If you’re watching your blood sugar in the morning, this healthy sugarless granola recipe uses nuts, seeds, vanilla, stevia and cinnamon to pack in tons of flavor and texture, with no added sugar in the form of dried fruit or natural sweeteners. It’s gluten-free, low FODMAP friendly and a delicious complete breakfast with plain yogurt and berries.
I’ve been on a savory breakfast kick recently (as I waxed poetic about in this low FODMAP breakfast hash recipe).
My work over the past 10 years researching SIBO symptoms, Hashimoto’s natural treatments, and the low FODMAP diet, made me appreciate how important our blood glucose levels are for managing chronic conditions. Hence, my new cookbook on the subject!
Essentially, all roads led to balancing blood sugar and getting our metabolic health in order. And once I was on that path, all research led to starting the day with less sugar.
The problem with a new “no sugar added” breakfast lifestyle is that so many foods we think of as traditional morning foods are sweet. But don’t kid yourself: Muffins are, essentially, breakfast cupcakes. Scones are cookies. And sugar-coated cereal with mini marshmallows is no different than candy.
In the grand scheme of these options, granola is usually thought of as the healthy alternative. Fun fact: I used to be called crunchy granola by my fashionable corporate colleagues during my first job out of college because of my hippy dippy eating habits and high heel allergy.
But the truth is, there are very few store-bought granolas that I would consider healthy enough to eat as anything but a treat. And that’s because if you turn the package around, you’ll see a sugar content that would rival some of the worst offending sodas on the shelf.
So the only solution really to enjoy delicious spiced oat clusters as a morning shelf-stable comfort food is to make your own homemade sugarless granola!
How to make sugarless granola
Sugar-free granola that’s good for your gut
Most sugarless granola recipes on the internet are not truly sugar-free. They usually have dried fruit or natural sweeteners like maple syrup or honey to give them some sweetness. There’s nothing wrong with that desire – I get it!
But these “natural” additions are a loophole to the concept of “no added sugar,” and do indeed contain just as much fructose (if not more!) than table sugar. Which means you’re not doing your gut any favors by starting with one of these granolas.
The natural sweeteners that are most neutral for your blood sugar are monk fruit and stevia. Since the latter tends to be more common, I used it in this sugar-free granola recipe.
Liquid stevia comes with a dropper and a little goes a long way. Since sticky options like honey and maple syrup are usually what holds a granola together, I’ve replaced the binder with egg white (vegan alternative below) and added the stevia directly to the wet ingredients so that it gets evenly distributed. But know your own tastebuds and aim for the higher end of my range if you require a very sweet granola.
The carbs in the whole oats are also further offset by making this granola very heavy on nuts and seeds, which are some of my favorite carb companions. A carb companion as I explain in my cookbook CARBIVORE is an ingredient that adds fiber, protein and fat to your plate, therefore allowing the carbs to enter your bloodstream more slowly.
This sugarless granola has double the ratio of nuts to oats (2:1).
Natural sweetener ideas for a low sugar granola
If you don’t want to go the stevia or monk fruit route, there are of course more traditional options for adding sweetness, while at the same time keeping this a low sugar granola (instead of a completely sugar-free one!).
- 1 medium very ripe banana: mash it up and toss with the oat mixture. You’ll need to bake it for an extra 10 minutes until fully dried out.
- 1-2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup: this is still quite a scant amount compared to other granola recipes, so increase it if you require more sweetness, keeping in mind the need to balance that impulse with other sources of fiber, protein and fat.
- 1 medium apple: finely chopped and pre-roasted for 10 minutes before being tossed with the oat mixture. This is probably the closest on this list to a no sugar added granola, since apple (especially green granny smith) is fairly low in sugar.
- 1-2 tablespoons dried fruit: believe it or not, this usually carries more fructose and sweet punch than pure maple syrup! This is because we are talking about the sugar content of a whole fruit squeezed down into a tiny package. And often dried fruit has added sugar in the form of a juice concentrate (check your package!). The best options flavor-wise, would be apricots (finely diced), cranberries or cherries. But keep in mind that you will be far from a sugarless granola.
How to serve this sugarless granola
My favorite carb companion for this sugar-free granola is plain coconut yogurt. You’ll notice that it carries its own sweetness, so can enhance the shredded coconut and cinnamon in the oat mix. Any full fat unsweetened yogurt can work though!
Additional toppings include: spoonful of almond or peanut butter, chopped green apple, sliced banana, or for even less sugar, fresh mixed berries.
If you’re eating this granola with milk, go for a full fat variety. Choose nut milk over oat milk. For the plant-based options, make sure you’re selecting one with no sugar added.
Is this a low FODMAP granola?
Almost all the ingredients in this sugarless granola are low FODMAP. Almonds are the only one you have to watch out for. The safe serving for almonds is 10 per meal. Since there are only ½ cup in this recipe, you should be fine so long as you limit your serving of the finished granola to around ½ to ¾ of a cup (since the granola makes 4 servings).
To make the granola stretch further, load up your plate or bowl with yogurt and blueberries.
Other low sugar, gluten-free oat recipes:
- Steel Cut Oat Cookies
- 15-Minute Low FODMAP Oatmeal
- Easy Savory Oatmeal with Mushrooms
- Steel Cut Overnight Oats
- Low Sugar Oatmeal Cookies
Read on for this delicious spiced sugar-free granola recipe!
With health and hedonism,
Cinnamon-Nut Sugar-Free Granola
- 1 large egg white or 1 tablespoons flaxseed meal + 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 15 – 20 drops stevia
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup gluten-free whole rolled oats
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans or a mix
- 1/2 cup slivered or chopped almonds
- 1/2 cup finely chopped brazil nuts
- 1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white (or flaxseed and water) with the vanilla and stevia.
- Add cinnamon and salt and mix until smooth. Fold in the oats, walnuts or pecans, almonds, brazil nuts, coconut and chia seeds.
- Transfer the granola mixture to the prepared pan and spread it in an even layer. Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the sugarless granola is lightly browned and dried out. Check it once at the 20 minute mark and if you notice any parts turning dark brown, turn your oven temperature down slightly.
- Remove from the oven and let the granola cool completely on the pan. Break it apart into large clumps and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.