Is Granola Vegan?

Cindy Wilson Thumb by Cindy Wilson
BS, Nutrition & Food Science

Although vegans are often characterized as hippie granola crunchers, the question still often arises of whether granola is classified as vegan or not. After all, commercial granola contains multiple ingredients and additives.

What is Granola?

Granola is a breakfast and snack food made from oatmeal, nuts, honey, or other sweeteners like brown sugar and sometimes puffed rice, which is usually crispy, roasted, and baked golden. During the baking process, the mixture is stirred to get a loose consistency of the breakfast cereal.

Sometimes dried fruits like raisins and dates are added, as well as sweets like chocolate. Granola is often eaten in combination with yogurt, honey, fresh fruit (such as bananas, strawberries, or blueberries), milk, or other forms of muesli. It also serves as a topping for various cakes, desserts, or ice cream.

Granola is sometimes carried by people who go on hiking, camping, or backpacking because it is nutritious, light, high in calories, and easy to store (properties that make it similar to mixed nuts and muesli). As a snack, it is often combined with honey or corn syrup and pressed into a granola bar, which makes packing easier for packed lunches, hikes, or other outdoor activities.

Is Granola Vegan?

Granola typically consists of oats, nuts, and dried fruits held together by a binder. Honey (non-vegan) is often used as a binder, but vegan sweeteners like corn syrup and rice syrup can also be used. Therefore, depending on the binder, granola can sometimes be vegan and sometimes not.

By looking at the ingredient list used in granola, you can make a rough idea that usually granolas are vegan. But let’s dig deep into the most popular granola brands:

Is Kind Granola Vegan?

Kind Granola is mostly vegan. These granola clusters from Kind are vegan: Peanut Butter Whole Grain, Vanilla Blueberry Clusters, Maple Quinoa, Raspberry, Cinnamon Oat. Others (Oats & Honey, Dard Chocolate and Almond Butter) ARE NOT. Click here to check ingredients and price at Amazon.

Is Kind Granola Bar Vegan?

Kind Granola bars are mostly NOT VEGAN. Only some whole fruit bars (Mango Apple Chia, Strawberry Apple, Cherry Apple Chia and Pineapple Banana Kale Spinach) are vegan, others are NOT: Nut Bar, Simple Crunch Bars, Nut Butter, Protein Bars, Healthy Grains and Breakfast Bars! Click here to check ingredients and price at Amazon.

Is Nature Valley Granola Vegan?

Nature Valley Granola is NOT VEGAN. Every single flavor has sugar as ingredients which makes these granolas non-vegan. If you are fine with sugar, then you could go with these flavors: Almond Butter, Peanut Butter, Coconut, Pecan, Apple Crisp, Roasted Almond, Cinnamon. Others contain honey and as such are clearly not vegan. Click here to check ingredients and price at Amazon.

Is Love Crunch Granola Vegan?

No, Love Crunch granola is NOT vegan. These granolas have several problematic ingredients inside (honey, chocolate) and is produced in non-vegan safe environment (may contain milk) Click here to check ingredients and price at Amazon.

Is Back to Nature Granola Vegan?

Only certain flavors granolas from Back to Nature are vegan. Those flavors are Grain Free Cinnamon Apple and Grain Free Vanilla Almond. Other flavors (Chocolate, Classic, Cranberry Pecan, Vanilla Almond Agave, Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate, Apple Blueberry) are NOT vegan because they either have sugar and honey or they milk contaminated equipment. Click here to check ingredients and price at Amazon.

Is Bob’s Red Mills Granola Vegan?

Only certain flavors granolas from Bob’s Red Mills are vegan. According to ingredient list vegan safe granolas are: Classic, Cinnamon Raisin and Apple Blueberry. Non vegan flavors are: All Honey Granolas, Coconut Spice, Lemon Blueberry, Maple Sea Salt; because they contain sugar, brown sugar, Click here to check ingredients and price at Amazon.

Is Bear Naked Granola Vegan?

Only certain flavors granolas from Bear Naked are vegan. Those flavors are: Triple Berry, Maple Pecan, Trail Mix & Dark Chocolate and Coconut & Cashew. Other flavors (Almond Coconut, Peanut Butter Toffee Crunch, Fruit & Nut, Cocoa & Cashew Butter, Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, Maple Cinnamon and Honey Almond) are NOT vegan because they either have sugar and honey. Click here to check ingredients and price at Amazon.

Is Craisins Granola Vegan?

No, Craisins granol products are not vegan. All of their products contain either sugar, honey or milk (Chocolate, Cranberry, Almond, Fruit & Nut Trail Mix, Yogurt.) Click here to check ingredients and price at Amazon.

Is Nature’s Path Granola Vegan?

Only certain flavors granolas from Nature’s Path are vegan. Those flavors are: Almond Cranberry, Coconut Chia, Hemp Hearts, Love Crunch, Peanut Butter, Pumpkin Seed + Flax, Vanilla Almond + Flax. Other flavors are NOT vegan because they either have sugar and honey. Click here to check ingredients and price at Amazon.

Is Clif Granola Vegan?

No, Clif granola is not vegan. The products produced by Clif are not meant to be vegan. Although there were some rumors that certain flavors are vegan it seems that all products by Clif are produced in equipment or space contaminated with milk. Also, I couldn’t find relevant information to back the opposite facts. Click here to check ingredients and price at Amazon.

Is Purely Elizabeth Granola Vegan?

Majority of granola products from Purely Elizabeth are vegan. Flavors that are vegan safe are: Blueberry Hemp, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Hazelnut, Cranberry Pecan, Maple Almond Butter, Original, Pumpkin Cinnamon. Honey Almond is the only one that is NOT vegan. Click here to check ingredients and price at Amazon.

Potential non-vegan ingredients found in granola

Honey

Honey

Bees produce honey by collecting nectar from flowers, then transporting it back to the beehive and turning it into honey.

Honey is made when bees collect nectar from flowering plants and convert it from complex sugars to simple sugars in their stomachs. Bees spend the entire spring and summer seasons making honey so it can be stored in the beehive for the winter.

Honey is the main source of energy for the bees and without them, they would starve to death. Apart from this honey also provides important nutrients to the bees in bad weather and in the winter months.

The honey bee, the genus of bees used in commercial honey production, visits up to 1,500 flowers to collect enough nectar to fill its stomach with honey. ; a second separate stomach where the enzymes begin to break down the nectar into honey.

After returning to the beehive, the “house bees” vomit and chew it again to complete the honey-making process. With sufficient supplies, each bee produces only one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime – significantly less than most people would expect. So Honey is important to the beehive’s wellbeing and ultimately to the bee’s wellbeing.

Honey is used during the baking process of granola. The mixture of dry ingredients along with the binding agent is occasionally stirred to achieve a loose consistency similar to that of breakfast cereal. Since honey has a high viscosity, works well as a binding agent. 1

Why do Bees make honey?
Honey Bee Collecting Nectar From Flower

Honey is one of the main sources of food for bees who manage to store food during the winter months when there are fewer flowers to collect nectar, and the bees need to help their entire colony survive the winter, including the queen bee. It is high in sugar, which makes it a source of vital energy.

If you consider that a honeybee flaps its wings about 11,400 times per minute when it flies, you can assume that they use a lot of energy. Not only do they need the energy to fly outside the hive, but the bees also work hard inside as well, as they have to flap their wings to regulate the temperature. 2

Why Vegans don’t eat honey?

For most vegans, eating honey is not an option as bees are insects and vegans avoid products made of and by animals. Likewise, many members of the vegan community care about the environment, whose insects play a very important role in protecting it. Many scientists agree that a decline in pollinators is a disaster for the environment. 3

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Considers Honey as Non-vegan.

How are bees harmed in the honey industry?

Millions of bees die every year from pesticides, parasites, and poor nutrition. This is the result of the way people farm with modern and intensive agriculture. This leads to disease problems on a large scale. Beekeepers regularly report that at least a third of their colonies die each year.

They are subjected to genetic manipulation, their hives are smoked, and their wings and legs are torn off when pushed out of the way so that people can steal their honey, which is their fuel and life’s work. not to us. 4

Even if the process were entirely humane, honey would still not be suitable for vegans as any food that involves the direct exploitation of animals gives the food a non-vegan status.

So you should look for molasses, corn syrup, or rice syrup instead of Honey as binding agents.

Chocolate

Chocolate Cook Time

Granolas may contain chocolates often. Chocolates aren’t always problematic but they often contain milk as an ingredient.

So if you find a granola product that contains real chocolate, just search the ingredients list for milk additives. It is easy to spot as it should appear in the Allergies section.

Fortunately, there are many organic granola products found in the market. Organic granola products don’t usually contain chocolates derived from milk. Instead, they contain chocolates derived from Cocoa.

If you don’t like commercial granola you can make vegan granola at home.

For your convenience, I’m putting down an easy-to-make ‘vegan granola recipe’.

Vegan granola recipe

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups of old-fashioned oatmeal
  • Gluten-free 1/2 cup of oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons of oat flour
  • 2 tablespoons of white sesame seeds
  • 3/4 Cup of sliced ​​raw almonds
  • 3/4 Cup of raw walnut halves
  • 3/4 Cup of raw cashew nuts
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Medjool pitted dates
  • ½ cup chopped golden raisins

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix the oats, oat flour, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, almonds, pecans, cashew nuts, cinnamon, and salt.

Put coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a small saucepan and place them over low heat. Keep stirring them frequently, until the coconut oil gets completely melted. After that pour over the dry ingredients and mix well until the oatmeal gets completely coated.

Distribute the muesli evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, stir the granola and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the granola is lightly golden brown. Remove it from the oven and allow the granola to cool completely on the baking sheet so that the small lumps stay intact.

After cooling, add the chopped dates and raisins. Place them in an airtight container or in a large mason jar. Best to use within a week or ten days. 5

For the busy folks who don’t have enough time to make granola at home, I’m listing few vegan-friendly granolas that you’ll find at your nearest store or online.

Granola Bars

Granola Bars consist of granola with an extra amount of sweetening agents and binders to help them stay in shape. They are usually found in the shape of bars or squares. Their sealed packaging and shape makes them an easy-to-carry food item.

Cuisine American

Just like granola, granola bars may contain honey (as binding agents) and chocolates. So you must check the ingredient list and make sure that the binding agents used are not honey and chocolates used are not derived from milk products.

Are granola bars vegan?

Traditionally, granola bars are made by pressing granola, a nutritious dish that is usually made by baking a combination of ingredients such as oatmeal, nuts, and spices. In the past few decades, however, the granola bar has become a strong snack. It can contain chocolate chips, marshmallows, significant amounts of sugar, and numerous artificial flavors.

Flavor Oil

So, overall if you compare granola bars with granola, the granola bars will tend to be less vegan as compared to normal granola because granola bars have plenty of flavors and many of them may contain non-vegan elements in some form or the other. 6

Are granola bars healthy?

Granola bars are often viewed as a healthy snack, but despite these marketing claims, many are loaded with sugar, calories, and artificial ingredients. For example, Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Harvest granola bars usually contain up to 15 grams of sugar in a single serving, mostly from added sugar. These added sugars are equivalent to almost 4 teaspoons. 7

Coconut Sugar

Some granola bars contain sugar alcohols like Xylitol and Sorbitol. Xylitol and sorbitol aren’t completely broken down in your body and can cause digestive problems in people who are sensitive to their effects. 8

Most of the granola bars are highly processed and contain harmful ingredients like added sugar, vegetable oils, food preservatives, and artificial flavors. Even Studies show that consuming high levels of processed and sugary foods can increase the risk of metabolic syndrome. This is a group of conditions that can lead to diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. 9

How to select a healthy granola bar?

When choosing a granola bar, it’s important to carefully check the ingredient label and choose products that are primarily made from real foods like fruits, nuts, and grains.

Also, look for a product with less than 10 grams of sugar, at least 5 grams of protein, and at least 3 grams of fiber to help you feel full between meals.

For your convenience, I’m putting down a simple recipe to make vegan and gluten-free granola bars at home.

Vegan granola bar recipe

Ingredients Required:

  • Rolled Oats
  • Quick Oats
  • Puffed Rice Cereal.
  • Almond Butter
  • Maple Syrup
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Dates
  • Almonds
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Vegan Chocolate Chips
  • Sunflower Seeds.

Instructions:

  • Combine rolled oatmeal, quick oats, puffed rice, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and almonds in a large mixing bowl.
  • Process the dates in a food processor until they crumble into a sticky paste.
  • In a small saucepan, stir the almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon over medium heat until the mixture is combined and runny.
  • Now put the hot mixture with the dates in the food processor and process them until they are just combined. Scrape the sides as necessary.
  • Pour the date-almond-butter mixture over the dry mixture and combine well with a spatula.
  • Wait a few minutes for the mixture to cool before adding the chocolate chips. Once they cool down, just stir them to combine.
  • Now spread the mixture on a lined baking pan. Press down firmly to make sure the rods stay together. After that place in the freezer for about 1 hour to harden. 10

I hope that you’ll try this yummy vegan granola bar recipe for sure.

So this was all about Granola and granola bars. Overall it’s a good choice for vegans but you have to check the ingredients properly before consuming it.

References

  1. Is Honey Vegan? The Not-So-Sweet Truth Behind An ‘Inhumane’ Industry, Accessed from https://plantbasednews.org/lifestyle/food/is-honey-vegan-the-not-so-sweet-truth/. Retrieved 6th May 2021.
  2. Can You Call Yourself Vegan If You Eat Honey?, Accessed from https://www.livekindly.co/can-you-call-yourself-vegan-if-you-eat-honey/. Retrieved 6th May 2021.
  3. Is Honey Vegan?, Accessed from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-honey-vegan. Retrieved 6th May 2021.
  4. Homemade Chunky Healthy Granola Recipe (vegan & gluten free!), Accessed from https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/chunky-healthy-granola-recipe/. Retrieved 6th May 2021.
  5. Granola bars: A healthy snack or dressed- up junk food?, Accessed from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/granola-bars-a-healthy-snack-or-dressed–up-junk-food/article572493/. Retrieved 6th May 2021.
  6. Relationship between Added Sugars Consumption and Chronic Disease Risk Factors: Current Understanding, Accessed from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5133084/. Retrieved 6th May 2021.
  7. Gastrointestinal Disturbances Associated with the Consumption of Sugar Alcohols with Special Consideration of Xylitol: Scientific Review and Instructions for Dentists and Other Health-Care Professionals, Accessed from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5093271/. Retrieved 6th May 2021.
  8. Sucralose decreases insulin sensitivity in healthy subjects: a randomized controlled trial, Accessed from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30535090/. Retrieved 6th May 2021.
  9. Vegan Granola Bars, Accessed from https://veganhuggs.com/chewy-no-bake-granola-bars/. Retrieved 6th May 2021.

About Author

Cindy Wilson Thumb
BS, Nutrition & Food Science
Cindy Wilson

Hello, I am Cindy, and this a website where I inspect everything related to nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. I have a BS in Nutrition and Food Science (Colorado State University) and have completed a dozen specialty courses related to nutrition, biochemistry, and food science. I am open to learning more, but foremost I would like to share all my knowledge with you.

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