You wouldn’t eat a cookie for breakfast, would you? But a big bowl of granola? Sure!
What if I told you that most granola is essentially a cookie in crumbled form? And that if you’re eating packaged granola from the grocery store, it may contain hydrogenated oils (i.e. trans fat) huge amounts of sugar, and other non-nutritious additives?
Not quite the quintessential “health food” we thought it was, is it.
Even homemade granola can be deceiving, because although you won’t find the weird additives, most recipes contain as much (or more) butter and sugar as you’d find in a cookie recipe. And since most of us don’t view granola as a treat like we would a cookie, we’re likely to eat it often and in bigger portions, not realizing the effect it’s having on our waistlines.
Luckily, you can enjoy good granola without sacrificing your health. Making a healthy version of it at home and eating it in small portions are the two key steps. Here’s a Less Evil Granola recipe we love.
¼ cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
¼ cup honey
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp almond extract
pinch of salt
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut, flaked or shredded
2 cups puffed rice, kamut, or millet (in the cereal aisle)
1 cup chopped nuts of your choice
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup dried cranberries or cherries
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sweeteners, and spices. Add oats, coconut, cereal, and nuts and toss together so dry ingredients are evenly coated. Spread out onto a large parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for ~20 minutes. Remove from oven and toss/mix granola with a spatula. Return to oven for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until granola looks golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes, then add dried fruit and toss together. Let cool completely before putting granola in a bag or airtight container to store. May be stored up to 2 weeks in the cupboard, or a month in the refrigerator/freezer. Serve with low-fat yogurt, fruit, milk, or sprinkle on frozen yogurt for dessert.
Do you have a favorite granola recipe? Please share in the comments section!