May 24, 2016

Zero Waste Granola - Homemade vs Premade


Like a babysitter actually watching babies or the IT guy asking if you've "tried turning it off and on again", this granola really is doing a granola post.

Twice this year I've blogged about trying to wean myself off of boxed cereal in the name of Zero Waste (once at New Year's and once while trying to Terra Cycle).  Cereal is so cheap and easy and kid-approved (see:  the truckload of Cheerios found under my kids' carseats), but not Zero Waste.

I've turned to granola as my cessation aid.

This post compares buying bulk granola and making granola with bulk ingredients.

And no spoiler alert, I'm here to tell you outright that bulk and homemade granola cost about the same, are definitely more expensive than Cheerios but cheaper than packaged granola.*

Premade, Bulk Granola

Found in some bulk stores and Whole Foods, this stuff can cost you between $4 and $9 a pound:

Why do we like it?
  • It's already made
  • It goes on sale
  • It only requires one bulk container 

Why is it not totally awesome?
  • Not as tasty as homemade
  • Not as fresh as homemade
  • The exciting ones can be expensive
  • Potentially has lots of sugar

In fact, if you don't pay attention, you can end up with the Fruity Pebbles of granola.

Case in point:  here's the actual nutrition label for Fruity Pebbles:

And here's a random Whole Foods granola, same serving size:



Yah.  So pay attention to the sugars if you care about that thing.  Otherwise your kids will be able to stand up their forks in the leftover sugar milk.  (Here are some more hints for buying bulk granola.)

Homemade Granola

I made some tasty granola and it cost, not counting energy, sunken material costs, or labor, a little over $4 a pound.  And look, it's not boring.  It's got nuts and seeds and stuff:


Why do we like it?
  • It tastes good!
  • It's easy to make
  • It's fresh and crunchy
  • You can control the sugar
  • You can use whatever you want (like stuff that goes on sale)

What keeps it from being totally awesome?
  • You need an hour to make it
  • Getting five to nine ingredients in bulk is a pain
  • It can be expensive
  • Your store might run out of stuff

While prepping this post, for example, Whole Foods had run out of....oatmeal.  Two extra-large bins of rolled oats, completely empty.

Which brings me to next week's post - if you are going to make your own granola from bulk (and after realizing that the price is quite similar, I now think that you should give it a go), there are a few things to consider to make your life easier.

La prochaine fois, mes amis.

*I can get Cheerios for something $ .17/oz whereas making granola is more like $ .25/oz.  But I think you tend to pour yourself a smaller bowl of granola than you would a bowl of Cheerios.  So that helps.  More servings, you know?

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