Granola You Can Feel Good About

Melissa's Homemade Granola

Granola is one of those foods that most people really enjoy, but the problem is, the majority of people shouldn’t be enjoying it too often.  Why?  By nature, granola is a high-calorie, high-carbohydrate and sugar food.  It tastes so darn good that limiting yourself to the 1/4-1/2 cup serving size can be, well, challenging at best.  And when that small serving size can pack up to 240 calories and 18 grams of sugar…you can imagine how quickly eating too much of the stuff can take a toll on your blood sugars and waistline.

I am not a fan of store-bought granola because I believe they add excessive amounts of sugars and oftentimes other additives or preservatives to help extend the shelf-life of the product.  While my granola recipe does contain an extensive list of items, you can pronounce and find each ingredient at Whole Foods or your local grocer.  It may not stay fresh on your shelves for a year (how gross that any food like this could), but no worries – your family will gobble it up too quickly anyway.

The recipe below is certainly not devoid of calories or sugar, but I’ve tried to minimize it in order for you to enjoy and reap the health benefits of its dietary fiber, monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fats, phytonutrients, and vitamins and minerals.  If you lead an active lifestyle, there is no reason you can’t fit a little bit of this crunchy goodness into your diet.

My family loves this over yogurt for breakfast….and it’s a satisfying snack with almond milk in the late afternoon. I’ve provided two serving sizes and their corresponding nutrition analysis below, so that you can decide how much you want to portion out.  Enjoy!

Melissa’s Homemade Granola

Makes 28 1/4 cup servings, 21 1/3 cup servings

Ingredients:

3 cups organic rolled oats

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup raw sliced almonds

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup raw chopped pecans

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt, optional

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4-1/3 cup honey or raw agave

1/4 cup canola or grape seed oil

1/2 cup unsweetened cranberries

1/2 cup chopped unsulfured apricots

1/2 cup golden raisins

3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

2.  In a large bowl, toss together oats, chia, all three nuts, cinnamon, salt, honey, brown sugar and canola oil.  Mix well with a spoon or your hands.  Spread over a baking sheet in an even layer and set in oven.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes and then stir mixture; bake another 30 minutes or until oats and mixture are golden in color.  Take out of oven and let cool completely.  Letting cool completely will allow the mixture to harden.

3.  Once cooled, break up granola and place into another large bowl.  Add dried fruits and coconut and mix well.  Store in an airtight container.

Nutrition Analysis per 1/4 cup serving:

150 calories, 8 g total fat, 1.5g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 15 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 3 g protein

Nutrition Analysis per 1/3 cup serving:

200 calories, 10 g total fat, 2 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 15 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 14 g sugar, 4 g protein

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