Originally developed in the 1800’s as a health food, many companies offer granola as cereal bars and boxed cereal. While these may appear healthier than other snacks, double check the amount of added sugar, honey and corn syrup. Some granola bars derive up to 30% of their calories from sugar, while others get 40% of their calories from saturated fat. Check the nutritional label before you buy granola products.

The core ingredient found in granola is rolled oats. Other commonly used ingredients are grains, nuts, honey, seeds and dried fruit.  These ingredients are toasted and combined to create a crispy, sweet and nutritious snack that adds extra fiber to your diet.

Making Homemade Granola
Easy to make, a good granola recipe incorporates many nutritious ingredients into one delicious food.  Though granola is often considered to be a cereal, many enjoy it in bar form or as a topping to yogurt or ice cream.  The core recipe contains rolled oats and honey, but other ingredients like almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, and cinnamon should be added before calling it granola.

Typically enjoyed as a breakfast food, granola has all the basic elements of a well-rounded snack food.  It is healthy, tasty, easily portioned and very filling.  One of the trickiest parts of a granola recipe is getting it to clump. If you don’t add enough water, it remains dry and loose. If you add too much, it becomes a moist, sticky mess. So, try adding the water one tablespoon at a time, remember that you may need to add more than the recipe recommends. Honey will also help your granola clump.

What Are The Benefits Of Granola?
Granola is mostly made from oats, which are full of fiber. The insoluble fiber helps with digestion and intestinal health. Oatmeal also has soluble fiber, which reduces LDL cholesterol levels, or bad cholesterol. Soluble fiber also slows down digestion, making you feel full longer. Oats contain phytochemicals, antioxidants that can target the free radicals which cause aging in your body. Finally, oats are an excellent source of vitamin E, zinc, selenium, iron and magnesium. Other ingredients, like wheat germ and bran, add additional fiber. Certain nuts, like walnuts, butternuts, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts and peanuts, add protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Homemade Vs Store Bought
Most store-bought granola contains partially hydrogenated oils and processed sugar.  Partially hydrogenated oils are oils that have partially been hardened to achieve the desired consistency for that food.  These oils can lead to heart disease and other potentially life-threatening health issues.  Homemade granola can help avoid these issues – just watch that the recipe doesn’t call for too much brown and white sugar, maple syrup, and honey. To make healthier granola, just replace the butter in a recipe with canola oil. And add dried fruit to cut down on the sugar, honey and other sweeteners.

What Are The Healthiest Ingredients?
To make your granola recipe healthier, use heart healthy recipes and watch what you chose to add. When you follow your own recipe, you have complete control over what you eat, cater to your own tastes and eat super healthy.

When it comes to making your own granola recipe healthier, make sure that you use the right ingredients. To cut down on sugar while maintaining a sweet tasting granola, substitute natural sweeteners like dried fruits, such as cranberries, vanilla extra, cinnamon, or honey. For more protein, try adding nuts, sunflower and flax seeds.  Ingredients such as wheat germ and bran add additional fiber.

When it comes to health foods, granola is excellent snack that can be delicious, nutritious and even portable.  Originally designed as a breakfast food, granola has evolved into a treat to enjoy all day, as a granola bars or a healthy dessert topping. Because recipes often add processed sugar and are high in saturated fats, a homemade granola recipe allows you to make it healthier. By adding wheat germ, bran, seeds, and dried fruits, you get more protein and healthy fats to a recipe traditionally dominated by carbohydrates. Also, you can cater it to your own taste and nutritional needs, for a delicious and healthy start to your day.

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