This post contains Amazon affiliate links for some of the ingredients I used in the granola recipe.
I haven’t bought cereal for our home for quite a few years. Initially, the reason for that was based more on cost, than anything else. The price had gotten so high and my family could literally eat through a box in a couple of days. (After I quit buying it, if a rare box showed up in our pantry, as a treat, they could polish it off in 24 hours.) I was just irritated by the amount we had to pay to get a box of fluff, void of nutrition and loaded with sugar. For a short time, I tried switching to granola or cereals I felt were healthier than the alternatives. Neither my kids or my husband would eat them. More money wasted. To fuel them for a productive day, we simply scrambled some eggs, made homemade pancakes, biscuits or muffins and ate fruit. It seemed to be the most cost effective way to achieve the best nutrition. They still craved that quick bowl of cereal, now and again, though; so I decided to make a homemade granola recipe that even David would eat. If it could get by him, then the kids would be easy. He loves it and unlike many other pantry staples, reminds me when we are running low. He doesn’t like running out of this breakfast cereal.
This recipe, in total, is not inexpensive. The initial cost to purchase ingredients seems high, but you will get several uses out of most of the items purchased and spread the cost over multiple batches and in other recipes. I’m including links to where I purchase them and always buy them in bulk for the greatest savings. Because this granola is so filling, 1/2 cup at a time, with some sliced fruit and whole milk is all I can eat at a sitting; so it goes much further than you would expect. My husband and teenage son may eat a little more than that, but my point is that as to cost per serving, I feel it is right on par with commercial organic cereals and LESS costly than many of them. I also don’t feel that you will find a commercial cereal that offers the combination of ingredients and nutrients that this delicious, organic and gluten-free granola recipe provides. You will be able to adjust your personal cost by selecting the nuts and seeds that best fit your family’s tastes and budget. I tend to switch it up, based on what I have on hand. I have doubled and even tripled this recipe with good success.
This recipe is loaded with fiber and nutrition. It will let your family feel full and provide tons of energy to get through their morning. Let me explain a little about why I chose some of these specific ingredients, when creating the recipe.
- Honey provides vitamin B-6, vitamin C and riboflavin, while maple syrup adds iron, calcium, zinc, manganese and potassium.
- Healthy heart fats from the coconut oil and nuts are also great for the nervous system, hair and skin.
- Coconut oil contains a high concentration of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently than other saturated fats, and can have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders. It has been shown to increase energy and may help to burn more fat. Coconut oil contains lauric acid which kills bacteria, viruses and fungi and helps to prevent infections. Fatty acids in coconut oil have been shown to improve brain function in some Alzheimer’s patients. It may also have positive effects on hormones that control blood sugar and thyroid .
- Fiber from the gluten-free oats, flax seed meal, nuts and other seeds are great for colon health and may aid in cancer prevention and regulating cholesterol.
- Natural sweeteners like raw honey and pure maple syrup don’t expose your family to all the bleaching and chemicals of processed sugars. Raw honey may even provide some benefits for allergy symptoms if you buy a local variety.
- Flax seed is being shown in more and more studies to have the potential to fight breast cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. It’s high in Omega-3 fatty acids, lignans and fiber.
- Chia seeds are a good source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants and calcium. There are, also, about 4 grams of protein in only 2 Tablespoons of these little nutrition powerhouses. Two tablespoons contain 18 percent of the daily recommended intake for calcium, 35 percent for phosphorus, 24 percent for magnesium and about 50 percent for manganese. These nutrients help you prevent hypertension and maintain a healthy weight, and are important for energy metabolism. Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants, and are believed to help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer. I use them in many things, besides granola, but they were a natural addition to this recipe.
- Hemp seeds contain all 10 essential amino acids. 3 Tablespoons of Hemp Seeds = 11 grams of protein! Hemp provides zinc, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and iron, as well as a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids which makes it a natural anti-inflammatory.
- Pumpkin Seeds are high in magnesium, zinc and plant-based omega-3’s. They enhance functions that help with prostate health, may improve insulin regulation, may help with many of the symptoms of menopause, are good for the heart and liver, and have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Sunflower seeds are a good source of selenium, helping in preventing cell damage. They contain bone-healthy minerals like calcium, magnesium and copper. Magnesium is great for helping us to stay calm, soothing nerves and possibly even as a relief for migraines. They are good for the skin because of vitamin E content and are loaded with antioxidants.
- Cacao nibs are slightly bitter on their own, (think plain, unsweetened cocoa powder, only these are little chips of the cacao bean), but add a great chocolate flavor to sweetened baked goods. They are also high in dietary fiber making them good for intestinal health. Studies published in the Journal of Internal Medicine and in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that cacao products can have a positive effect on heart and brain health, reducing the frequency of strokes and heart attacks. Cacao polyphenols may improve the health of your heart and brain arteries by serving as antioxidants and inhibiting blood platelets from forming a clot. They may also be useful in lowering blood pressure and glucose levels.
You can certainly use this recipe as a guide, and substitute the nuts, seeds and grains that make sense for your own family. I do have a few tips for creating your own custom blend.
- If you eat gluten-free, be cautious to read labels and make sure you are purchasing gluten-free ingredients; especially in the case of the rolled oats. Oats are naturally gluten-free, but it is very common for them to be processed in facilities that also work with wheat and cross-contamination can occur, so make sure the label says your oats are gluten-free.
- Also, purchasing organic ingredients can protect your family from toxins in pesticides and fertilizers used in commercial growing. Whenever we can afford it and the products are available, I purchase organic ingredients.
- I also prefer to purchase raw nuts to use in granola, since they will be in the oven for such a long time. I find that they roast, nicely, as the granola cooks and I don’t ever get that “burnt” taste that can come from overcooking nuts.
- Buy unsweetened coconut (I like the flakes, but you could buy shredded). Avoiding unnecessary processed sugars is always the best option and you will discover that unsweetened coconut flakes will toast and concentrate in their own natural sweetness as the granola bakes.
This granola, with fresh or dried fruit and whole milk actually makes a stupendously well-balanced, energy-boosting and nutritious way to start a day. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does!
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1 cup organic hemp seed
- 1 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup chia seed
- ½ cup flax meal
- 1 cup cacao nibs
- 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- ¾ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 cup pure organic maple syrup
- ¾ cup raw honey, local if you can get it
- Mix oats, nuts and seeds together in a large bowl.
- Stir together the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and honey.
- Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry and stir to be sure the dry ingredients are completely coated.
- Spread the mixture evenly across two large baking sheets.
- Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 - 20 minutes, throughout the baking time.
- Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.
- Store in airtight container when it has completely cooled.
- Serve with fruit and milk, over yogurt, as a topping on baked desserts or as a snack.
How do you keep breakfast simple, cost-effective AND nutritious, at your house? Have commercial breakfast cereals priced themselves out of your family’s budget? I’d love to hear your comments and ideas! Have a blessing-filled week!