Grab Some Granola

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For some reason, many people avoid granola because the believe it is “fattening”. While granola generally does have a lot of calories per bite, it is a versatile, delicious, and healthy food! Most granola is made with an oat base, but you can also find granola made with quinoa, chia seeds, flax seeds, and barley as well. Granola is great on top of yogurt or a smoothie as a meal, with some milk as a snack, or dry by the hand-full any time of day!

granola11Incorporating granola into your diet is a great way to boost your fiber, whole grain, and nutrient intake. Granola contains a large amount of dietary fiber, which lowers your risk for constipation and Type 2 diabetes. The oats in granola are also a whole grain, meaning that the entire grain kernel is still intact. The USDA recommends that at least half of your grain consumption comes from whole grains. Eating granola can get you one serving closer to meeting your daily value. Along with being heart healthy, oats also come packed with essential nutrients such as iron and potassium. A handful of this powerful snack can keep you full, focused, and healthy all day long.

Try this delicious homemade lower fat granola recipe for a healthy treat. Whip up a big batch before you head off to school this fall and store it in an airtight container. Better yet, portion out ½ cup serving sizes and store them in re-sealable baggies for a quick grab-and-go snack.

Ingredients:

3 cups oats (suggestion: use a combination of quick cook and steel cut)

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

¼ cup pure maple syrup (you could use honey if you prefer that flavor)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup chopped raw walnuts

½ cup unsweetened dried fruit of choice (try dried apple or dried berries)
granola33Directions:

Mix the applesauce, maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl with a whisk. In a large mixing bowl, add the oats, walnuts and dried fruit. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix until evenly coated.

Spread the granola in a thin, even layer onto parchment covered cookie sheets. One recipe will cover one cookie sheet.

Bake the granola in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Be sure to mix every 7 minutes to ensure it cooks evenly. Let it cool and enjoy!

Photo Credit: Melissa Heller

 

 

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