I LOVE granola. It's crunchy, versitile, flavorful ... but I often am asked if granola is healthy. Short answer is that it can be, but it also can be very high in calories, sugar, and less than desirable ingredients. Next time you're looking for a granola try reading the ingredients and you may find yourself surprised and returning it to the shelf. Which is why I decided to come up with my own recipe, and am so excited to share it with you!
So how do you make it a healthier granola?
There are two main things to keep in mind. The first being portion size, and the second being homemade. Let's chat first about portion size, because this is a subject that is all too familiar to a lot of us, and can make eating healthy challenging. When you think about the basic ingredients within granola, there are usually oats, nuts/seeds, a sweetener, oil, maybe some dried fruit or chocolate, and sometimes protein powder as well. Each of these ingredients in their own can be tricky to keep within portion size, but when you combine them you need to be more mindful.
- One serving of almonds is about 15-20 almonds, and contains usually 14g of fat
- One serving of dried fruit usually is a 1/4c and can contain up to 40g carbs
- One serving of oats is about 1/4c and can contain about 30g carbs How this relates to your daily averages - your total fat for the day should make up about 15-20% of your daily calories, so for a typical 1800 calorie goal, you should aim for around 40g of fat per day. 14g is about 1/3 your daily total. Just something to keep in mind!!
Usually, a serving of granola is about 1/4-1/2 cup only. However many of us consume 1+c in a typical sitting, which if you do the math from above, can be quite a dense meal. Not to scare you off granola - in fact I eat it often and have a really delicious recipe for granola I'm about to share with you!
My tricks for enjoying granola are to use it as a addition to meals, unless I'm on a hike or something where having that many calories is actually a good thing!! If I'm having some plant based yogurt with fresh fruit on top, I'll sprinkle granola on there as well. Same goes for a bowl of gluten free oatmeal - add some berries, protein powder, and granola for crunch! Apples, almond butter, granola, and a drizzle of honey is another great snack ... as is banana, almond butter, granola, and coconut flakes.
Try out the recipe below!! It's easy but unlike a lot of my simple & fast recipes, this takes about 40 minutes to bake, and 10 minutes to cool so plan accordingly!
- 3 cups gluten free raw oats
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/3 cup flaxseed meal
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup raw local honey
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg white
- Up to 3/4 cup mix-ins of choice: dark chocolate chunks, organic sulfite free dried fruit, other nuts or seeds, etc.
- Optional to add 1 scoop vanilla plant based protein powder
- Take out a baking sheet(s) and either line with parchment paper or lightly coat bottom with coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees
- In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, coconut, almonds, flaxseed meal, wheat germ, salt, and cinnamon
- Add in the honey, coconut oil, vanilla and egg white
- Mix together and pour out onto the baking sheet in an even, thin layer
- Bake for 20 minutes, then flip, bake again for another 20 minutes
- Allow to cool and it will set while cooling, so you don’t want it to be too dried out in the oven
- As it’s cooling, with a spatula, loosen the granola from the pan and stir it around a bit to prevent sticking and clumping
- Once completely cool, remove from tray and store in glass containers!