Granola has long held the reputation as a "natural health food," yet the nutritive benefits of most store bought granola are greatly diminished by high quantities of refined sugar and inflammatory vegetable oils. Enter this homemade granola, adapted by yours truly from Alton Brown's Food Network recipe. Oats can be a great way to add soluble fiber, magnesium, and immune-boosting beta glucans to your diet, but sometimes plain old oatmeal can get a little routine. (Getting bored with your oatmeal? Check out this post on creative ways to spice up your oatmeal.) Side note: make sure to always add some protein to your oatmeal, perhaps in the form of nuts, stirred in peanut butter, or even some protein powder to make your breakfast more well rounded and satisfying and to prevent a mid-morning blood sugar crash.
I have been eating and baking with oats more often lately because they may help with breastmilk supply, and with four close friends having April babies I'm trying my hand at more oat-based recipes as gifts. I love this adapted recipe, below, because it combines oats with dried fruits, dried unsweetened coconut, coconut oil, and nuts - all nutrient powerhouses. Plus, with the fat and protein in the nuts and sweetness from a bit of honey, maple syrup and stevia, it causes much less of an insulin spike than your typical bagged granola. Enjoy this granola atop organic Greek yogurt, mixed with almond milk and sliced banana, or just plain out of the bowl as a snack. It stores well and makes a great gift, too!
Healthier Homemade Granola
3 cups rolled oats
2 cups raw or dry roasted nuts (I used walnuts, almonds and cashews)
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut or coconut flakes
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1/3 cup organic coconut oil
1/2 to 1 cup raisins, cranberries or other dried fruit
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
Cinnamon to taste
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, coconut and dried fruit.
Combine all other ingredients in a separate bowl.
Pour liquid mixture over oat mixture and pour onto two sheet pans.
Cook for 1 hour 15 minutes to achieve an even color. Mmmmmm...can't you smell that coconutty goodness already? (Yes, coconutty is a word!)
Remove from oven, cool, and store in a glass bowl or containers.
Here was my breakfast - granola, almond milk, and bananas! It was super fast, satisfying and definitely fulfilled my granola craving. Plus, I am getting plenty of healthy fats - especially lauric acid from the coconut - which is so important for breastmilk quality. (Not breastfeeding? Coconut is awesome for your immune system, thyroid, and metabolism.)