There’s something about granola that brings to mind the great outdoors, whether it’s hiking the Appalachian Trail or skiing in the Swiss Alps. Perhaps it’s just down to great marketing, which has framed granola and power bars on the premise that it’s meant for the rugged outdoorsy types.
Thanks to this image, granola has become synonymous as healthy food for adventurers rather than being lumped into the same category as other sugary cereals. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but most of the brands we see on store shelves aren’t exactly healthy. For granola fans, it’s an especially low blow, but thankfully, there’s hope – we’ve got a healthy granola recipe that’ll do the trick.
What is granola?
Granola comes in a variety of different flavors and styles — from chunky chocolate chip to coconut with dried tropical fruits. Most people like to eat it like a bowl of cereal with milk, mixed together with yogurt or grabbed on the go and eaten dry as trail mix. Just as popular, granola bars come pre-packaged for a quick snack on the run and often come drizzled in chocolate or topped with nuts.
Usually made from a mixture of rolled oats, nuts, sweeteners and a range of added treats like raisins and even candy pieces, granola could be classified anywhere between breakfast and dessert. However, this seemingly innocent mixture packs in a significant number of calories. Manufacturers often market granola to backpackers and athletes who want a quick energy fix or as an easy meal replacement. Being on the trail for hours or days at a time means you’re burning a lot of calories, which naturally makes granola an ideal food to replenish energy without weighing you down.
The reality is that many of us don’t come close to burning the number of calories that a hiker or climber does in a day, so a big bowl of branded granola for breakfast every day may be too many calories to your daily macro intake. For those trying to lose weight or maintain it, this could really throw things off balance.
What to look out for
Next time you ponder a box of store-bought granola, take a look at the nutrition label and look at the serving size. Chances are, the serving is smaller than what you’d eat for breakfast or as a snack. And, if you do wish to buy granola at the store, be wary of brands that contain high fructose corn syrup – or any corn syrup for that matter.
Muesli is often confused with granola, and it’s another easy one you can make on your own. Considered granola’s healthier cousin, muesli includes some of the same ingredients, yet differs from the former as it’s not baked, it’s usually unsweetened and has a looser consistency than toasted granola.
Our go-to healthy granola recipe doesn’t contain any corn syrup nor other suspicious additives, but it does boast a whole lot of flavor. The honey lends the granola a touch of sweetness, and the addition of nuts and seeds makes for an irresistible medley of textures and flavors.
For all the nut butter fanatics out there, this recipe will hit the spot – whether you decide to use peanut, almond or cashew is entirely up to you. There’s plenty of room for personalization in this healthy granola recipe. When it comes to choosing the nuts and seeds, we recommend going for the raw, unsalted variety. Feel free to mix it up by using hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews, peanuts or almonds.