I love granola. It adds a nice balance to yogurt for breakfast and can be another way to get in some whole grains and healthy fats. The only problem is that most grocery store brands contain preservatives, poor cooking oils, and lots of refined sugar.
What’s wrong with those? For the short term, nothing. Don’t feel you have to make your own granola if it’s more convenient to improve your habits by switching to it as a better choice than something else.
For the long term, you may want to consider these facts:
- Preservatives: Things like magnesium stearate, soy lecithin, carrageenan, xantham gum, guar gum, BHA, BHT and more are additives in foods that help to keep the foods shelf stable for longer. There is some research that suggests that these can be harmful to some and many anecdotal reports of negative reactions. For best health, I recommend avoiding them as much as you can.
- Poor cooking oils: Sunflower, canola, and soybean oils are commonly used in many processed food items such as granola, chips, popcorn, sauces, dressings, and other pre-made goods. When a oil that is high in omega-6s is heated at high temperatures it can change the molecular structure, which can have a negative impact on your cardiovascular risk when consumed repeatedly. When omega-6s are in whole foods, like nuts, they are also combined with other nutrients that protect the oxidation of the oils and therefore offer a protective effect.
- Refined sugars: In excess amounts, as with any food/nutrient, refined sugars can have an negative effect on your weight, heart health, immune system, and gut balance. There is no evidence that a small amount of sugar, especially when combined with a diet high in whole foods and an active lifestyle, will have a harmful effect on your health. Sugars like maple syrup and honey have other benefits to increasing your vitamin and mineral intake, as well as boosting your immune system.
So if you have time on the weekend or want to make this with your kids after school, it can be a great addition to a healthful routine.
Cinnamon Nut & Seed Granola
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts
1/2 cup raw sliced almonds
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds or raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the oats, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, salt and cinnamon. Stir well.
Melt the coconut oil and mix with the maple syrup.
Pour the oil & syrup over the oat mixture. Stir well to coat the oats, nuts and seeds.
Pour the granola onto the prepared pan and spread out evenly with a spoon.
Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.