Granola is a popular breakfast item and snack with a reputation for being both healthy and delicious. It is even a synonym for health consciousness. If someone calls you “granola,” they mean that you’re interested in health, wellness, and natural living.
Can birds eat granola? Is it okay to offer granola to backyard birds? Great questions!
Before making a new type of food available for the wild birds in your yard, it’s always worth doing some checking!
Granola is safe for birds! Some granola products can be pretty heavy on sugar and preservatives, so let’s take a look at the guidelines for when you should or shouldn’t feed granola to wild birds.
What Is in Granola?
Granola combines rolled oats and nuts with a sweetener, which is usually honey or brown sugar. Depending on the recipe or the product, it may also include:
- Other grains, such as barley
- Puffed rice
- Dried fruit
- Nut butter
- Peanut butter
- Seed oils
Granola can be purchased as loose cereal or in the form of a granola bar. It is even available as a yogurt-covered treat.
Health Benefits of Granola
Even though granola is considered to be pretty healthy, it depends on the type of granola, the ingredients, and how much sugar and fat has been added.
In general, granola has high levels of protein, fiber, and the following nutrients:
- B vitamins
- vitamin E
It is usually high in calories. If you purchase granola that has lots of dried fruits or sweeteners, it will have higher levels of sugar and protein. Whole-grain granola will have lots of fiber.
It’s not possible to provide nutrition information for granola, because there are so many different kinds and recipes, and each one will have a different nutritional makeup.
Is Museli the Same as Granola?
Museli is similar to granola, but with two key differences.
1) Museli is raw, not baked like granola.
2) Granola uses more sweeteners, whereas muesli’s sweetness comes only from dried fruit.
Do Birds Like Granola?
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that suggests that birds love granola!
It includes many of the same ingredients as high-quality bird seed mixes, which makes it a familiar treat. Birds sometimes take some time to recognize a new food as something they can eat, but granola is familiar enough for them to enjoy right away.
Also, many bird species enjoy a diet with lots of sweet flavors!
Fruit and grain-eating breeds of birds will both enjoy granola.
Can Birds Eat Honey-Flavored Granola?
In general, you should avoid using honey for making suet, birdfeeders, or sweet nectar for hummingbirds. Should you also avoid giving birds honey-flavored granola?
There is some debate on this topic. Pet owners may be encouraged to offer honey-flavored snacks to their parrots in moderation because honey itself is not toxic to birds. On the other hand, many experts advise birders to avoid honey altogether.
The problem with honey is that it can harbor bacteria and mold. The mold and bacteria growth may not be obvious to a bird who would normally avoid a dish of moldy fruit. It’s also high in sugar content, and most birds can find plenty of sugar on their own.
It is always going to be the safest option to choose granola that doesn’t have honey.
However, store-bought granola has smaller amounts of honey in it than homemade recipes. If you have already given honey-flavored granola to the birds in your yard, you probably haven’t made a terrible mistake.
In the future, consider bypassing honey-flavored granola when choosing treats for the birds.
Can Birds Eat Granola Bars?
There is no significant nutritional difference between granola and granola bars. Individual products may vary in fat, protein, sugar, and other nutritional facts, of course.
The main difference between granola bars and loose granola is that granola bars are pressed together and baked into the shape of a bar. That’s pretty much it!
Even so, granola bars are often marketed toward kids and are packed with extra sugar. A plain, natural granola bar is safer for the birds than one that is filled with extra sugar, chocolate, frosting, and other additives. Kids’ granola bars are not the best for your birds.
If you do want to give the birds some granola bars, consider breaking them up into small pieces first.
Can Pet Birds Eat Granola?
Pet birds can eat granola!
Just like with wild birds, you should avoid giving them honey-based granola products. Additionally, the granola should only be an occasional treat for your parrot or other pet bird. In the wild, birds eat a mostly natural diet and find the nutrition they need through foraging and visiting birdfeeders.
In your home, you are completely responsible for the dietary health of your pet birds. Providing birds with a healthy diet is such an important job for bird owners! One way to ensure that you’re providing a well-rounded diet is to offer mostly fresh foods rather than processed ones. That includes granola.
Can Birds Eat Homemade Granola?
Homemade granola is a healthy option because you can control exactly what goes into the recipe!
You can skip the honey and use an alternative like molasses or syrup. You can also increase the number of healthy grains and eliminate unnecessary sugary additives like chocolate.
Of course, you can also feed muesli to birds if you want to choose a homemade option that contains less sugar.
A Few More Ideas for Feeding Cereal to Birds
Cereal is a popular addition to many birders’ feeding habits. It is so much fun to vary what you put in your feeders or scatter on the ground because birds love variety just about as much as people do!
Granola is just one type of breakfast cereal that birds enjoy. Bran flakes, cornflakes, oats, Cheerios (plain, not Honey Nut), and other plain cereals are all great options for birds as part of a balanced diet.
Avoid cereals that have chocolate, honey, or high levels of sugar.
If you feel like the cereal or granola you’re offering is too big and chunky, put it in a bag and crush the larger pieces with a rolling pin first! That way, even your smallest songbirds can enjoy a delicious and healthy snack.
If you want to make a fun and easy bird-related craft with the kids in your life, cereal is a great strategy! For example, I love the idea of coating ice cream cones or large pretzels in peanut butter, dipping them in granola or another cereal, and hanging it with a piece of string or yarn.
Have Fun Feeding Granola to the Birds in Your Yard!
There are so many options for feeding granola to your backyard birds! If you continue to offer a variety of foods, including healthy, tasty options like granola, you should start to see more birds come to visit your feeders. If all goes well, you’ll also start seeing more variety of birds as well.