If you think of granola as a healthy snack then you are probably suffering from a condition I call Selective Attention and the Feel Better Approach (SAAFBA).  You should seek medical attention immediately!

This disease, known to afflict a wide range of people, is particularly virulent when it strikes parents.  Sufferers of SAATFBA typically develop a unique form of tunnel vision: undesirable nutrients are rendered invisible thereby causing victims to recognize only select (positive) attributes of the food they (or their kids) are eating.

If you look at granola and see a variant of cookies there’s no need to worry: you’re SAATFBA-free.

Sufferers of SAATFBA have been known to wander around playgrounds saying things such as:

  • “At least it is made from whole grains.”
  • “But it has calcium.”
  • “They’re baked, not fried.”

Whereas mild cases of SAATFBA are not known to have lasting effects, chronic cases in families often produce children who prefer junk to real food.

Why? Child sufferers of SAAFBA end up developing such a strong attachment to undesirable nutrients that they end up eating only the foods that contain them.

Sometimes, children even end up preferring food that is “worse” than the original offering.

For example, children frequently exposed to chocolate milk for the calcium end up developing a preference for chocolate – and other similarly sweet foods — and not for milk.

In the same way, granola creates a preference for cookies, not for oats or other whole grains.  Read Cookies for Breakfast?

If you and your family are afflicted with SAATFBA the treatment is easy (but I have to warn you, many people find it painful).  You must…

1) Avoid reading both the nutrition labels and the nutrition claims printed on food products. Read Why Nobody Needs Nutrition Labels.

2) Classify processed foods according to the habits they produce, not their “best” nutrients.  In other words, chocolate milk must be classified as chocolate and granola classified as a cookie.

3) Dole out foods according to how frequently you want your children to eat the food’s “worst” incarnation, not its “best.”  In other words, granola shares time with cookies not with oatmeal (unless it’s highly sweetened oatmeal and then it shares time with cookies too).

When people recover from SAATFBA they automatically treat granola like cookies.

These numbers —  for 30 grams of granola and the equivalent (one) Kashi cookie — show you why:


  • Quaker Granola Bites – Chocolate Flavor: 135
  • Kashi TLC Oatmeal Dark Chocolate cookie: 130


  • Quaker Granola Bites – Chocolate Flavor: 9g
  • Kashi TLC Oatmeal Dark Chocolate cookie: 8g


  • Quaker Granola Bites – Chocolate Flavor: 5g
  • Kashi TLC Oatmeal Dark Chocolate cookie: 5g


  • Quaker Granola Bites – Chocolate Flavor: 45mg
  • Kashi TLC Oatmeal Dark Chocolate cookie: 65mg


  • Quaker Granola Bites – Chocolate Flavor: 3g
  • Kashi TLC Oatmeal Dark Chocolate cookie 4g

Of course, the Quaker Granola Bites – Chocolate Flavor comes in a 20g packet – a smaller amount than the 30g cookie — so if your children eat the Granola Bites they’ll consume fewer calories, less sugar, etc. than the numbers presented here, but the effect on their habits will be the same.

SAATFBA CAN be eradicated.

Since children develop food preferences from the “kid-friendly” aspect of a product – the sugar, the crunch, etc. — and from the other foods they associate an item with – i.e. granola with cookies – parents seeking a cure from SAATFBA must see every food through their children’s eyes, and then administer it accordingly.

~ Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits. ~


http://www.kashi.com/products/tlc_cookies_oatmeal_dark_chocolate accessed 6/10/10.

http://www.quakeroats.com/Products/Compare.aspx?id=3692f1b4-b9b1-4eb2-8cfb-c809641eb0fc – accessed 6/10/10