Making granola is a healthy alternative to store-bought bars.
It's back to school time. Granola bars have been a lunch box and snack time staple for generations. They taste good and are healthy, right? Well?.not necessarily. Some store-bought granola bars are packed with syrups, chocolate and other not-so-healthy ingredients to make them more appealing to a mass audience. Some store bought granola bars are really no better than snacking on a candy bar. When buying granola bars at the store, pay careful attention to the ingredients and the nutrition information. Obviously, the fewer artificial ingredients on the label, the better they are for you.
Granola has several potential health benefits including:
? Lowering blood pressure: Whole grains, such as oats, may lower your blood pressure because they are high in potassium and low in sodium, according to health experts.
? Help with iron deficiency: Oats are naturally high in iron.
? Helps with lowering cholesterol: Soluble fiber, which is in fruits, beans and oats lowers bad LDL cholesterol levels in your blood.
Better yet, instead of buying granola bars at the store, try making your own granola. While this recipe is for loose granola (more like a cereal), it's still a convenient and portable snack with the help of a small reusable container. You can make a big batch that will store for up to a week. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can add almost anything to it - more fruit, more nuts, chocolate chips, etc. So, get ready to experiment with healthy granola.
3 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
1 cup sliced unsalted nuts of choice (I used almonds)
½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
½ cup of unsweetened raisins
Preheat the oven to 300. Spray a 9x13 inch baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray or lightly brush with coconut oil. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut and spices. In a small bowl, combine the applesauce, oil and syrup. Add the applesauce mixture to the oat mixture and then spread on the baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring often until crisp. Cool and then add ½ cup of unsweetened raisins or other dried fruit.
Stores up to one week.