DIY Homemade Granola

Once you’ve made your own granola at home, the packaged stuff will seem dry, hard and tasteless. I dare you to try this simple and wholesome recipe. Not only is this mix tasty, but it’s filled with healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants.

Today I'm delighted to share this guest post and recipe from my colleague, Megan Casper, M.S., RDN of Nourished Bite.  Megan believes that eating well, enjoying life and its indulgences, and keeping active are the best approaches for a long, healthy life!

I couldn't agree more!

Aside from her love of science and food, Megan knows her way around the kitchen. Be warned, after one bite of this simple homemade granola you may not go back to the cereal box.

 

WHAT MAKES HOMEMADE GRANOLA HEALTHFUL?

Oats seem so simple, but just one serving keeps you strong on the inside and out. One ½  cup of oats gives you about half of the soluble fiber you need for the day. Just 3 grams of soluble fiber a day has been found to lower cholesterol by 8 to 23%, which can significantly drop your risk of heart disease. Oats are high in a special kind of fiber called beta-glucan, which has actually been shown to help boost the immune system and stabilize blood sugar. Besides all of these amazing benefits, oats also give a hearty dose of manganese to help keep bones strong; copper for healthy skin, hair, nails, and blood; and biotin to keep your metabolism, hair and nails strong.

     Almonds are not only high in satisfying fiber and protein, but they’re also high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Full of vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant, almonds help protect your cell membranes. Almond’s ability to protect cells from free radicals has been shown to help protect against heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease and research has shown that adding them in the diet can help with weight loss.

     Chia seeds are a tiny seed with a powerful punch. Nearly all of the carbohydrates in chia are fiber, and much of it is soluble fiber meaning you’ll be getting the rest of your soluble fiber for the day with their addition. They also expand in water, which means they'll take up more room in your stomach and make you feel fuller longer. Chia seeds are also (sensing a trend here?) high in heart-healthy omega-3 fats, high in disease beating antioxidants, and help with blood sugar control. Added bonus: pumpkin seeds have immunity and sleep-boosting zinc and heart-healthy magnesium and omega-3s.

        Cinnamon not only adds flavor without calories or sugar, but it also helps regulate your blood sugar to help prevent diabetes. Keeping blood sugars steady can also reduce your cravings for sweets throughout the day. It’s filled with polyphenols, antioxidants that help protect your body from pesky things like aging and cancer. I tend to dump more of this in the recipe than is actually called for and so far there’s never been “too much”.

         Add a little sweet by adding in a cup of mixed dried berries, chopped up so they can spread the love around. The mix I use has cherries, blueberries, cranberries and goji berries which are all super high in antioxidants, but try adding your favorites or mix it up each time to create new flavors. You can also swap out pumpkin seeds and add in sunflower, or walnuts for almonds. Mix it up and enjoy!

    HOMEMADE GRANOLA

    By Megan Casper, M.S., RDN, owner of  Nourished Bite and MeganCasper.com.

    Servings: 20

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook Time: 45 minutes

    Ingredients:

    • 5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
    • 3/4 cups chopped almonds
    • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
    • 1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
    • 3 tablespoons chia seeds or ground flaxseed
    • 1 cup dried fruit. Try a mix of your favorites like blueberries, cherries, apricots, raisins or shredded coconut

    Directions:

    • Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 
    • In a mixing bowl, add oats and almonds. 
    • In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, syrup, coconut oil and cinnamon over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add vanilla. 
    • Pour sugar mixture over oats and blend until oats are evenly coated. Spread oats onto baking sheet. 
    • Bake for 20 minutes, stirring half way through. 
    • Remove from pan and stir in pumpkin and chia seeds or ground flaxseed and stir. 
    • Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove pan and stir in fruit. 
    • Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown. 
    • Allow granola to cool completely before placing in an airtight container. This can last up to 3 weeks in the fridge, of 3 months in the freezer

     

    FOR MORE RECIPES BY MEGAN AT NOURISHED BITE, CHECK OUT ALL HER RECIPES BELOW!