Balanced Living

Another Granola Recipe

Posted by Arja on August 15 in Breakfast, Snacks

Although it is often chock full of really healthy ingredients, granola has received a bad reputation for being a high fat, high sugar food choice.  People who are trying to lose weight often avoid it like the plague, fearing the caloric hit their daily intake will take.  To add insult to injury, store-bought granola, especially those brands that use high quality ingredients, tends to cost a small fortunte!  The truth is, granola can be relatively inexpensive and very good for you but it all depends on the ingredients, and how much you use.

Most granolas available in major grocery stores have a lot of added sugar and oil.  It’s not that fat is bad for you, but the type of fat and amount of fat you use are important.  Sugar, on the other hand, really doesn’t have any redeeming qualities.  Making your own granola at home is a simple, cost-effective, and kind of rewarding experience.  You get to control the ingredients that you’re using, and all you really need to do is mix everything together and dump it on a baking sheet to put in the oven for 30-45 minutes.  The end result is a fragrant, healthy mix of oats, seeds, nuts (if you want them), spices, and dried fruit.  You can alter the ingredients each time that you make it, personalizing your mix depending on what you’re looking for.

This mixture of oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit with a touch of maple syrup is crunchy and satisfying.  A little bit goes a long way, so for those of you who are trying to cut back a bit for fat loss, 1-2 tablespoons added to your yoghurt and fruit in the morning makes for a delicious breakfast.  Here’s why you should go back to basics and start making your own granola:

Whole oats – an excellent source of minerals manganese, selenium, and phosphorus, they also contain magnesium and iron.  They are probably best known for their cholesterol lowering effects due to the beta-glucan content of their soluble fibre.

Seeds – Pumpkin seeds are rich in minerals like magnesium, iron, manganese, and zinc and are also a source of vitamin A, B1, B2, and B3.  They contain protein, essential fatty acids, and phytosterols and have long been considered an important part of any prostate health regime.  Sunflower seeds are a source of protein, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, iron, folic acid and B vitamins.

Nuts – Walnuts are considered to be one of the most nutrient dense of all the nuts.  They contain valuable antioxidants, vitamin E, and many minerals as well as Omega-3 fatty and alpha-linoleic fatty acids.  Almonds have a high fat content but are also a nutritional powerhouse.  They contain potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamin E along with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.  Both walnuts and almonds are an excellent source of fibre and protein.

Dried Fruit – Because of the concentrated sugars in dried fruit, it’s best to eat them in moderation.  They are, however, an excellent source of many of the valuable nutrients of fresh fruit.  When choosing dried fruit consider organic, or at the very least, unsulphured fruit.  Dried fruits like apricots have sulphur-dioxide added to them during the drying process to prevent them from spoiling.  Unsulfured varieties are preserved through blanching, and while they are less attractive and brown in colour, they are much better for you.  Many people also have sensitivities to sulfites.

For those of you who think you don’t have time to make granola, I can assure you that you do!  It takes 5 minutes to toss all of your ingredients into a bowl.  You then mix it all up and spread it on a baking sheet.  It goes into the oven for around 45 minutes, during which time you can do other work around the house, coming back to your pan occasionally to stir things around a bit.  Once it is finished, it needs to cool before you stir in your chopped, dried fruit and throw it in a jar to keep in the cupboard.  It’s that simple.  There are probably as many granola recipes out there as there are bloggers, and this recipe is inspired not just by one, but by many recipes before it.  It does not contain added oil, so it’s a much looser finished product, but still crunchy and addictive.

Another Granola Recipe
Makes enough to fill a 1L mason jar

2.5 cups old fashioned oats (not instant or quick-cooking)
1.5 cups mixed nuts, chopped (my faves are walnuts and almonds - skip this if allergic to nuts and you’ll still have a lovely finished product)
½ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
1-2 tsp ground spices (try cinnamon, cardamom, or ginger…  or all of them!)
½ cup good quality maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract (also optional)
Pinch of salt
¾ cup dried fruit (try apricots, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, or anything that strikes your fancy!), chopped if necessary

Step 1 – Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (not necessary, but makes clean up much simpler).

Step 2 – In a large bowl, mix oats, nuts (if using), seeds, coconut, spices, sweetener, and vanilla extract (if using).  Sprinkle with salt and stir well to combine.  Spread the mixture on your baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cook until the mixture is evenly brown.  The darker it gets, the crunchier the cooled product will be, but take care not to burn it!

Step 3 – Remove pan from the oven and let cool.  Add your chopped, dried fruit and store in a well-sealed container at room temperature.

Use to top some Greek yoghurt, serve with some almond milk (or other alternative), add to baked goods, or sprinkle on a fruit salad.  So good…

arja pennanen lytle c.n.p. n.n.c.p certified nutritional practitioner

Arja is a Holistic Nutritionist with a passion for balanced living. She loves to help people sleep better, think better, feel sexier, and just generally feel better by putting the focus on eating foods that make you feel good. Arja uses whole foods, lifestyle adjustments, herbs, and some supplements to help people feel their best and achieve their health and wellness goals.