Product Review: Galaxy Granola
There are few things more pleasurable to the palate than granola for breakfast. Whether set atop cool, creamy yogurt or mixed with fruit and nuts, granola is that All-American — if not totally hippy-spawned — staple which resonates because of its assertive, crunchy texture and sweet, nutty flavor.
It has also become a popular choice for “Not so Healthy Health Foods ” columns, like this one from EatingWell.com. And you know what, they’re right. Granola portion sizes are notoriously small, and they often contain a buttload of added sugar and fat.
But seriously folks, that’s part of what makes granola so addictive.
Well, the folks at Galaxy Granola want you to have your crunchy and sweet fix without the guilt, and have launched an advertising campaign to prove it. I was recently contacted by the company to try out their Fruit Not Fat™ take on granola, which flaunts itself as having “70% less fat than over 100 granolas.” The secret, you ask? According to Galaxy, it’s the use of a fruit-base (usually Applesauce) which the granola bakes in. With no artificial ingredients, oil, or processed sugar, Galaxy claims that their granola isn’t a health food in disguise, and once more, tastes just as good.
I was skeptical going in. I’m all for health food, but it’s gotta taste good to win me over. And while most granolas do contain quite a bit of fat, in moderation (and combined with other, healthy pairings) they usually still qualify in the complete breakfast category. For the record, I’m no novice when it comes to granola. Several years ago I used to eat it everyday for breakfast. No, not with the usual plain yogurt and fruit, but with a oversized bowl of Apple Jacks. The sugar rush was intense, but when you’re a freshman in college, what can you expect? Anyways, here’s my take on three of Galaxy’s flavors (nutrition info based on 1.4 cup serving).
Not so Sweet Vanilla (115 calories, 1.4 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 4 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 4 g protein)
Proof that there is truth in advertising (well, kinda), this variety was disappointing in the flavor department. It tasted decidedly less sweet than granolas I’ve had in the past, while the texture seemed incredibly uniform. I didn’t get much, if any, vanilla flavor until I added a container of vanilla yogurt, and found the rolled oat pieces to lack the crunchy glaze found on regular granola that has been toasted in oil and brown sugar. The oats were pleasantly crisp, but they still retained a slight ‘chalkiness’ to them, and didn’t give off the natural nutty flavor one expects from toasted oats. A slight chewiness remained as well. Of all the flavors I tried, I liked this one the least, and would only recommend it with plenty of sweet mix-ins.
Raspberry (115 calories, 1.4 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 4 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 4 g protein)
I think this is an intriguing flavor choice for a granola, so I credit Galaxy there. Likewise, the dried raspberry pieces seemed plentiful enough, although they didn’t have much sweetness on their own, and gave off a tart astringency. But my big issue was with the texture. What is the point of dried raspberries in a granola? Sure, some people eat granola in milk, but the pieces aren’t going to reconstitute in plain yogurt, like I had this in. Again, the oats displayed the same not-quite fully toasted nature, and gave off limited sweetness until I added sweetener on my own. Once I did, however, a pleasant and altogether fruity sweetness engulfed the raspberries and oats, so much so that I enjoyed my bowl. “So that’s the key,” I thought to myself. Have splenda on hand!
Vanilla Almond (120 calories, 2.2 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 4 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 4 g protein)
This was actually the best of the bunch, although I didn’t think I would like it because I usually don’t “get” nuts. At first I didn’t like that it contained whole almonds, but found that they provided an amazingly strong flavor which had hints of biscotti and amaretto, and brought a welcomed spiciness that the other flavors lacked. They were also plentiful in the bag. My same complaints about the oats themselves hung true, however, but given my use of added sweetener, I thought the granola has a reasonably well showing. One thing I noticed was a lack of honey flavor. Listed as one of the sweeteners used on the label, I felt that the sweetness came from the licorice taste of the almonds, and didn’t pick up on more complex or earthy notes of natural sweetness. Granted, my perception of sweet may be different than yours considering my love of all things HFCS and Sucrose, but I really felt like the granola could have used another level of kick.
If you’re looking for a lower calorie alternative to traditional granola and are not averse to pumping up your morning bowl with plenty of fruit and sweetened yogurt, then I think Galaxy Granola is a good alternative to the higher fat, higher sugar varieties out there. Notice, however, that I said “alternative.” Traditionalists will find this by no means an acceptable substitute, and like me they’ll find themselves missing the dense, crunchy nature of the oats provided by the oil and brown sugar, as well as the spicy, over-the-top sweetness that comes from well toasted nuts and a variety of components thrown into the mix. Nobody will be mistaking this for regular granola, and despite their claims for opening up “endless possibilities” with their use of fruit-baked granola, Galaxy just doesn’t stack up taste wise to the real thing.
Pros: Healthiest granola on the market with only 120 calories and 2 or less fat grams per 1/4 cup serving. Good balance of fiber and protein. Whole grains. Goes together mildly well with sweetened yogurt. Almond variety has strong spice and amaretto flavor.
Cons: Obviously not "real" granola. Lacks body and depth of flavor. Oats still have some give and aren't very crunchy. Needs more sugar. Could use assertive spice or other elements of texture besides oats. Not available in "mainstream" stores (check Whole Foods).
Price: Free Sample (Retails for $5.49 on company website)
Overall GrubGrade: 6.25 (Average)
More Info: GalaxyGranola.com