Granola: a Breakfast Staple

I love granola, I eat it or oatmeal probably 4 or 5 times a week!  It’s also one of the first things I ever learned to make, my mother taught me.  I have branched out a bit since then though and been amazed at the variety of recipes out there.  This recipe from Pick Up Limes taught me to make a ‘sauce’ and how to get clumps, which I’d never managed before with my dry mixes.  I’ve made sauces with banana and honey (banana nut granola is delicious!), nut butters or nut powders with maple syrup and tahini mixes like the one from PUL.  The other really cool thing I’ve tried was added lentils, yes cooked lentils!  I also sprinkle on ground flax and chia seeds after the granola has cooled.

I make a batch about twice a month.  Granola is my go to breakfast for work since I can layer it the night before and toss it in my bag in the morning.  I generally use soy yogurt and hemp hearts along with whatever fruit I have on hand, banana, berries (frozen or fresh), apple bits, mango, kiwi…  Fruit on the bottom (especially frozen berries since they get juicy as they thaw), then the yogurt and the hemp hearts to seal some of the moisture away from the granola that sits on top.

Nutrition Thoughts

Oats, rolled or old fashioned, even steel cut but be careful with those since they can be a bit hard after baking.  Rich in fiber, decent protein for a grain, high in minerals like iron, and beneficial for cardiovascular health.

Lentils.  High in protein and fiber, and they offer a different amino acid balance as a legume, this can be important to those following a plant-based diet.

Nuts and seeds.  Offering some protein, and a pleasant crunch, as well as healthful omega-3 and omega-6 fats.  Many will also offer various minerals, walnuts and cashews both contain magnesium, sunflower seeds have magnesium, vitamins B6 and E, and selenium.

Fruit.  Depends on the type!  Berries often offer lots of antioxidants, strawberries have an incredible amount of vitamin C, blackberries and raspberries are both lower in sugar content.  Bananas have potassium and magnesium.  Almost any fruit will add some natural sugar for your brain, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients that nourish your cells.

Hemp hearts, chia seeds, flaxseeds or ground flax.  All three seeds offer a higher level of omega-3 fats (the ones most often found in animal products like fish) as well as some protein and omega-6 fats.  I personally also take a vegan omega-3 supplement, but no reason to not include it in my diet.  Ideally I’d like to use as few supplements as possible in the long run, whole food sources are preferred!

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