A Healthy Low Fat Granola Recipe
And an easy healthy granola bar recipe

Why not try this healthy low fat granola recipe?

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Granola is a very welcome addition to muesli on cold winter mornings.

Some people love to eat it as a cereal by itself. It's certainly very nice that way but, for me, it's just too high in sugars for everyday consumption.

However, if you are running about a bit, walking in the wilds or working hard and using up loads of energy, there is nothing wrong with replenishing your reserves with a (quite) low-fat granola bar or a handful or two of homemade granola.

The sugars give you an instant lift and the complex carbohydrates in the grains gives you a more sustained energy. The seeds and nuts provide proteins to sustain you for even longer.

Recent research has shown that protein contributes to that "full" feeling you expect from eating a square meal. (Interesting that research often just corroborates what nutritionists have known for years!)

A healthy low fat granola recipe:
Granola - a heart healthy recipe!

Granola made this way is also a heart-healthy snack food because of the relatively low fat content and the vitamins and minerals supplied by the grains, seeds, nuts and fruits.

Obviously you need to be careful not to have too much of a good thing. I find it's really easy to pig out on this - not such a good idea if you are being quite sedentary!

Oats and other grains are rich in magnesium and other minerals and vitamins which help keep cholesterol low. The fats used can also be a good source of nutrients; seeds and nuts are rich in Omega 3s for example.

So, granola can be a quite healthy as part of a diet rich in natural grains and vegetables - and as a welcome treat for when you are working or playing extra hard.

A healthy low fat granola recipe:
Why make your own homemade granola?

The advantage of making your own healthy homemade granola is that you can avoid some of the hydrogenated fats and corn syrup found in many of the commercial brands. (High fructose corn syrup is one of the cheap additives used by food companies to make nutritionally poor foods taste good. It is a contributing cause of the rise in Type 2 diabetes.)

For best nutrition, choose a good oil which is high in polyunsaturated fats or mono-unsaturated fat rather than saturated fats. Safflower oil is a good choice but relatively expensive. Peanut oil and sunflower oil are also very good. Some of the cold-pressed oils may be a little too tasty for the job. Sunflower is good because the taste is mild.

You can use margarine but it is usually made with trans-fats which raise cholesterol. A good natural oil (preferably organic) is far better.

Click here for more on keeping the fat content low - or for reading choices on granola and ideas for using grains and cereals.


Low fat granola recipe - keep it organic!

You can also choose a high proportion of organic foods as ingredients. Even organic foods can be relatively inexpensive; see this page for details for some ideas.

Using whole-grain and organic ingredients in your granola snack recipe will bring you even greater health benefits as you can be certain that you are consuming far fewer toxic chemical residues.

Organic farming is also far better for the environment and for wildlife. Please see Why organic? for more on this.

You can, of course buy organic granola products such as Khaya cookies from Amazon and plenty of other gourmet granolas. But why bother when making excellent homemade granola is so easy - and you can control the fat input, too so that your granola really is low fat.


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A healthy low fat granola recipe:
Here's an easy low fat granola recipe using oats or a whole-grain cereal mix

Toasting your own granola is very easy provided that you remember to check it often enough to prevent over-browning. This low-fat granola recipe is quite simple and fast to make.

Ingredients

  • Pick a selection of flaked or rolled grains - oats, wheat and barley are all good.
  • Pick a selection of nuts and seeds: almonds, brazils, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame and anything else you like. Coconut is also good but is relatively high in saturated fats. You can usually find unsweetened flakes.
  • Pick the dried fruits you would like to use: raisins, sultanas and datesapricots and dried apples are all good. Avoid things that have been sweetened with additional sugar if you want a reasonably healthy mix.
  • You also need honey and cooking oil. Pick a good quality oil, preferably organic and cold-pressed for best nutritional value.

Here are the proportions you need:

1 part oil, 2 parts honey, 3 - 4 parts seed and nuts, 4 parts grains, 3 - 4 parts dried fruit

Method

  • Measure out the oil and honey into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the nuts and seeds. They should be well chopped so that no large chunks remain, especially if you are using brazils and pecans.
  • Add the grains and mix everything together very well.
  • Cook the mixture in a shallow open tray. You need to turn the mixture from time to time so that everything becomes evenly browned.
  • When everything is cooked (about twenty minutes to half an hour) remove the tray and finish by mixing in the chopped fruit.

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An easy healthy granola bar recipe - delicious too!

Here's how to make really healthy granola bars which are both nutritious and delicious.

Your kids won't feel like they are being short changed if you put one of these in their school lunchbox. The trick is to get the consistency right - chewy but not hard.


Ingredients


  • 8 oz oats or mixed muesli grains (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 oz raw sunflower seeds, (1/2 cup)
  • 3 ounces chopped almonds and hazelnuts (1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 ounces wheat germ, (1/2 cup)
  • 6 ounces honey, (1/2 cup)
  • 1 3/4 oz dark brown sugar or demerara sugar, (1/4 cup)
  • 1 oz unsalted butter, plus extra for pan (largish knob)
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or other flavouring (optional - this is pretty tasty without!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 oz chopped unsweetened dried fruits such as apricots, raisins, sultanas, apples and pears

Method

  • Cook the oats and nuts and seeds in a moderate oven (350 degrees F) for about 10 - 15 minutes, or until they have crisped up and a pleasant aroma is coming from the nuts. Check them and move the mix about to prevent burning. Rub off any brown shells from the hazelnuts (they should fall off quite easily after cooking). The ingredients should look faintly bronzed. Don't over-do it - you'll only create free-radicals!
  • Warm the fats and sugars, including the honey, in a saucepan over a low heat until everything is melted.
  • Stir everything together, including the salt and dried chopped fruits.
  • Press the mixture into a greased oven-proof tray. Don't over-press the mix. It needs to stick together but if you over-do it, it will become hard when cooked.
  • Cook it for about 20 - 30 minutes in a warm oven.
  • Slice into shapes with a sharp knife as soon as they are done and leave the granola bars to cool (if you can!)

Variations for your healthy granola bar recipe

This is already quite a healthy granola bar recipe! You can make it even healthier by tweaking the amounts of sugars and fats. It is possible to reduce the quantities of sugar by some but they may end up a bit crumbly if you do it too much. You can also substitute honey or maple syrup for some of the sugar.

You can vary the fruit and nuts in many, many ways. The trick is to keep the quantities of fruits, nuts and grains roughly the same. Sesame seeds are a good bet as they are so nutritious.

They are a great source of calcium.

You can further reduce the amount of fat by avoiding brazils, coconut and other high-fat nuts and seeds. The lowest vegetable oils for saturated fats are safflower, almond, sunflower and canola. Sunflower is probably the easiest to find. Canola has some health queries about it (that's another article!)

A healthy low fat granola recipe: storing granola bars

These bars will only stay fresh for a few days. Keep them in an air-tight tin or wrap them individually in tin-foil. There are now recycled aluminium foils on the market, so this need not be too eco-unfriendly!

See also the flapjack recipe on my oat recipes page.


*****

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A healthy low fat granola recipe:
Books on granola and cereal bars

Here are some good books on cereals, granola and fruit bars and other snacking goodies.

The Pug Bread Recipe Book: A Guide to Making Homemade Cereal Bars, Energy Bars and Granola

This book gives some really decent recipes for bread and granola which people find satisfying and sustaining - as well as delicious.


The Wholesome Junk Food Cookbook: More Than 100 Healthy Recipes for Everyday Snacking has had rave reviews from readers. Clear and simple and yet exciting recipes with a lot of wow factor!

Kristen Suzanne's EASY Raw Vegan Dehydrating: Delicious & Easy Raw Food Recipes for Dehydrating Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Seeds, Pancakes, Crackers, Breads, Granola, Bars & Wraps is packed with food ideas for anyone who owns a dehydrator - a device for drying fruits and plants for storage and immediate use. It's packed with delicious recipes and of course you do not really need a dehydrator as you can use dried fruit and nuts as found in your health food shop, supermarket or food co-op!

If you happen to have a low fat granola recipe to share, please use the "Add Your Tips!" button on the nav bar. Thanks!

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A Healthy Low Fat Granola Recipe

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On other pages:

The Nutritional Benefits of Nuts

The Nutritional Benefits of Fruit

All Types of Fruit for Health












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