Crunchy, sweet, filling… granola has been around for decades. The ingredients are hearty, yet lightweight, which makes granola a great choice for a hike, outdoors trip, or those days when you’re constantly on the go. Pack a handful or two in a ziploc bag (a little goes a long way), and you’ve got energy, heart healthy fats, and muscle building protein to help power your body and mind.
As I mentioned, granola is a hearty food. In my recipe, the natural fats in nuts and seeds, as well as the oil and honey drive up its caloric content. But calories are not to be feared, they only need to be understood.
It’s important to think about two things when eating a calorie-rich food:
1. what nutrients am I getting with this food?
2. how much of it am I eating?
Nuts and seeds in granola are a source of poly- and monounsaturated fats. These fats are better for heart health compared with simple carbohydrates (sugar) or saturated fats. Rolled oats are rich in soluble fibre, which has been shown to help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Although higher in calories, granola packs plenty of desirable nutrients like monounsaturated fats and fibre.
The added benefit of making your own granola is you get to decide how much sugar/ oil to add. If you’re concerned about high blood sugar (diabetes), or if weight loss is a goal, you can change the amount of honey to 2-3 tbsp to make the recipe better fit your needs.
The other important consideration when eating a calorie-rich food is quantity. A small amount of high calorie food will not have a big influence on your energy intake for the day. Conversely, if large portions of rich foods are a regular part of your diet, this may lead to excessive energy intake, and potential negative health outcomes over time.
Learning to enjoy richer foods in moderation, rather than cutting them out of your diet completely, is an important part of balanced eating. Keeping your diet pleasurable is the key to making healthy changes that last a lifetime.
Eat This Mindfully
Prepare: Take a few deep breaths and assess your hunger and fullness levels before eating.
Look: Check out the shapes, colours, and textures of the granola. Can you see the pumpkin seeds? Chia seeds? Rolled Oats?
Smell: Can you smell the spices? Honey? What about the nuts?
Taste: How does the yogurt and the granola taste together? What flavour stands out to you the most?
Check in: What changes do you notice in your hunger and fullness? How do you know when you’re ready to stop eating?
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 4 green cardamom pods, crushed with a pestle & mortar or the back of a knife
- 1 cup large flake rolled oats (not instant or steel cut oats)
- 2 tbsp each: raw sesame + chia seeds
- 1/4 cup each: raw sliced almonds + pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- A small pinch of clove
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Plain 2% yogurt
- Fruit of your choice (I used strawberries + mango)
- Finely diced candied ginger for garnish
- In a small saucepan, bring honey, oil, and cardamom pods to a boil over medium heat. Turn heat to low, and continue to infuse the cardamom into the honey-oil mixture for 5 minutes. Remove pods and discard.
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line a medium-sized baking sheet with foil, and lightly brush with canola oil.
- In a bowl, combine oats, sesame, chia, almonds, pumpkin seeds, spices and salt. Add the infused oil-honey to the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Spread out the granola on the prepared baking sheet, and bake at 275 degrees F for 30 minutes. Take it out half way through to give it a stir.
- Allow to cool completely before using or storing.
- Alternate layers of granola, yogurt, and fresh fruit in a cup.
- Garnish with candied ginger if desired.
- Try this parfait with different fruits as they come into season: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines, or apricots are all great options.
- No cardamom pods? Add ground cardamom (1/4 tsp) to the oat mixture instead.