Review: Paleonola

Last week, a work friend and I got to talking about food, as we often do. Slowly, the subject turned to foods we missed, and between the two of us, we did a 5-minute performance art piece about how much we craved something so humble, you would never guess. It wasn’t pizza or chocolate ice cream or buttered popcorn – it was a bowl of cereal with milk. THAT is what we were mourning.

And that’s the day I sent email to Paleonola and requested a few samples to review for you. (They were sent to me by a very nice person whose title is “C.O.A – Chief of Awesomeness.” Even before I ate their granola, I loved this company.)

Paleonola is granola that’s totally grain-free – no pesky oats, wheat, or any other glutinous grains. It’s made from nuts, seeds, dried berries, honey, spices, and unsweetened coconut. And there are no preservatives. In short, it’s real food.

Last Sunday morning, Dave and I did a taste test of all the flavors. The first round was just a bite of each variety on its own so we could really get a sense of the flavors. Round two was a little Paleonola in a ramekin with coconut milk. It was the first “bowl of cereal” I’ve eaten since summer 2009, and it. was. awesome.

It’s totally, fabulously, unbelievably delicious.
It has the crunch and mouth-feel of a kickass breakfast cereal.
It has all the flavor of homemade trail mix, without the greasiness. I don’t know how they do it, but this stuff tastes really clean.

Because I’m still working to get leaner, I’m eating nuts and dried fruit as “sometimes” foods, rather than everyday foods. Paleonola is a little calorie dense, so if you have a sweet tooth or are on a mission to change your body composition, you might have to ration your servings.

Having said that, however, I do want to share the nutrition information because, even for a dried-fruit-and-nut treat, the nutrition information is pretty good. A quarter cup serving is just the right amount for a snack or to satisfy a jones for something desserty – and if you’re lean or a CrossFit fire breather, you can probably eat a double or triple serving without undoing your hard work. This is the label from the Original flavor:

Our Taste Test

We sampled all of the flavors and enjoyed them all for different reasons. They were all worth eating, and I could see having a desire to eat different flavors based on different moods. Paleonola offers a variety pack, so that would probably be a great way to go for your first order.

Original: This was the favorite for both of us. It tastes like traditional granola, but about a billion times better. Very crunchy with just the right, light touch of sweetness, plenty of cinnamon, and a pleasant, toasty flavor. On a spoon with some coconut milk, it was scrumptious without being cloyingly sweet.

Apple Pie: Less toasty than the Original, but still crisp. The apple flavor was true and predominant, but not overpowering. Again, the seasonings were just right.

Maple Pancake: Similar to the Apple Pie, but with a stronger cinnamon flavor and earthiness from raisins. Super comfort food.

Chocolate Fix: Surprisingly, this was our least favorite. Don’t get me wrong: it’s delicious. But we both preferred the sweetness of fruit to the sweetness of the chocolate. This is a very classy chocolate flavor – it’s not overpowering or overly sweet. And I should also admit that, generally, Dave and I don’t like chocolate with fruit. If you’re a chocoholic, this is definitely for you.

Pumpkin Pie: Another big winner! Really crispy and toasty like Original, but with more forceful cinnamon flavor. LOVED it.

Our Top 3

Dave’s Picks Mel’s Picks
1. Original 1. Original
2. Maple Pancake 2. Pumpkin Pie
3. Apple Pie 3. Maple Pancake

Dave wanted me to let you all know that he has more of a sweet tooth than I, so if you like things on the sweeter side, you might enjoy his top flavors. If you like things a little spicier and carmelized like me, you might try my top picks. But seriously: go for the variety pack!

The Particulars

Paleonola is sold in individual 10-ounce bags for $8.99, but if you buy in quantities of 6 or 12 bags, there’s a generous discount. Paleonola also offers a subscription service that guarantees six months of delivery so you never run out!

Paleonola Web Site (especially nice are the pages in the ‘Live Paleo’ section.)

Paleonola Blog

[I received complementary samples from Paleonola, but I didn’t promise them anything except a taste test and review. We genuinely enjoyed all of the flavors, and if I was ripped, I would eat it for breakfast at least twice a week. For now, it’s going on “treats that won’t make me sick” list.]

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  • Gaby says:

    Good stuff. I wish they sold them in Australia. Guess I’ll have to make my own 🙁

  • Ashley says:

    “Chief of Awesomeness” , love it. My boyfriend and I LOVE cereal. It’s one of the things we miss the most since starting paleo. Totally ordering this!

  • Michelle says:

    Hi! I just started eating paleo 2 weeks ago – I love your blog! I was wondering – when you say “coconut milk”, do you mean the stuff in the can or the substitute milk made from coconuts that’s usually found near the soy milk in the milk section of the grocery store?

    • Mel says:

      Congrats on making the switch! Hope you’re feeling great!

      When I say coconut milk I ALWAYS mean the kind in the can. The stuff in the milk aisle has non-paleo ingredients in it.

      When buying canned coconut milk, the only ingredients should be coconut, water and optionally guar gum – no sulfites! Taste of Thai, Whole Foods 365, and Native Forest are all paleo-approved.

  • JL says:

    *whew* Shipping is a little steep for one bag!! guess I’ll wait until I can get the entire variety pack. 🙂 Great find Mel, thanks for sharing!

    • Rosemary says:

      Hi Mel. I had some Paleonola at a restaurant yesterday & loved it. Saw your posts from last year when I googled it. FYI & that of your readers: I emailed the company and asked where I could buy Paleonola locally. Within 15 minutes they emailed back with 2 nearby stores that sell it (whole foods). So, forget the shipping costs, find out where it’s sold near you.

  • Rachel says:

    Wow, had no idea a product like this existed!!! Just splurged on a variety pack (cuz as JL says, no point in shipping one bag for $12). Hope you get kickbacks 😉

    • Mel says:

      Yay, I’m glad you’re excited. And no, I don’t get kickbacks. I got some free Paleonola to try… and then I liked it so much, I wanted you all to know about it. But no, no payola 😉

  • Steph H says:

    Hey Mel

    I did a review a few weeks back. I could eat the chocolate and pumpkin pie one all day long.

    steph h

  • Aimee says:

    I too miss cereal…but I make my own paleo bowl of yumminess occasionally for breakfast…if you can eat it with a spoon it must “cereal”. (at least that is how my mind works)
    Any kind of fresh berries or fruit you like cut into bite size pieces, slivered almonds and coconut milk. Serve it with some protien on the side ~ good to go!

  • Annie says:

    Hi Mel – I just discovered your site today, and I’m loving it. Good review on the Paleonola. I just ordered a bag of the original, so let’s see.

  • Mike says:

    Hi Mel,

    Cereal was the one thing that I had a hard time letting go of when I went grain free. I have a recipe on my blog at if you want to make your own paleo breakfast cereal.

  • Matt says:

    This stuff is amazing! I love the chocolate and the original. Although shipping is steep, its well worth it in my opinion.