We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It gets our day going and our energy flowing for our best performance possible. However, sometimes it can be difficult to find a breakfast that is both satisfying and healthy. Cereal is a popular choice but it is usually pure carbs and high in processed flour and sugars, which makes it far from ideal. Granola, on the other hand, is often painted as a the healthier option with it’s fresh oats, fruit and nuts.
Unfortunately granola can also be high in calories, trans fats and excess sugar. This invites the question: how can we make granola healthy and a part of our every day diet? Here’s some ideas:
- Make your own granola- homemade granola is very easy to make. Even the amateur cook should have no problem making it on their own. One of my favorite recipes is from Gimme Some Oven. For a richer version Ina Garten’s recipe is also very tasty.
- Use nuts and/or seeds- nuts and seeds are rich in Omega-3s and are an easy way to add protein to your morning
- Use lower glycemic sweeteners- as opposed to refined sugar, sweeteners like agave and real maple syrup take longer for your body to digest and aren’t converted to fat as quickly as pure sugar. If you can do without sugar at all that is obviously ideal. Honey has some beneficial properties like helping with allergy boosting but it is high on the glycemic index so use sparingly.
- Use unrefined oil- oil helps the granola to be crunchy and delicious, however, it can also be a problem for a healthy diet. Using an unrefined oil like coconut oil (doesn’t taste very coconuty) will help avoid these problems
- Be careful about yogurt- going to all the effort to make a healthy granola and then to pair it with a high sugar yogurt makes no sense. Natural or Greek yogurts are typically lower in sugar and recommended. Honestly the higher fat yogurts are usually lower in sugar than the hyped up nonfat varieties.
- Be careful with dried fruit- we all love a little dried fruit on our granola such as raisins, cranberries or apricots. However, these are very sweet and can be supplemented with more sugar to make palatable (especially the cranberries). You can have dried fruit just be careful with it
- Don’t overbake it- You want to pull the granola out of the oven when it is just lightly golden brown. It might seem like it is not finished cooking but it will continue to become crispier as it sits. Also make sure to stir the granola mid-cooking
So there you have it! With just a few tweaks you can make granola a healthy and delicious part of your daily routine. Please let us know what you like to put in your granola and how you like to make it! Happy granola making!