It’s fall! However, compared to my home state, Colorado, it doesn’t feel very much like fall in San Diego. Nevertheless, I snagged a pomegranate at the the grocery store last week, which to me is a fruit that screams FALL. I really wanted to use the seeds as a topper for some granola, but I had a bit of trouble finding granola at the store to meet my real/healthy food standards. You see, granola can be a great source of whole grains, fiber, and healthy fats, but there are definitely questionable, not-so-healthy granolas out there. I always check the ingredient list and nutrition facts for:
- Sugar. This is the worst offender, in my opinion. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men of added sugar each day (which is roughly 25 grams to 37.5 grams). Some granolas have 14+ grams of sugar per serving! I like to aim for under 6 grams of sugar per serving in store bought granolas, and I also check the ingredient list. If some form of sugar is in the top 3 ingredients, it’s time to find other options.
- Ingredients I cannot pronounce or wouldn’t actually cook with. If I don’t know what it is or I wouldn’t cook with it myself, it’s got no business in my food.
- Protein. I appreciate a decent amount of protein in my granola since protein helps with satiety and to build lean muscle mass. Personally, I’ll aim for 6-10 grams of protein per serving in my store bought granola.
I was unable to find granola at the store that met my criteria of low sugar, real/natural ingredients, and moderate protein, so I decided to whip up my own, simple granola. This is a base recipe that can be modified to create unique and delicious granola options. Enjoy!
Simple Granola (makes 2 servings)
- 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or other nut of choice (almonds could be good!)
- 2 tablespoons whole or ground flaxseed
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup (or to taste)
Preheat oven to 275°. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread mixture evenly on a pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool and eat!
If you want to spice it up a bit, you can definitely add more ingredients to the simple granola base. Cinnamon, various nuts and seeds, and dried fruits would all be good options. To make my granola into a seasonal treat, I layered it with pomegranate seeds and topped it with grass-fed whole milk. So delicious!