Make Your Own Granola

by in Healthy Recipes, September 15, 2009

A serving of granola
Granola is the classic healthy food, right? Not exactly. Many packaged granola mixes are drowning in sugar, fat and calories, but there are ways to make it work, especially when you create your own.

Buying Granola at the Market
So what’s not healthy about it? It’s the calories we’re worried about — a single cup can have 600 or more. Many of those calories come from healthy nuts, seeds, whole grains and dried fruit, but packaged granola mixes also have tons of sugar.

First step: read the label! Avoid a granola that lists sugar in the top three ingredients. For homemade or store-bought options, portion control is key. Stick to 1/4-cup servings when you’re eating a full meal (say, breakfast) and two tablespoons if you’re just snacking. If you eat granola as your morning cereal, mix that 1/4 cup with another, low-calorie cereal.

Small portions mean you can stretch that box further. Of the packaged kinds, we like Nature’s Path and Cascadian Farms. Health food stores and grocers like Whole Foods sell granola (and nuts, oatmeal and more) from bins, where you scoop how much you want. Look for an ingredient list on the container so you know what you’re getting and, again, stick to 1/4-cup portions.

Making Your Own
A box of packaged granola can set you back $5 or $6; it’s definitely cheaper to make your own. You can tweak the ingredients to include favorite nuts or fruit and work around allergies. When mixing some up, keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose old fashioned oats for a crispy texture. Quick oats create a less-tasty, powdery bite.
  • If you like clumpier granola, make sure to squeeze the cereal (or other ingredients) into small clusters before baking. A touch of water can help keeps the pieces together.
  • Bake at a low temperature for a crispy, brown finish; go too high and you might burn it.
  • Granola keeps in an airtight container for up to a month; stash it in a cool, dry place.

My granola typically has dried fruits (apricots, raisins, figs, cranberries) for sweetness and texture, nuts and seeds for crunch, and vanilla extract or apple cider to up the flavor. When picking your nuts, go for raw or dry roasted; some manufacturers roast their nuts in oil, which can add unnecessary fat.

Ordering Your Own
If you want custom flavor but don’t have the time, I found a couple new sites that can help. The well-named Mixmygranola.com lets you pick your ingredient faves or opt for one of their mixes. They ship it to you in a cool cylinder, which includes a nutrition facts panel that matches your ingredients. For my family, I chose the Apricot Granola Delight mix, one of their standards. The granola can be a bit pricey ($7 and up, plus shipping), but you get a lot in that 16-ounce container. Meandgoji.com is another custom cereal site. We haven’t tried it out yet, but looks like they have tons of mix-and-match options.

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Comments (4)

  1. Susan says:

    I love granola and its such a convenient breakfast on a busy morning. But the calorie count is scary! I doubt that there is any way around that because the ingredients that make it granola are just inherently high-calorie. If any one has a recipe to fix this, I'd love to know it. Maybe your idea of mixing it with a low calorie cereal is the way to go.

  2. Dan says:

    I agree that MixMyGranola is a great site to choose if you want <a href = "http://www.mixmygranola">Custom Cereal made for you

  3. Carol says:

    I love to make my own "healthy" granola. I never use sugar and use Stevia and/or Honey instead.
    I add raisins, cranberries, dehydrated fruits such as peaches, and other dried fruits.
    The fat content is hard to get around, but I use chopped Almonds a lot because they are healthier.
    I grind about 1/4 of the steel oats in my blender for more "body" and add the whole ones too.
    I take this granola everywhere! It is filling and holds off my hunger.

  4. Hiya! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the nice info you might have right here on this post. I will likely be coming again to your blog for extra soon.

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