Granola and oatmeal are two popular breakfast foods sharing some similarities. Granola contains oats causing many people to wonder about their differences. Let’s answer, what’s the difference between granola and oatmeal?
Granola is made from dried oats and wheat bound together with a sweetener like honey. Oatmeal is made by hulling and steaming whole oat grains which are rolled or chopped. Oatmeal is consumed by cooking or soaking the oats in water or milk while granola is typically consumed dry or in milk or yogurt.
This article will include a side-by-side comparison of the nutrients contained in both. In addition, I’ll examine their tastes, textures, glycemic index, satiety index, prices, storage methods and health benefits.
Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Granola vs Oatmeal: The Difference
Before we compare the nutrients of granola and oatmeal, let’s take a deeper look at oatmeal and granola.
Granola is similar to muesli as it consists of dried oats, wheat and is bound together with a sweetener like honey or maple syrup.There are different variations of granola with some containing raisins, chopped nuts, seeds and different oils.
Because oats are the primary ingredient in oatmeal, the different types of oatmeal come down to how the oat is flattened and sliced.
There are four main types of oats:
- Rolled: Rolled oats are the classic oats used in oatmeal. These are also called regular or old-fashioned oats.
- Steel-cut: Oatmeal made from steel-cut oats is typically chewier and heartier. You can also use these oats as a substitution for traditional rice dishes, like risotto.
- Stone-ground: Stone-ground oats make creamy oatmeal.
- Quick: Quick oats, often called instant oats, are thinner rolled oats. These are often used in instant oatmeal and microwavable versions because the oats don’t take as long to cook.
Granola is typically served for breakfast, added to yogurts or made into snack bars. For this reason, granola is mostly consumed all day long. It is mostly eaten cold but can be hot when mixed into baked goods.
Oatmeal is mostly served for breakfast and is not typically consumed during the day or even. It is mostly eaten hot but can be served cold like when making overnight oatmeal.
People often add chopped nuts, fruit or cinnamon to their oatmeal.
Granola vs Oatmeal: Nutrient Comparison
Granola and oatmeal can be made with different ingredients which change their nutritional values.
For example, granola can be made with nuts or without. Some granola may contain coconut oil and honey while others may have just the honey.
Sometimes people add banana, apple or mixed nuts to their oatmeal. Each different version has more nutrients added. Cooking oatmeal compared to over night oatmeal also changes the nutritional value.
To keep the comparison as fair as possible, the table below will compare dry oats since most granola is consumed dry also. The granola only contains natural granola, oats, wheat and honey. The oatmeal is unfortified and does not contain added ingredients.
The following table is a side-by-side comparison of the nutrients contained in granola and oatmeal.
|Oatmeal Dry (100 g)||Granola (100 g)|
|Protein||13.2 g||10.6 g|
|Carbohydrates||67.7 g||73.6 g|
|Fiber||10.1 g||10.2 g|
|Fat||6.52 g||11.6 g|
|Sugar||0.99 g||20.3 g|
|Vitamin A||0 IU||8 IU|
|Beta-carotene||0 mcg||1 mcg|
|Vitamin C||0 mg||0.2 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.10 mg||0.23 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||32 mcg||37 mcg|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.46 mg||0.41 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.15 mg||0.28 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||1.12 mg||2.31 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||1.12 mg||1.34 mg|
|Magnesium||138 mg||121 mg|
|Phosphorous||410 mg||392 mg|
|Potassium||362 mg||483 mg|
|Iron||4.25 mg||2.81 mg|
|Copper||0.39 mg||0.31 mg|
|Calcium||52 mg||109 mg|
|Zinc||3.64 mg||2.95 mg|
Granola and oatmeal contain the same types of nutrients. At first it’s difficult to determine which one provides a higher percentage than the other. This causes many people to ask, which is more healthier oatmeal or granola?
Oatmeal is healthier than granola due to its fewer calories, sugar, carbohydrates and a higher percentage of protein and minerals. Oatmeal provides a higher percentage of thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper and zinc. Granola contains more calories, total fat and 1,950% more sugar than oatmeal.
In moderation granola is also healthy and contains many beneficial nutrients. Granola provides a higher percentage of B6, folate, riboflavin, niacin, B5, potassium and calcium than oatmeal.
Choosing one or the other may depend on your particular goal. One of these goals may be weight loss.
Is granola or oatmeal better for weight loss?
Oatmeal is better for weight loss due to its fewer calories, total fat and sugar. Oatmeal contains 11% less calories per 100 grams than granola.
Which has more fiber granola or oatmeal?
Granola contains more fiber than oatmeal. Granola provides 10.2 grams of fiber per 100 grams while oatmeal provides 10.1 grams.
What has more protein granola or oatmeal?
Oatmeal contains more protein than granola per serving. Oatmeal provides 13.2 grams of protein per 100 gram serving while granola provides 10.6 grams.
Which is better for bodybuilding, granola or oatmeal?
Granola is better for building muscle and athletic performance due to its higher percentage of carbohydrates and calories. The extra calories and protein contained in granola help to gain weight, muscle and repair muscle. The extra carbs help to provide energy while lifting weights.
Which has more carbohydrates granola or oatmeal?
Granola contains 73.6 grams of carbohydrates per 100 gram serving while oatmeal contains 67.7 grams. If you’re on a low carb or Keto diet, oatmeal is the better choice.
Keto Bread Tip: Great News! Did you know, you don’t have to give up your favorite bread, pizza or sandwiches to follow a 100% Keto diet. Find out more in the KetoBreads website by clicking here, Keto Breads.
Granola vs Oatmeal: Taste and Texture
It’s not always about the nutrients provided. Many times people choose one food over the other because of its taste or according to their mood.
Since there are some similarities between the two, like both containing oats, many people wonder and ask, does granola taste like oatmeal?
Oatmeal is blander and has less flavor than granola. Granola tastes sweeter due to the added honey. If the granola has fruit added it can taste fruity and sweet. Oatmeal’s texture is not smooth, but granola is harder and crunchier than oatmeal. Granola is drier than oatmeal which is more moist or wet.
What does granola taste like?
Granola has a sweet taste due to the honey and sugar added to its oats. Granola containing fruit tastes sweet and fruity. Granola’s taste will change depending on the ingredients added. Its texture is dry and crunchy and consists of small and larger clusters.
Old-fashioned rolled oats have a chewier texture than the smoother instant oatmeal.
I polled some of my readers and people in food groups I belong to. I asked, do you prefer the taste of granola or oatmeal for breakfast?
- 42% said they preferred the taste of granola.
- 40% said they preferred the taste of oatmeal.
- 18% said they had no preference.
Granola is more versatile than oatmeal and is used for breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day or evening. Oatmeal is mainly used for breakfast.
Find out how oatmeal compared to brown rice in my article, Brown Rice vs Oatmeal: Which is Better? Let’s Compare.
Granola and Oatmeal Glycemic Index
Knowing the glycemic index of food is important especially if blood sugar levels are a concern. Avoiding blood sugar spikes is an important part of consuming healthy food.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale measuring how fast a particular food raises the blood sugar in the blood 3. Blood sugar spikes can lead to health complications with the heart, nerves, kidneys and eyes 4.
Foods on the GI scale are categorized as:
- Low-GI foods: 55 or under
- Medium-GI foods: 56-69
- High-GI foods: 70 or over
How blood sugars levels are affected:
- Foods with a glycemic index 70 or more cause a quicker spike in blood sugar levels.
- Foods with a glycemic index 56 to 69 cause a moderate spike in blood sugar levels.
- Foods with a glycemic index 55 or less cause a slow spike in blood sugar levels.
Having more knowledge of the glycemic index of food and how it raises blood sugar, many people ask, does granola or oatmeal have a higher GI?
Oatmeal and granola are both a medium-GI food. Although granola with much added sugar has a higher GI than oatmeal. Rolled oats have a GI of 55. Instant oatmeal has a GI of 79. Steel-cut oats have a low GI under 55.
The more added high sugar ingredients granola has, the more GI.
Steel-cut oats have a lower GI because they are the least processed. Rolled oats are a little higher because they’ve been partially cooked. Quick oats have been steamed and rolled into thinner pieces to cook quicker. This process increases their GI.
Find out how oatmeal compared to white rice in my article, Oatmeal vs Rice: Which Is More Healthy? (We Find Out).
Granola vs Oatmeal: Satiety Index
Satiety is a term used to explain the feeling of being full and the loss of appetite which occurs after eating food. The satiety index is a scale showing how full a person feels after eating a certain food.
The satiety index was developed in 1995 from a study which tested 38 foods. The foods were ranked how they satisfied a person’s hunger. Foods scoring under 100 are considered less filling and foods scoring above 100 are considered more filling 5.
The table below shows the satiety scores of oatmeal and a few other foods.
|Food||Satiety Index Score|
Comparing the table above will help answer the question, does oatmeal keep you full longer than granola?
Compared to granola, oatmeal will keep you full longer due to its higher satiety index of 209%. Granola is similar to muesli which has a satiety score of 100%.
Of all the 38 foods, oatmeal scored the fourth highest only beat by oranges, ling fish and boiled potatoes.
High satiety food like oatmeal is likely to have a high satiety score for the following reasons:
- High in protein.
- High in fiber.
- High in volume (foods containing a lot of water or air).
- Low in energy density (foods low in calories for their weight).
Cooked oatmeal seems to fit into all four listed above.
- Oatmeal contains 7.9 grams of protein per 3/4 cup.
- Oatmeal provides 6.1 grams of fiber per 3/4 cup.
- Oatmeal weighs a good amount when prepared in relation to its calories.
- Oatmeal cooked is only 71 calories per 100 grams.
Granola contains many calories for its light weight and doesn’t have as much water as oatmeal. These two factors make them less filling.
Find out if grits or oatmeal has the better satiety in my article, Grits vs Oatmeal: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison.
Granola and Oatmeal Costs
It seems every time I check out at the supermarket the price is higher than the last time and I have less groceries in my cart. The price of food certainly matters to most, especially with the rising costs of everything.
The price may sway your decision about which one to use in your meals more often. Therefore, which costs more, granola or oatmeal?
Granola costs more per serving than oatmeal. The average price for quick oats is $0.25 per 1/2 cup serving. The average price for granola is $0.62 per 1/2 cup serving.
I decided to conduct a search of various different stores to compare the price of both.
I checked Shoprite supermarket for the prices of granola and oatmeal:
- Wholesome Pantry Oats & Honey Granola
- $4.49 per 12 oz bag (6 servings) equaling $0.74 per 1/2 cup serving
- Quaker quick oats
- $4.99 per 18 oz container (13 servings) equaling $0.38 per 1/2 cup serving
I then checked Walmart for granola and oatmeal prices:
- Oats & Honey Granola (Store brand)
- $2.36 per 11 oz bag (6 servings) equaling $0.39 per 1/2 cup serving
- Nature Valley Oats & Honey Granola
- $4.38 per 11 oz bag (5 servings) equaling $0.73 per 1/2 cup serving
- Quaker quick oats
- $4.98 per 42 oz container (30 servings) equaling $0.17 per 1/2 cup serving
- Quaker quick oats
- $2.73 per 18 oz container (13 servings) equaling $0.21 per 1/2 cup serving
Find out how oatmeal compared to quinoa in my article, Quinoa vs Oatmeal: Which is Better? Let’s Compare.
How To Store Granola and Oatmeal
Whichever you choose or have on hand, proper storage is crucial. How you store granola or oatmeal can affect how long they last before going bad and how they taste. Therefore, how do you store granola?
The best way to store unopened or opened granola is to keep it in a cool, dry place away from the sun or indirect heat. Opened granola should be transferred to a tightly covered glass container, plastic container or a resealable bag. Opened, uncooked granola does not have to be refrigerated.
Opened granola should be transferred out of its original bag or packaging. An airtight container prevents exposure to the outside air which may cause staleness sooner.
Storing granola in the refrigerator may cause it to turn soggy. Granola can be stored in a cool area up to six months.
For longer-term storage, granola can be frozen. Place the granola into a plastic freezer bag and remove all the excess air. Date the bag and store it in the freezer for up to eight months.
The best way to remove the excess air is to use a vacuum sealer. They are one of those items making you wonder how you did without one before purchasing it. Amazon has many affordable ones. Check out their current prices here, Vacuum Sealers.
How do you store oatmeal?
Store unopened dry oatmeal in a cool, dry place away from the heat and sun. Opened oatmeal should be tightly covered in its original container, glass or plastic container or resealable bag. Opened, uncooked oatmeal does not have to be refrigerated.
Opened oatmeal should be stored up to one year. Always check the dates on the packaging. Typically, the “best if used by date” is a quality suggestion 6.
I compared everything between oatmeal and Cream of Wheat in my article, Cream of Wheat vs Oatmeal: What’s The Difference? We Compare.
The Health Benefits of Granola and Oatmeal
- Granola contains 483 mg of potassium per 100 grams
- Oatmeal contains 362 mg of potassium per 100 grams
Some medical experts recommend the potassium to sodium ratio of 4:1. Consuming too much sodium or not enough potassium throws off the delicate balance the kidneys need to remove the excess water 7.
Potassium helps the body get rid of excess sodium reducing fluid build-up. These help keep systolic and diastolic blood pressure lower 8.
According to Harvard Health, a number of studies have shown a connection between low potassium levels and high blood pressure 9. The more potassium, the more sodium your body will lose.
- Granola contains 10.2 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
- Oatmeal contains 10.1 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
Both foods are high in soluble fiber, which is helpful for many reasons 10. What makes fiber soluble is it dissolves in water.
Soluble fiber is known for the following:
- Help overall digestive health.
- Decrease the risk of diabetes by managing the blood glucose levels.
- Helps avoid constipation and have a more regular stool.
- Aids greatly in weight management because it allows you to feel full faster and eat less.
- Granola contains 109 mg of calcium per 100 grams
- Oatmeal contains 52 mg of calcium per 100 grams
Calcium is important for the heart and blood pressure. Harvard Health reports calcium helps maintain blood pressure by helping in the controlling of the relaxing and tightening of blood vessels 11.
Calcium also helps the following:
- Help the muscles to function properly.
- Helps nerve function.
- Build and maintain strong bones.
Is there a difference between overnight oats and oatmeal? Find out in my article, Overnight Oats vs Oatmeal: What’s The Difference? We Compare.
- Oatmeal contains 4.25 mg of iron per 100 grams
- Granola contains 2.81 mg of iron per 100 grams
Much higher in iron than other grains, oatmeal is an excellent choice if you need to get your daily value of iron. Iron is essential in the creation of red blood cells and is a necessary part of any healthy diet.
Iron is also vital for growth and development, as some hormones need iron to be appropriately balanced 12.
Oats and granola made with oats and honey are naturally gluten-free and might be a great substitute to other gluten-heavy items of a similar taste. Even those who don’t have a completely gluten-free diet may benefit from cutting down on their gluten.
Some granola may contain wheat, wheat flour or other ingredients not gluten-free. This type of granola wouldn’t be gluten free. Always check the label of your granola product.
Recently it has been discussed many more people have at least a small amount of gluten intolerance and are unaware of it. Having less gluten in your diet is a good choice for most.
Important: Although oats and granola made from just oats and honey are gluten free, they may come in contact with gluten-containing grains in storage or during transportation. Most of the Quaker oat products have solved this issue and label those products gluten free. Always check the label of your oatmeal or granola products to determine if its gluten free.
Of the six B vitamins listed below, granola provides a higher percentage of five of them compared to oatmeal.
The B vitamins provided include the following:
- B1 (thiamin)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B9 (folate)
B vitamins help support the following:
- Nerve function.
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Red blood cells.
- Brain function.
- Energy levels.
A lack of B vitamins has been associated with oxidative stress and neural inflammation. In a study released in 2018 32 healthy adults were given B vitamin supplementation for six months. The results indicated preliminary evidence B vitamin supplementation reduced oxidative stress and inflammation 13.
Find out if there is a difference in benefits between steel cut and regular oatmeal in my article, Steel Cut Oatmeal vs Oatmeal: Which Is Better? Let’s Compare.
- Oatmeal contains 410 mg of phosphorus per 100 grams
- Granola contains 392 mg of phosphorus per 100 grams
Phosphorus has been shown in scientific studies to help with the following:
- Help the body store and manage energy.
- Promote healthy nerve conduction.
- Promote bone and teeth strength.
- Muscle contraction.
- Muscle recovery.
- Help the kidneys remove waste.
- Oatmeal contains 138 mg of magnesium per 100 grams
- Granola contains 121 mg of magnesium per 100 grams
Magnesium helps keep blood pressure levels stable and balanced. Recent scientific research examined previous studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure 14.
Magnesium helps control the following:
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
- Nerve function
In the heart and muscles, magnesium competes with calcium to help the muscles relax after contracting. When the body is low in magnesium, calcium can over stimulate the heart muscle’s cells causing a rapid or irregular heartbeat 15.
One reason many people supplement with magnesium in the evening is because it helps calm the whole body including blood vessels.
Is oatmeal better than eggs? Find out in my article here, Eggs vs Oatmeal – Which Is Better? Let’s Compare.
Read Next – More Oatmeal vs Food Articles!
- USDA: Cereals, oats, regular and quick, not fortified, dry
- USDA: Cereals ready-to-eat, Quaker, 100% Natural Granola, Oats, Wheat and Honey
- Harvard Health Publishing: Glycemic index for 60+ foods
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them to Manage Your Diabetes
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: A satiety index of common foods
- Michigan State University: Dry oatmeal needs careful handling
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of the Sodium to Potassium Ratio on Hypertension Prevalence: A Propensity Score Matching Approach
- American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure
- Harvard Health: Potassium lowers blood pressure
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mechanisms linking dietary fiber, gut microbiota and colon cancer prevention
- Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure
- National Institutes of Health: Iron
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of a High-Dose Vitamin B Multivitamin Supplement on the Relationship between Brain Metabolism and Blood Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress: A Randomized Control Trial
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis
- National Institutes of Health: Magnesium
- Quaker: How to Prepare Quaker Oats
- Quaker: How does Quaker make Gluten Free Oats?
- Harvard T.H. Chan: Oats
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Instant Oatmeal Increases Satiety and Reduces Energy Intake Compared to a Ready-to-Eat Oat-Based Breakfast Cereal: A Randomized Crossover Trial
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Celiac disease, wheat allergy, and gluten sensitivity: when gluten free is not a fad
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Oatmeal-Containing Breakfast is Associated with Better Diet Quality and Higher Intake of Key Food Groups and Nutrients Compared to Other Breakfasts in Children
- Oldways Whole Grains Council: Whole Grains A to Z
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Oatmeal – Whole Grain Goodness
- Iowa State University: Nutrition Education: Oatmeal
- Wikipedia: Granola
- University Hospitals: Nutrition Facts Snacks, granola bars, hard, almond, 1 oz
- The University of Maine: Three Ingredient Granola
- University of Michigan: Healthy Granola
- University of Illinois Extension: Homemade granola bars
- University of Wyoming: Healthy Granola – Made By You
- Oxford University: International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002