bear naked granola

I’ve eaten a lot of Bear Naked granola. I think I’ve tried just about every line of their granola as well as some of their other cereals and trail mixes.

Just take a look at this list of my Bear Naked reviews so far: Bear Naked Native, Bear Naked Fit, Bear Naked Trail Mix, Bear Naked Peak Protein.

But today I want to review the regular granola. (I started off by only reviewing the Peanut Butter and Jelly flavor, but it wasn’t long before I had sampled every other flavor from Bear Naked!)

So for those of you who want a complete review of the regular Bear Naked granola, here it is.

 

Bear Naked Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

I’m looking at the Fruit & Nut flavor for this part, but most of the granolas have very similar ingredients, so this overview applies to basically all the regular Bear Naked flavors.

In general, this is a mix of oats, nuts, and fruit. It appears very natural, which is what I like to see.

Fruit & Nut Ingredients:

Whole Grain Oats, Honey, Canola Oil, Almonds, Raisins (Raisins, Glycerin, Sunflower Oil), Coconut, Sweetened Dried Cranberries (Cranberries, Sugar, Glycerin, Sunflower Oil), Pecans, Walnuts, Maple Syrup, Oat Bran, Ground Flax Seeds, Toasted Sesame Seeds.

For the most part, the ingredients are natural and haven’t been processed too much. You could nitpick if you wanted, but for a pre-packaged granola, this is about as good as it gets.

Nutrition Facts:

The Serving Size is 1/4 cup, which gives you:

Calories 140
Total Fat 7g
Total Carbs 17g
(Sugars 6g)
Protein 3g

As with most granolas, this is calorie-dense and contains plenty of fat and carbs. The sugar is fairly low, though, which is nice.

As I’ve said before, it would be healthiest to avoid all processed snacks (even this Bear Naked,) but that’s usually not practical or enjoyable. So if you want some enjoyment, Bear Naked is a pretty healthy way of getting it.

bear naked granola

Bear Naked Granola Taste Test

Here are my thoughts on all the Bear Naked flavors…

Apple Cinnamon

Pictured above, apple cinnamon really drew me in. It has a strong cinnamon flavor and is pretty sweet, but not too sweet. The apple chunks are nice and tasty (note that they are like dehydrated apples, rather than the apple chips you buy in the store.)

Overall, it’s pretty good, but didn’t strike me as something special.

Fruit and Nut

This one is awesome. Soft and sticky texture, sweet flavor. My favorite of the bunch. (Almost as good as the Native granolas.)

Fruit and Nut might not sound like the most exciting flavor, but Bear Naked does a great job at exploiting this traditional flavor to be the best it can be, and it’s probably the best flavor to try if you like to keep things simple.

Peanut Butter

Pretty soft granola chunks with bold peanut butter flavor, plus peanut halves. Pretty good.

Peanut Butter & Jelly

This granola is awesome! It’s like the peanut butter flavor, but with little chewy raspberry pieces serving as the jelly.

I like it best plain, in handfuls right out of the bag. It tastes great, is fun to eat, and it’s fairly healthy!

Banana Nut

Good soft granola chunks with walnuts and banana chips. Sweet, but not too sweet. If you like banana nut bread you’ll like this.

(Sweeter than Peanut Butter, but not as sweet as Fruit and Nut.)

Peanut Butter + Heavenly Chocolate Hybrid

Very good mix. Tastes like you’re eating some good homemade no-bake cookies. (The ones that are basically oats, chocolate, and peanut butter mixed together.)

Maple Pecan

N/A

 

Tested: Bear Naked Fruit and Nut All Natural Granola

bear naked fruit and nut

I got a chance to grab some more Bear Naked granola the other day. After trying the Peak Protein and Peanut Butter & Jelly flavors, it was nice to try something more traditional, like this fruit and nut flavor.

It looks like a collection of oats, almonds, pecans, and raisins, all covered in a light, sweet coating of honey. And that’s exactly what it tastes like. It’s almost more of a trail mix.

The flavor didn’t surprise me, but it was a solid flavor. The interesting point was how sweet it was. I found “wildflower honey” and “maple syrup” in the ingredients, which must be how this flavor gets that sweet and sticky taste.

That sweetness is what really what sets this apart and gives it just a slight edge over other “fruit and nut” granola you can find on the store shelves.

bear naked fruit nut granola

Here is the full ingredients list:

Whole grain oats, wildflower honey, expeller pressed canola oil, almonds, raisins, sweetened cranberries, coconut, walnuts, pecans, maple syrup, oat bran, whole grain flax meal, sesame seeds

bear naked package

A variety of healthy, natural ingredients – no surprise!

I thought it was cool how Bear Naked comes in 2oz bags. Yes, I guess it is more wasteful than buying it in the bigger bags, but these 2oz bags fit perfectly in a jersey pocket and could be a decent energy bar replacement!

(The granola is definitely less-processed than every energy bar I’ve used, aside from the Larabar, so it would be a neat snack.)

There’s not much more to say about this that I haven’t said already – it’s just a great granola all around.

 

Bear Naked Peak Protein Granola Taste Test & Review

bear naked granola peak protein

I also grabbed some of the Peak Protein variety, so we can take a look at that today…

The first thing you have to wonder is, “what does ‘peak protein’ taste like? Is that the actual flavor?”

I wondered that myself, and now I can tell you. The answer is, “it tastes like you would expect peak protein to taste.” Good answer, huh?

Peak Protein Granola Taste and Texture

To elaborate a bit more, it’s a mix of oats, whole grains, some cranberries, and sunflower seeds. It’s a great taste, but to actually give you some idea of the taste, I’d call it “nutty.” As in, it tastes like a mix of seeds and nuts (which makes sense, because those are two good sources of protein.)

As for the texture, it has the good, hearty texture you’d expect from an all-natural granola. However, it’s really soft at the same time, which makes for a great overall experience.

Just like the other Bear Naked granolas, it’s great for eating straight out of the bag. Peak Protein is especially good because it’s noticeably softer than usual, so there’s no need for milk.

Peak Protein Granola: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Bear Naked granolas offer natural, healthy ingredients. Peak Protein is no exception.

Ingredients: Whole grain oats, Honey, soy flakes, canola oil, Sweetened dried cranberries (cranberries, sugar, glycerin, sunflower oil), soy protein isolate, Dry roasted sunflower seeds, whole grain crisp rice (whole grain rice, barley malt), Ground flax seed, cinnamon, natural flavors

In a 1/4 cup serving, you get 140 calories, 7g fat, 6g sugar, and 5g protein.

Five grams of protein in a small serving is pretty good for a cereal, but it’s kind of funny in this case. See, the regular Peanut Butter & Jelly Bear Naked granola had 4g protein per serving. For a flavor to qualify as “Peak Protein” I would expect at least 8g protein per serving. One extra gram doesn’t seem like that big of deal.

That said, this Peak Protein granola is a neat idea for a vegetarian looking to get more protein. When I was weight lifting last winter, I’d have a small bag of this after my evening workout. (A bag had 700 calories and 25g protein.)

It’s not the easiest food for loading up on protein though. Some protein bars will have 25-35g protein in a single bar. This granola is most likely healthier and better tasting than most protein bars, but it just doesn’t have enough protein per serving if you’re really loading up on protein.

bear naked granola peak protein

This is a tasty, healthy granola, and it contains quite a bit of protein. It’s not protein-dense like a real protein bar, so it’s not a product for bodybuilders, but it should work well for a cyclist (especially a vegetarian cyclist).

Try it, you’ll probably like it. (Just be ready to spend your money, it’s one of the more expensive granolas out there.)

 

Tested: Bear Naked All Natural Peanut Butter & Jelly Granola

Looking for the best all-natural granola that money can buy? Then get Bear Naked!

This has nothing to do with taking off your clothes – Bear Naked is the company that makes the granola! If the price is any factor, this is what you call a premium granola! (It’s typically $5-6 for a 12 oz bag, one of the highest priced cereals out there.)

For the price you do get a granola that is made with all-natural ingredients and whole grains, vegan friendly, certified Kosher, and even hand-crafted in small batches with REAL freeze-dried blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and hearty nuts.

Once you have some, you see how good it is! They have a lot of good flavors, but today we’ll look at a classic, Peanut Butter & Jelly.

The big question on my mind was, “is this going to taste like a real pb&j sandwich?”

You know what, this peanut butter & jelly flavor does remind me of a good ol’ pb&j sandwich! You can see it contains whole grains, peanuts, and dried raspberries (just like bread, peanut butter, and jelly.) So if you take a handful and chew on it, and close your eyes and flashback to childhood, visions of fresh pb&j sandwiches should dance in your mind!

bear naked granola in bowl

After consuming a few bags of this stuff, whether straight from the bag, with milk, or with yogurt, there was a clear winner. Grabbing this granola out of the bag by the handful was the best way to eat it! It’s really fun to just open the bag and eat.

You could put it in a bowl and eat it by the spoonful, too, but that requires a bowl and a spoon. C’mon, utensils aren’t fun!

I preferred to pick out the dried raspberries and eat them first, and then I’d scarf down the rest by the handful. It has a great flavor, like natural peanut butter.

Overall, this just plain tastes good, and the texture is just right. It has a satisfying crunch, but it’s still soft, so you can chew it easily.

However, in milk, it’s not so great. It’s still OK, but eating it plain is so much better. It seems like the milk takes away some of the good, natural flavor. Peanut butter and jelly is perfect as is – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Although this is so good, I guess I should also consider, “Is this Bear Naked granola healthy?”

bear naked granola milk

You bet it is. All you have to do is look at the ingredients list and realize that you can pronounce everything on there!

Key ingredients include whole grain oats, expeller pressed canola oil, peanuts, honey, sweetened dried red raspberries, coconut, natural peanut butter, whole grain crisp rice, brown rice syrup, ground flax seed, oat bran, and natural grape flavor.

For a cereal that comes out of a bag, that’s as close to unprocessed food as it gets!

As with most granola, this is high in fat – 7g per 1/4 cup serving. But that’s mostly from the natural peanut butter, so it’s a healthy fat. Just 4g sugar per serving! That all adds up to 140 calories per serving. (Although I have no problem eating an entire bag at once, which is 11 servings, or 1500 calories!)

If pb&j isn’t your thing, there are other Bear Naked flavors, such as Fruit and Nut, Peak Protein, Heavenly Chocolate, Blueberry Walnut, Banana Nut, Apple Cinnamon, and Peanut Butter. If granola isn’t your thing, Bear Naked also makes hot cereals and trail mix.

And let’s not forget…

Bear Naked and Cannondale sponsor a sweet mountain bike team that includes my friends Brandon Draugelis and Rob Lichtenwalner!

That’s actually how I first heard about this stuff. I got a taste of this great granola courtesy of Brandon, one of Bear Naked/Cannondale’s top racers on the east coast.

After that I found it in the stores and had to continue buying it!

And get this – if you save your empty granola bags, you can send them back to Bear Naked to get recycled. To say thanks, Bear Naked will then send you free gear like a t-shirt or reusable grocery bag!

*The recycling program has changed a little since I first wrote this review, but they still have one, and it’s run through TerraCycle. They call it the Bear Naked Brigade and have expanded the gear selection!

 

Bear Naked Native Granolas

bear naked native granola bags

I’m no stranger to Bear Naked granola. I’ve taste tested and reviewed their PB & J, Peak Protein, and Fruit and Nut granolas, recycled the bags, and got the free t-shirt to prove it.

It’s good enough that I keep going back for more. And when they launch a new line, I can’t wait to get my hands on it! Today, that new line is the Bear Naked Native granola, which uses interesting ingredients “native” to certain parts of the world (that we don’t usually get in granola.)

Each flavor has a story behind it, which you can find printed on the back of the bag. Plus, the bags have a really cool, natural look to them, so this line appeals to your eyes and taste buds!

Bear Naked Native: Health and Nutrition (The Usual)

Not much changes in the health and nutrition department. Bear Naked remains the poster child for natural, unprocessed (or “bearly processed” as they say) ingredients.

With Bear Naked, there are no preservatives, no cholesterol, 0g trans fat, no hydrogenated oils, no artificial flavors, and no high fructose corn syrup. You can’t beat that!

Here are the ingredients for the Mango Agave Almond flavor:

Whole grain oats, agave glazed almonds (almonds, sugar, agave nectar, palm kernel oil, salt, natural flavor, rosemary extract), canola oil, sweetened dried mangos (mangos, sugar, glycerin), oat bran, evaporated cane juice, agave nectar, coconut, whole grain crisp rice (whole grain rice, barley malt), brown rice syrup, honey, ground flax seed, cinnamon.

Does any other great-tasting cereal have ingredients like that? I doubt it.

Bear Naked Native: Taste Test

Here are my thoughts on the two Native flavors…

Mango Agave Almond

bear naked mango agave almond

In one word, awesome. I love mangoes, almonds, and agave (as a sweetener), so it’s no surprise I absolutely adored this flavor. The granola was what you’d expect, with some sweet mango chunks in there.

But, as if that’s not enough, this granola also contains “agave glazed almonds” which were out of this world! Basically, each almond is coated with a thick layer of agave nectar, which is kind of like honey, but sweeter. Think honey roasted almonds but with more texture and even sweeter!

Best almonds I’ve ever had! So yeah, this stuff rules.

Yumberry Goji Currant

bear naked yumberry goji currant

I wasn’t sure if I’d like this flavor that much, but it impressed me quite a bit! The granola is great, as usual, and it includes dried yumberries, goji berries, and currants. Each tasted great!

If you like blackberries, blueberries, and/or raspberries, you’ll like these berries. The taste isn’t too far off a typical berry, but it’s different enough to be enticing and refreshingly new.

The dried goji berries were probably the best. So skip those over-hyped goji juices and get some of this granola instead!

To sum that up: both of these flavors from the Bear Naked Native line are awesome!

The only thing missing (in both flavors) were the bigger chunks of granola found in some of the regular varieties. The grains seem to be mostly loose in these Native granolas, making it harder to eat with your hand. It still tastes great with a spoon, but sometimes I love to grab the big chunks straight out of the bag.

(That was the best I could come up with for a downside to this granola!)

Bear Naked Native granola is the best granola ever! It’s a lot better than the regular Bear Naked, and that’s an accomplishment, because the regular stuff is still awesome. And it’s still healthy as ever.

You absolutely have to try the Native line! (Both flavors are amazing, but I give a slight edge to the mango agave almond.)

While I’m usually hesitant to purchase Bear Naked granola due to the price, the Native line is so good it’s easily worth the price tag. “Affordable luxury” at its finest!

 

My final verdict is…

Bear Naked granola is great stuff. One of the healthiest, least processed cereals out there. This is one of my favorite snacks in the world.

If you like sweet flavors, try the fruit and nut types. If you like bold flavors, peanut butter is good, and the chocolate + peanut butter is even better.

It can get expensive (like all other natural/organic food), but it makes for a good treat, so I recommend having some when the craving hits.

(Of course, healthy food that actually tastes good is kind of expensive, so see if this fits your budget.)

Official website: BearNaked.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com

Product Review Details
Company: Bear Naked
Product: Bear Naked Granola
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Date first published: 2008-07-19
Date last updated: 2010-08-30
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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Levi Bloom is an experienced endurance athlete who has been training and competing for over 17 years. A former Cat 1 road and mountain bike racer (professional class on the regional circuit), he is now a cycling coach (USA Cycling Level 3 Certified) and sports nutrition coach (Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified).

2 Comments
  1. Peanut Butter & Jelly is the best granola I have ever had in my life. The inclusion of high quality Kosher ingredients is very high. The taste is addictive. Takes me back to middle school lunches in the cafeteria.

  2. Can you freeze bare naked banana nut granola?

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