Crunchy and delicious, this granola will fuel your outdoor adventure or your morning meeting.
Granola has been well known for years as a health-food, beloved of campers and backpackers around the globe. In more recent years, however, it's gotten a bit of a bad rap. Highly processed granola bars, packed with sugar and preservatives, sullied the good name of this healthy breakfast staple, but there are a lot of healthy benefits to granola, especially if you make your own.
High Energy, without a Sugar Spike
Granola's bulk comes from complex carbs, protein, and fiber. These come from the oats, nuts, and dried fruits that make up the recipe.
Complex carbs are exactly the fuel your body and brain need to get going and stay energized through the day. When you wake up in the morning, you're running on empty. Your brain needs fuel and your metabolism needs to rev up. Complex carbs provide that boost, and better yet, the energy is released over the next few hours, rather than hitting all at once and causing a sugar spike and subsequent crash.
Oats, seeds, nuts, and puffed rice are all surprisingly rich sources of plant-based protein. If you're vegetarian, you certainly know how valuable those plant proteins can be. Even if you are a meat-eater, a higher percentage of protein in the diet can help maintain a healthy weight, especially if it's coming from a non-fatty source. Lean protein is a key component of weight-loss and healthy nutrition.
Granola is packed full of minerals that your body can't produce on its own (that's what makes them"essential"). These minerals, like magnesium and potassium, facilitate a variety of bodily processes. They boost circulation, which is vital for brain function and athletic performance. They also help prevent muscle spasms, easing workout recovery and preventing some migraines.
The fruits, nuts, and grains in granola are full of antioxidants, which help fight oxidative stress in the brain. They also fight inflammation throughout the body. Just one more way they can help after a workout.
Do you want healthy skin? Make sure you get enough Vitamin E. Vitamin E helps skin stay soft and hydrated while building new, healthy cells. A bowl of granola can provide half of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin E, making it a great option for your morning routine.
Beyond all those healthy perks, good granola just tastes great. Served with a little milk (either dairy or plant-based) or yogurt, it's a breakfast you'll want to come back to again and again.
Cherry Honey Almond Granola
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder (optional)
1/2 cup Don Victor™ honey
1/3 cup unsweetened apple juice concentrate
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 tsp almond extract
6 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups dried cherries or cranberries
1 cup slivered almonds
In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, milk powder, honey, apple juice concentrate, and oil.
Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract.
In a large bowl, combine oats, cherries, and almonds. Drizzle with sugar mixture and mix well.
Spread in a thin layer in two 15 x 10 baking pans coated with nonstick cooking spray.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
Take out and cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.
There are lots of great granola recipes and ingredients to try. This is a solid base recipe, but it's easy to swap out anything you don't like and add in ingredients you love.
Do you have any favorites to share? Let us know in the comments!
For more info about honey and deliciously healthy recipes, check out these other posts:
Need some pure raw honey right away? Chances are good it's available in a store near you!