Everyday Healthy Granola

     It looks like spring is almost here so I am ready to retire the hot oatmeal and stir up a batch of granola. Most granola recipes are high in fat and contain lots of sweetener – I’ve tried to keep both of those to a minimum in this version while adding lots of other healthy ingredients.  I add the dried fruit after baking so it does not dry out. Feel free to experiment and add your favorites – unsweetened coconut, pumpkin seeds, other nuts, etc. Or, use other flaked grains, such as barley flakes which are sometimes available in the health food section of grocery stores or at specialty stores (I sometimes use 2 1/2 cups oats ad 1/2 cup barley flakes.

Everyday Healthy Granola   Makes 5+ cups
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 to 1 1/4 cups nuts & seeds -- coarsely chopped
including 2 to 3 tablespoons flax seeds)
walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc. 

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 tablespoons honey
Out of the oven and ready to dish up!

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup dried fruit of your choice

1.     Preheat oven to 300°.







2.     Mix oats, nuts & seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
3.     Put oil and honey in a microwave safe bowl and heat. (Measure oil first and then the honey will just slip out of the measuring cup)
4.     Pour honey mixture over oat mixture and stir until oat mixture is completely coated (I use my hands near the end to make sure there are no dry spots).
5.     Spread on a sheet pan with sides and bake until golden brown  about 30 to 40 minutes -- stir every 10 minutes.
6.      Place sheet on rack to cool.
7.     Mix in fruit and store in an air-tight container. 




Nutritional Analysis per serving (about 1/3 cup or 27g): Calories 122, Fat 7.8g (Saturated Fat 0.5g, Cholesterol 0mg), Sodium 79mg, Carbohydrate 12.6g (Fiber 1.5g, Sugars 9.3g) Protein 2.7g, Vit A 0%, Calcium 2%, Vit C 1%, Iron 3%.
(Based on recipe made with 1 c. walnuts, ¼ c. sunflower seeds, 3 Tbsp. flax seed, 3 Tbsp. honey, 1 c. raisins) 

Cooking Tip:
·      When a recipe calls for honey or molasses, spray the measuring cup with pan release before added the sticky stuff – it will slip right out. Or, if the recipe also calls for oil, measure it first for the same effect.

Healthy, Wholesome, and Nutritious Food Facts about our favorite granola additivies:
Ø     Oats
o      Oats contain more soluble fiber than any other grain and can help remove LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.
o      Oats are also considered an excellent grain for diabetics as they have less impact on blood sugar levels than some other grains.
Ø     Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, a special type of fat that is essential for our bodies, but that the body cannot produce. Omega-3 essential fatty acids protect us against heart disease. Walnuts are the only nut that contains omega-3 fatty acids.
Ø     Flax Seed
o      A high fiber food (containing both soluble & insoluble), it helps lower cholesterol. This fiber also helps stabilize blood sugar, and promotes proper functioning of the intestines.
o      Flax seed is high in phytochemicals, including many antioxidants. It is perhaps our best source of lignans, which convert in our intestines to substances that tend to balance female hormones. There is evidence that lignans may promote fertility, reduce peri-menopausal symptoms, and possibly help prevent breast cancer. In addition, lignans may help prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Ø     Cinnamon can help lower blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL, and total cholesterol.
Ø     Canola Oil which is made from the crushed seeds of the canola plant, is among the healthiest of cooking oils.
o      It has the lowest saturated fat content of any oil commonly consumed in the U.S., at just 7%. By comparison, sunflower oil has 12% saturated fat, corn oil has 13%, and olive oil has 15%.
o      Although it's low in saturated fat, canola oil is very high in healthy unsaturated fats. It's an excellent source linoleic acid; it contains omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic but is higher in the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) than any other oil commonly used. These fats are particularly important in the diet because the human body can't produce them.
Ø     Honey
o      Its natural fruit sugars play an important role in preventing fatigue during exercise.
o      The glucose in honey is absorbed by the body quickly and gives an immediate energy boost, while the fructose is absorbed more slowly providing sustained energy.
o      It is known that honey has also been found to keep levels of blood sugar fairly constant compared to other types of sugar.
Ø     Cranberries (Craisins)
o      Prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections (they are antibacterial and also keep bacteria from “sticking” to the inside of the bladder and the ureters).
o      Similar effects in the GI tract – help prevent bacteria from causing food-borne illness.     
o      Similar effects in the mouth – may help prevent tooth decay by discouraging bacteria and preventing them from “sticking”.
o      Prevention of the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which may help prevent atherosclerosis + improves blood vessel function in people with atherosclerosis.
o      Some studies show that cranberries can either raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol or lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
o      Cranberries may also have anti-cancer properties.







4 comments:

  1. How about a dry granola that I can use on top of yogurt?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Is it 'wet'? It just seemed to be a stand alone snack.

    ReplyDelete