Healthy granola: how to make it lower in sugar and better for you.

Everyone likes granola for breakfast, right? It’s crunchy and sweet and delicious… The only problem is that to achieve that delicious crunchiness a lot of sugar and fat is involved, making it not such a great breakfast option. See eating granola as eating a flapjack with a spoon. Hello sugar crash and hunger pang at 10am and hello vending machine!

Healthy granola

Vanilla yoghurt, apple compote and my delicious granola: a great combination!

This version is granola is lower in both fat and sugar but it still has some and to me that’s not a problem. Yes some people eat too much fat and we should keep our sugar consumption to a minimal but that doesn’t mean not having ANY. I’m a big fan of everything in moderation because denying yourself something is just delaying the problem and potentially making it an even bigger one.

Portions matter

This brings me to the other problem I have with granola: portion sizes. If you have a bowl full of granola, even my granola, you end up with a breakfast that isn’t very balanced: not enough protein, not enough fibre, too much fat and sugar. I use granola as a topping for my breakfast, a nice addition that gives me some crunch, it isn’t the main ingredient of my breakfast. So I’d have it with some yoghurt and some fresh fruit or stewed apples like on this picture, I won’t have it on its own.

I haven’t added dried fruit to my granola precisely because I often have it with some fresh fruit but nothing stops you from adding a few raisins or a date chopped in little bits to your breakfast as well. Just remember portion sizes: the more dried fruit, the more sugar.

What makes this granola different from all the others you have tried before:

In this recipe I decided to whizz the oats into effectively a flour because I really wanted all the ingredients to clump together, as I like big chunks in my granola not just powder.

You may wonder what water and egg whites are doing on the ingredients list so here is why: what makes the clumps in a granola is the sugar and fat and even though we don’t mind them we don’t want too much. Adding water to the honey and oil mix is a way to help the dry ingredients bind together while reducing the overall fat and sugar ratio. See it as a way to reduce fat and sugar without “low fat” products and artificial sweeteners.

Now for the eggs, this came to me literally as I was baking the granola. We were half way through baking and it was good but not that good and I’m sorry but I wanted good granola. I wanted clusters and crunch, and not just a few. It suddenly came to me that egg whites would be an excellent way to achieve the results I wanted, plus it would have the added benefit of increasing the protein content of the granola and everyone knows that a high protein breakfast sets you up for the day. Some of you might be horrified about the eggs and worried about salmonella or something but it’s cooked! How long does it last? I don’t know but I can’t see a problem with it keeping, after all meringues are baked egg whites and they last forever (fact).

There you go, now go off and make your own and tell me what you think!

I’ve seen a lot of food bloggers having used my tip recently, which I definitely as a compliment, but please don’t be shy and let me know if you try this recipe and that it works for you, I’d love to know your thoughts and see your creations.

Ingredients needed for your healthy granola

• 300g oats
• 200g ground almonds
• 100g dessicated coconut
• 200g pecans
• 100g sunflower seeds
• 110g coconut oil
• 110g honey
• 110g water
• 4 egg whites
• 1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste
• 1 pinch of sea salt

Crunch Nutrition Exeter: Healthy granola: how to make it lower in sugar and better for you. Toasted clumps of granola

Look at those clumps!!

How to make your healthy granola

Start by whizzing the oats into a powder in a food processor then mix them with the ground almonds in a large bowl. Break the pecans into small pieces (or pulse them through the food processor, since you’ve got to clean it you may as well!). Add to the bowl along with the coconut and sunflower seeds.

Place the oil, water and honey together in a saucepan and heat up until the oil is completed melted at which point add the vanilla and salt. Next pour the mixture into the bowl and mix with a knife – I know this might seem odd but I’ve found that it’s the best way to get lots of clumps (this is how I make crumble).

Now place your mixture onto a couple of bake trays, spreading it evenly and place in a preheated oven at 140 °C for about 30min.

After 30min, whisk a couple of egg whites in a bowl and pour on one of the trays making sure you quickly mix the granolas around without breaking all the clumps. Repeat with the second tray and put back in the oven for another 30min, turning the mixture after 15min to make sure you get an even bake.

Crunch Nutrition Exeter: Healthy granola: how to make it lower in sugar and better for you. Yogurt, fruit and granola

Portions matter: lots of yoghurt, lots of fruit and some granola…

 

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