to give valuable nutrients to children who like the sweetness from natural caramel toffee flavour and the high 17% sugars from sugar and less desirable glucose syrup.
Flahavan’s Original Granola 450g €4.79
Oats 46%, 16% seeds (pumpkin, sunflower), 8% almonds, 7% dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, cranberries), coconut. Sugars are a high 24% from a lot of dried fruit along with sugar and honey. Others in the brand have lower sugar. The oats, nuts and seeds are nicely crunchy. Overall a delicious bowlful. Made in Co Waterford by a solid, Irish company milling Irish oats.
Bowl A Granola 450g €4.50
With 58% oats, almonds, sunflower, sesame and linseeds, and coconut we get a substantial bite here. 16.8% honey and 3.9% dried cranberries, deliver sugars total of 16.36%. There is a hint of ginger which is appetising. Not oversweet, the overall taste is natural and interesting. Made in Galway by Siobhan Joyce, available in SuperValu and online at bowlagranola.ie. A good Irish product.