Home made granola – A healthy way to start your day

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Are you the type of person that starts the day with a bowl of cereal?
I recently learned through a random newspaper article that cereals still remain the number one breakfast-choice for people in the Western world. I have never been one of those people and it made me wonder why?
After some thinking I came up with the following 3 reasons:

1. Most cereals taste artificial and seem very unhealthy to me. When I looked up the facts, I learned that my initial hunch was right. The overall majority of breakfast cereal, in their attractive colorful boxes, have little to no nutritional value and to make things worse, they are packed with sugar (sometimes as much as 40%). This is not only true for all children’s cereal, like Coco puffs and Kellog’s Frosties, but also for most common brand granola’s. Nobody thinks sugary (chocolate) biscuits make a healthy and nutritious breakfast right, so why would you eat these cereals?

2. On the other side of the cereal-spectrum you have (organic) muesli with nuts and dried fruit. Although this is actually a healthy breakfast option, full of fibers, vitamins and minerals, it unfortunately also tastes way too healthy to me. Do not get me wrong here, because I fully support choosing the healthiest option available, but I do have my limits. Whenever I eat muesli, I can not help but think that I am eating something that should have been fed to cattle instead…

3. Somewhere in the middle of all of this you can find organic granola. I prefer granola over muesli because it has a nice crunch to it and it is usually a bit sweeter. Because most organic granola’s are sweetened with honey instead of sugar or (corn)syrup it also makes them a slightly healthier option. Whenever I do eat granola, I always feel like the ratio between oats and the good stuff (nuts, seeds,raisins etc.) is off. Surely I understand that ‘the good stuff’ is what makes the granola expensive, but I would not mind paying a little more if that meant it also tasted better…

After all this thinking, my findings soon led me to believe there was a solution to my problems:
I should make my own granola, exactly the way I would like to eat it!
Is it really worth going through all that trouble you might ask?  I believe the answer to that question is simple:
responsibly made granola is not only very tasty but also a good addition to a healthy diet. Granola contains fibers which are important for digestion and will make you feel full for longer. That way you won’t start craving (unhealthy) snacks early in the day before lunch. The oats, seeds and fruits in the granola are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that we need in order to stay healthy. On top of the health argument it is also very easy and surprisingly fun thing to do (also with little kids!) Are you convinced?

This is how to make your own home made granola:

When I decdied to make my own healthy granola, I did not cut corners and went for only organic ingredients. I will warn you in advance that it is not cheap to buy 8-10 different kinds of oats, nuts and seeds, but my guess is that you can make at least 6-8 kilo’s of granola with the ingredients that I got, so I think it is worth it.

Please note that you can use any oats, seeds, dried fruit that you like (cranberries, abricots etc.)
You can even add dark chocolate to your granola as long as you remember to add it after baking.

My recipe makes about 1 kg of granola.

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Dry ingredients:

250 grams raw rolled oats (high in fibers, complex carbohydrates and protein)
250 grams raw buckwheat (high in fibres, Vitamins B1 and B6 and minerals such as magnesium)
75 grams broken flaxseed (full of nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals and vitamin E)
– 1 cup of chopped almonds (a good source of vitamin E and B-complex and has cholesterol-lowering properties)
– 1 cup of shredded coconut (high in fibres and a good source of B-complex vitamins)
– 1 cup of white mulberries (high in vitamin C, iron and several anti-oxidants that boost the immune system)
– 1 cup of pumpkin seeds (high in zinc, manganese, magnesium and vitamin E)
– 1 cup of raisins (a good source of energy, resveratrol, electrolytes and minerals)
– 1 cup of chia seeds (not on the picture) (high in fibers, omega 3 and calcium)
– zest of 1 organic orange (high in Vitamin C and essential minerals like calcium, magnesium and zinc)

Wet ingredients:

– 4 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used coconut oil which is great because it has no odor or flavor,but you do need to heat it first to make it become liquid. You can also use groundnut oil or another type of vegetable oil that can be heated)
– 8 tablespoons (organic) honey

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Start by mixing all the dry ingredients together in a big bowl. Then gradually add the coconut oil and the honey to the mixture and stir until all the grains are covered with the liquid. You might think that the mixture still seems very dry, but this is how it should look. Now pour the mixture on a baking tray and spread it out (because I have a large oven I managed to get everything on one baking tray, if you have a smaller oven you might want to split the mixture in half and repeat this process twice). Press the mixture together with the back of a spoon and put the tray in the oven for 25-35 minutes. Stir the mixture every 5-10 minutes to make sure that the oats bake evenly. When the oats turn golden brown and you begin to smell that something is baking, you take the tray out of the oven and let it cool. Do not touch the mixture before it is cooled completely and it has set. When it is cooled you can break the granola in to chuncks/pieces and store it in an airtight container or mason jar.

Now you have made yourself a delicious and nutritious breakfast! Just add some seasonal fruit to your bowl each morning and some (soy)milk or yoghurt and you can be sure that you have started your day in a healthy way.

Please let me know what ingredients you come up with to put in your favorite granola, the possibilities are endless!

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