Why not try this healthy low fat granola recipe?
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!)
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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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!
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A Healthy Low Fat Granola Recipe
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