Is granola really healthy?
Over the last couple of years, I have heard numerous times that granola is a healthy and nutritious breakfast. Almost everywhere I look there are breakfast ads saying that granola is pretty much the best you can get. And then I see my friends and family members buying boxes and boxes of granola and confirming how delicious and sweet it is but still healthy. But have you ever thought about why store-bought granola is so sweet and tasty?
Just take a look at the ingredients on the package. Chances are there's a load of added sugar. Or even worse – high fructose corn syrup. And usually also some unhealthy fats like palm oil.
So let's look at what granola really is. A toasted mixture of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, and some sugar and fat. It needs sugar and fat to make it compact and crunchy and toasted after baking. But there are always better and worse fats and sugars to choose from when preparing your own.
So we've done just that – made our own homemade granola with healthier ingredients but without losing the taste and crunchiness. And with a big batch of it ready to go it's easy to prep and you have breakfast ready when you're hungry.
Homemade Granola Nutritional Stuff
Oats are the main ingredient in granola, and toasting them makes them so crunchy and delicious. Oats are full of fiber and complex carbs which add to the energy content of the meal as well. They are also a source of great minerals such as manganese, selenium and phosphorus.
Nuts are also a must-have for a healthy granola. We tend to use almonds and hazelnuts as we tend to always have them at home. Sometimes it's both, sometimes it's just one of them but the thing they have in common is the fat and protein content. Almonds and hazelnuts are also a great source of manganese and vitamin E while hazelnuts also have a good amount of magnesium.
Although you can use pretty much any seeds you want for this granola (or not add them at all), we often tend to use sunflower seeds and flaxseeds. Sunflower seeds are a great source of vitamin E and B1 while flaxseeds have a good amount of fiber and manganese.
For the fat component of the granola, we like to add coconut oil. Although it does contain saturated fats, the fatty acid composition is so that the energy from coconut oil is readily available in the body which is a great addition to any meal at the start of the day.
As a sweetener, we use any of the ones we usually use as a healthy choice for our sweet recipes but agave syrup remains our top choice. It's not as sweet as honey so it doesn't overwhelm the taste, and it releases sugar slowly into the bloodstream so there are no sudden sugar spikes or drops.
Homemade Granola Preparation Tips
After your granola comes out of the oven, make sure to mix it up and break up any chunks which could be choking hazards for a baby. Also, be careful not to over-cook or the mixture can taste a little sour.
When preparing this homemade granola, we tend to leave the amount of oats as is, and then play around with the nuts and seeds depending on what we feel like and what we have in the cupboard at the time. Same goes for the fat and sweetener (we often use honey instead of agave for example).
You can also add some dried fruit like raisins or cranberries to the granola but in that instance I would suggest cutting on the sweetener amount since it could end up too sweet.
Have you tried making your own granola?
Actually a No Added Sugar Granola
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup nuts (half as whole pieces, half chopped up into smaller pieces almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts. Blend them if making the granola for baby
- 3 tablespoon sunflower seeds
- 3 tablespoon flaxseed
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 3 tablespoon liquid coconut oil
- 3 tbsp peanut butter or other nut butter
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional and no necessary
- 2 tbsp sweetener honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, date syrup
- Preheat the oven to 150°C / 300°F
- In a large bowl place the rolled oats, chopped and whole nuts (blended for baby), flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon and salt.
- Mix thoroughly.
- In a small bowl add melted coconut oil, peanut butter and vanilla extract and mix.
- Pour the oil peanut butter mixture over the rolled oats mixure and mix until it looks like everything is incorporated.
- Spread the mixture evenly on a stainless steel baking tray
- Bake for 40 minutes.
- For granola clusters - When it comes out of the oven wait for it to cool as once it is cooled you can break bigger pieces off and get granola clusters.
- For muesli type granola - Once it comes out of the oven mix it through with a wooden spoon.