Oatmeal is the go to breakfast for many health enthusiasts, bodybuilders, fitness trainers and weight conscious individuals. In my blog post Breakfast of Champions from May 4, 2014 (http://trainsane.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/breakfast-of-champions/), I extoll the benefits of oatmeal with select additions for health and energy. But in the summertime oatmeal is not always so appealing, yes? So exploring options, I tried several gluten-free, healthy granolas on the market. But some things about them bothered me: 1) I did not have a choice about sweeteners and other ingredients, 2) they are expensive in comparison to a bowl of oatmeal even with walnuts and other added superfoods, and 3) they come in small packages that are thrown away thereby impacting the environment. But it was a quick breakfast. So my culinary imagination got to rattlin’ and I tried making granola! The result? Fantastic! And here are reasons why you may want to do it to:
1. You Can Choose Your Ingredients
Being gluten intolerant, I use gluten-free rolled oats. Oats are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates which provide “time released” energy. Their fiber content also results in long lasting satiety (meaning fullness) and slows the breakdown of the CHO molecules for even more energy and a lower glycemic load. I add organic walnuts because they are delicious and high in heart healthy omega fats, and they add protein. Flax seed provides omega fatty acids and more fiber and protein. Honey and cinnamon are full of micro-nutrients and immunity boosters, My new favorite addition is hemp seeds which are an excellent source of protein. I also add coconut oil, which is one of the healthiest fats for skin, hair, heart, fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids. What I did not add? Cornstarch, caramel color, “natural” flavors!
2. It’s Inexpensive
Compared to a small bag of gluten free granola that would run at least $3.00 I can make the same amount for less than $1.00. You can make a serving a day or make a larger batch and store it in an air-tight container.
3. No Wasteful Packaging
Each commercially sold, plastic re-closeable bag of granola contains approximately 3-10 servings (depending upon each person’s athletic output and calorie requirements) and then the bag goes into the trash. Even if it is disposed of in a recycling container, one can never be certain that the bag does not end up in a landfill. But let me not digress into a recycling rant! You can use and re-use a variety of containers to store your home-made granola. The packages containing the ingredients will have a far smaller impact on the environment than would small bags of commercial granola.
4. It’s Quick and Easy!
It may not be as quick as opening a bag and pouring it into a bowl, but it is certainly no more time consuming than making oatmeal. Simply mix together the following:
1/4 c rolled oats
1 T. flax seed meal
1 T. hemp seeds
honey, coconut sugar, agave syrup, maple syrup or other sweetener to taste (I use about a teaspoonful)
cinnamon to taste (1/4 t.?)
about 2 T. walnut or pecan pieces
1 T. coconut oil
Mix together and spread onto a cookie sheet. Bake 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
Of course you can vary the ingredients to your taste and preference. I have added a variety of dried fruits and nuts. This recipe makes a serving for me. You can increase the volume to meet your nutritional needs. 30 minutes may sound like a long time to make breakfast but, you can make large quantities in advance or go take a shower, meditate, stretch, whatever, while the granola is baking. I serve it with fresh berries, which are full of micro-nutrients, glyco-nutrients and anti-oxidants, and almond milk. I make my own but use whatever kind of milk you prefer.
Post any questions and creative ideas you may have and ENJOY!