Granola is one of those foods that is really delicious, sounds healthy, but can be so bad for you. Many granolas on the market today are full of ingredients I recommend you pass on.

Bear Naked Granola

Take this Bear Naked 100% Pure and Natural Granola (Maple Pecan flavor). I think our definitions of pure and natural might differ a bit. What do I see when I look at this ingredient list?

Our Bearly Processed Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, Maple Syrup, Praline Pecans (Pecans, Sugar, Agave Nectar, Palm Kernel Oil, Salt, Rosemary Extract), Canola Oil, Honey, Brown Rice Syrup, Oat Bran, Evaporated Cane Juice, Ground Flax Seeds, Natural Flavor, Molasses, Soy Lecithin, Cinnamon, Sea Salt. Contains Pecans And Soy. May Contain Peanuts And Other Tree Nuts.

The multiple forms of ‘healthier’ sweetener are not great (maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, brown rice syrup, AND molasses), but it also contains sugar and evaporated cane juice, which is just another name for refined sugar. No thanks! Canola oil and palm kernel oil? Nope, I wouldn’t touch those either. And what’s up with the soy??

The Kellogg’s version of granola is actually worse, as it includes glycerin, corn syrup, modified corn starch, BHT, and other additives.

There ARE better granola alternatives in health foods stores. You just need to read the labels! The downside is, these brands are pricey.

I like to make my own granola, especially at this time of year. It’s really very simple, just mix up ingredients of your choice, spread out the mix on a baking sheet, and bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. I especially like this recipe for Maple Almond Granola at this time of year. It makes the house smell great, and it’s a fun gift for teachers, neighbors, coaches and friends.

maple almond granola gift

Even using high-quality ingredients, like organic maple syrup and raisins, I still save a boatload of money making it myself!

Ingredients:

  • 4-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free)
  • 3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 ½ cups coarsely chopped raw almonds (if you need a nut-free version, try pumpkin seeds instead!)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup of shredded coconut (optional, I leave out when making this for gifts as not everyone likes coconut!)

**I usually double this recipe when I make it…it will last for 1 month when stored in an airtight container, and longer if stored in the freezer.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix oats, seeds, nuts and cinnamon together in a large bowl.

maple almond granola dry ingredients

Mix in maple syrup and coconut oil, mixing well until all oats are coated.

maple almond granola ingredients

Spread granola in single layer on baking sheets. (I used 3 baking sheets for my double-batch).

Bake for about 20 minutes, until granola begins to brown.

Stir with a spatula, and return to the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes, until granola is dry and fragrant. Continue to stir every 5 minutes or so, and watch closely at the end to make sure it does not burn.

Set baking sheets on cooling racks and mix in raisins (and coconut if using).

Maple Almond Granola cooling

Cool completely.

Store in airtight containers (I like using mason jars!).

For gifts, try wrapping pretty ribbon around the jars, and label with stickers or gift tags. You could pair with your favorite coffee or tea, a mug, or a gift card.

maple almond granola gift

Enjoy this yummy treat for breakfast or a snack! I can hardly keep my kids from eating it all!

 

Maple Almond Granola
Gluten-free, refined sugar-free, easy and delicious!
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Ingredients
  1. 4 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  2. 3/4 cups raw sunflower seeds
  3. 1 1/2 cups raw almonds, coarsely chopped (or use pumpkin seeds for a nut-free version!)
  4. 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  5. 3/4 cup organic maple syrup
  6. 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  7. 1 cup raisins
  8. 2/3 cup shredded coconut (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Mix oats, seeds, nuts and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  3. Add maple syrup and coconut oil and stir well, until all oats are coated.
  4. Spread granola in a single layer on baking sheets.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, until granola begins to brown.
  6. Stir with a spatula, and return granola to the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the granola is dry and fragrant. Watch closely at the end so it doesn't burn.
  7. Set baking sheets on cooling racks and mix in raisins and coconut (if using).
  8. Cool completely.
  9. Store in airtight containers at room temperature for about 1 month, or in the freezer for longer.
Notes
  1. I always double this recipe when I make it, and I store it in glass mason jars.
Angie Jones http://healthyangie.com/