With the right ingredients, granola can get you all the right nutrients. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user whitneyinchicago
Plenty of us are guilty of over-snacking at our desks throughout the day. But often, especially if we’re not picking the right foods, our hunger doesn’t seem to be fully sated afterward. That’s where granola comes in.
“Granola’s nutrients make it a high-fiber, very filling snack,” says Faye Berger Mitchell, a local registered dietician and nutrition consultant. Mitchell has been making her own granola for her family for years and says that with the right ingredients, it can be a nutritional goldmine.
“You can get antioxidants from the fruit, powerful omega-3s, and healthy fat from nuts and whole grains as opposed to refined,” she says.
But despite its nutritious perks, it can be easy to overeat, too. For a more waistline-friendly approach, try tossing granola over yogurt and berries for breakfast, or replace butter and oil in recipes with applesauce or apple juice for a lower-fat recipe.
Here are three of Mitchell’s favorite granola recipes.
CRANBERRY ALMOND GRANOLA
Nutrition: approximately 260 calories and 10 grams fat per serving
⅔ cup frozen unsweetened apple juice concentrate, thawed
½ cup maple syrup
⅓ canola oil
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
5 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 cup dried cranberries
1. Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven; preheat to 325 degrees. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Mix apple juice concentrate, maple syrup, oil, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in cinnamon and salt.
3. Mix oats, almonds, and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Stir in the juice mixture; toss to coat.
4. Spread the granola evenly on the prepared baking sheets.
5. Bake the granola for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. The mixture should be lightly browned. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks.
6. Divide cranberries equally and stir into granola mixture.
Nutrition: approximately 260 calories and 14 grams fat per serving
4 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup chopped pecans
¼ cup wheat germ
¼ cup pumpkin
¼ cup ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅓ cup canola oil
⅔ cup honey
½ cup dried blueberries
½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Mix oats, pecans, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, canola oil, and honey in a large bowl. Evenly spread mixture over baking sheet, pressing down lightly with the back of a spoon.
3. Bake 20 minutes until lightly browned.
4. Remove from oven and cool.
5. Break granola mixture into large chunks and stir in dried fruits.
CRANBERRY PISTACHIO GRANOLA
Nutrition: Approximately 240 calories and 5 grams fat per serving
6 cups rolled oats
½ cup raw pistachios
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
⅓ cup maple syrup
¼ cup honey
¼ cup pineapple juice
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ cup dried cherries
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl. Add syrup, honey, juice, and almond extract; toss well.
3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread mixture evenly over baking sheet.
4. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
5. Stir in cherries.
6. Cool completely.