For the Love of Granola

I never had granola until last two years (2015) and its safe to say I didn’t fall in love with it instantly. At that time, I didn’t even realize why a granola bar was called a granola bar. As time went on, I liked the grain product but appreciated it more when I discovered how versatile it could be used. I made an apple crisp with it during one of my classes at College (Techniques of Healthy Cooking) and I didn’t even realize it could be used to make a dessert!. The granola balanced out the texture of the dessert (crunchiness from granola and softness from baked apples). It was one of the few things you could do with a granola that I had just discovered.  So, what is granola?

Granola is a snack or food item made from rolled oats, nuts, honey, brown sugar (sometimes) and dried fruits. It can be incorporated into dishes in different ways which provides the consumer with variation, an important aspect of nutrition. Granola can be bought in grocery stores or self-made. Self-made granolas are cheap (a bit expensive than packaged if your looking forward to adding various ingredients), you can control the amount of sugar during preparation, be creative with your ingredients and most importantly, they are easy to make. Coming up with your own recipe for granola is quite easy, it all depends on your preference. For me, along side the rolled oats and honey, I love to use almonds, walnuts, dried cranberries, and coconut extract but I switch it up sometimes if I want a different taste. You could also substitute the oats for buckwheat, quinoa flakes, seeds such as sunflower or flax seed. So, you might be wondering, how do I make this? Like I said, its easy. You simply stir up your ingredients together (except for the dried fruits), spread it out on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 to 45 minutes until its crispy and you add the dried fruits after granola as been cooled.

Granola as some health benefits to it. It’s a good source of two nutrients that are essential to the body and they are, fiber (gotten from the oats and nuts) and omega-3 (gotten from the nuts). There are two types of fiber, soluble fiber (found in oats) which helps to “lower blood cholesterol and glucose level” and insoluble fiber (found in nuts) which helps to regulate bowel movements (Mayo Clinic, 2015). Omega-3 on the other hand, helps to lower the risk of heart disease (Eat Right Ontario, 2016). Note that moderation is key so, you don’t want to have “two handful” of granola at a go because this could lead to excess of these essential nutrient (fiber and omega 3) and sugar in your body.

As said earlier, granola can be used in different ways. It can be enjoyed with milk, a topping for yogurts, smoothies or even straight out of a snack bag. I usually have mine as a breakfast with milk or pack some in my snack bag if am on a rush to school. I also substitute it for popcorn when am watching movies at home (only if I don’t have popcorn at home). Remember, there are a lot more you could do with a granola. It’s all about moderation and balance. So, for the love of granola, sit back and enjoy that filling snack