Granola is a popular ingredient in cereals, dishes and snacks. Granola is high in fiber and protein but some varieties — such as processed granola bars — can be high in sugar, fat and calories.


Granola is made primarily of rolled oats. A rolled oat is a whole oat or groat oat that has the outer hull removed, is steamed, rolled flat and flaked. Other ingredients in granola are nuts, such as almonds, sunflower seeds and other nuts. Dried fruit is also a popular ingredient in granola. Dried raisins are the most common, while dried apple pieces, dried banana pieces or dried apricot pieces can also be found in some granola mixtures.


Granola is popular as a cereal. Like a traditional cereal, milk can be poured over granola and eaten with a spoon. Fresh fruits can be added on top of a granola cereal. Granola can also be used in desserts, such as fruit crisps. Granola bars are also popular, though processing can make some granola bars high in sugars and fats.


The roots of granola lead back to the 19th century, when Sylvester Graham created the graham cracker. In the mid-19th century, Dr. James C. Jackson took the graham cracker and, after a process of breaking the graham cracker up and baking it, created what he referred to as “Granula.” In the late 19th century Dr. John Harvey Kellogg took whole ground oats, baked them and broke them up; Kellogg also referred to this dish as granula, but was sued by Jackson and Kellogg changed the name to granola.