Every now and then I get in the mood to start baking; to fill the house with warm scents that outdo candles. Granola is one way to satisfy this feeling, while helping to prepare for breakfasts and snacks throughout the week.
Typical store bought granola is often laden with excess sugar and fat yet requires minimal effort to prepare at home. Making your own granola allows for flexibility depending on your particular dietary considerations, but also allows more control over the nutrient content in each serving.
I often peruse grocery store aisles looking at ingredient lists and I am shocked at just how much sugar can be in just one serving of breakfast cereal. By making my own granola I am able to cut back on this excess as well as use seasonal ingredients. This particular recipe is livened up with the flavours from orange zest, with maple syrup for a touch of sweetness. Preparing a batch of granola at the beginning of the week makes for easy breakfast parfaits, smoothie bowl toppings, and snacks. One of my favourite ways to prepare breakfast using this granola is with either some lactose free yogurt or milk, and blueberries or other seasonal fruit; having this pre-made ensures that saving time does not mean losing out on flavour.
Opting for lactose free dairy additions will be kind to your gut for those who are lactose intolerant or are following the low FODMAP diet. Simply opting for lactose free alternatives can allow for the same texture without the unpleasant side effects. Plant-based milks or cultures are also a great option and come from a variety of sources to suit your preference as well.
Lactose is a milk sugar that is indigestible in about 70% of the population simply because the body doesn't make enough lactase enzyme. The lactase enzyme acts like a knife, cutting this two piece sugar into it’s absorbable single sugar units (glucose and galactose). The inability to digest lactose is what causes the characteristic discomfort after consumption of dairy products, as this lactose sugar is exactly what the bacteria in the large intestine like to feast on producing gas, bloating, and changes in bowel movements.
If you’re choosing dairy alternatives, it’s important to be be mindful of the nutrient value of your choice as only soy beverages, Ripple pea milk, and dairy beverages would provide a significant amount of protein (about 8 grams per cup). So if you prefer almond, oat, coconut or any other types of milk alternatives be sure you are including a good source of protein - such as nuts or seeds - within that meal.
Citrus Almond Granola
Ingredients (serves 5)
2 cups whole rolled oats
¼ cup almond flour
¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted (or avocado oil)
1 teaspoon orange zest (zest of 1 medium orange)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 325F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or silicone silpat
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
In a small bowl, mix melted coconut oil and maple syrup. Slowly add in oil and maple syrup mixture to the dry oats mixture so that it is evenly coated
Spread granola mixture over the lined baking tray
Bake for 20 minutes, stirring to break up clumps.
Continue to bake for 15-20 more minutes
Note: Granola tends to burn easily so keep a close eye on it while it’s baking. Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 275, Fat 12g, Carbohydrates 37g, Fiber 5g, Sugar 11g, Sodium 2g, Protein 8g