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Over the past week I’ve seen Pinterest explode with healthy eating recipes and workout tips playing right into the hands of well-intended resolutioners.

I overheard a couple of my coworkers recently discussing resolutions and their subsequent healthy eating ventures. They were all in agreement that “all or nothing” approaches and overly restrictive diets just did not work for them.

When it comes down to it, deprivation is not a strategy for long term success. Instead smaller lifestyle changes which include healthier alternatives, can set you up better in the long run.

In order to assist those co-workers and anyone else who may have healthier choices as one of their 2014 goals, I present to you a mini-series entitled:

Make it HEALTHY, Make your OWN

Make It Healthy, Make Your Own | The Adventures of Z and K

I plan on sharing some recipes I’ve tried recently that will help you avoid overly processed, overly sugared store bought brands in favor of good for you, home made alternatives.

Granola: The Not Always Healthy Health Food

Granola is one of those foods that sounds really healthy but can easily backfire into a less than favorable option.

The reason? Store bought granolas are often times super high in calories and loaded with added sugars. When pouring out a bowl for breakfast, people fail to realize that the portion size is rarely more than 1/2 C (that’s not much!).

Let’s take a look at a Quaker Granola example…

Quaker Oat, Honey, Almond Granola

Quaker oat honey and almond granola nutrition facts

Note that serving size is only 1/2 C and that gives you 210 calories AND 13g of sugar.

Ever since starting a low FODMAP lifestyle I am dilligent about reading ingredient labels. So let’s see what’s in this granola:

Quaker oat honey and almond granola ingredient list[source]

While the ingredient list isn’t horrible there are a few things to be cautious of. For you FODMAPers out there–take note of the inulin, honey and milk. For everyone else you’ll notice two different types of oil, “natural flavor” and “natural mixed tocopherols”. I’m always a bit cautious of things that aren’t easy to pronounce…

By making your own granola you can control the ingredients, alter to your tastes AND save money. Affordable, customizable, easy and delicious? What’s not to love about that?!

Make Your Own: Millet & Oat Granola

One of my favorite dietician bloggers, Gina (The Candid RD), had a recipe on her site for “Sweet and Crunchy Millet and Oat Granola” that looked easy enough so I decided to give it a try.

Make Your Own Granola | The Adventures of Z and K

Millet & Oat granola

Modified (only slightly) from The Candid RD

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats  (I used Trader Joe’s brand)

1/2 cup uncooked millet (a Whole Foods bulk bin purchase)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup natural crunchy peanut butter (look at the ingredient list—only thing listed should be peanuts!)

2 tbsp water

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

1 Tbsp. chia seeds

1 Tbsp. sesame seeds

pumpkin pie spice (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Place oats and millet on baking sheet and bake for 60 minutes.
  3. Add maple syrup, peanut butter, and water in a small bowl. Microwave until melted. Stir.
  4. Once oats and millet are done, pour into a large bowl. Add in melted peanut butter mixture and stir until oats are evenly coated.
  5. Pour outs out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Take out and stir halfway through.
  6. Let cool. Eat and enjoy OR store in an airtight container.

The Result

Crunchy and delicious with just a hint of sweet!

Homemade Oat and Millet Granola

How does it measure up? I plugged in the recipe to Calorie Count.com and here’s what it said:

Homemade Oat and Millet Granola Nutrition Facts

While still not a low-calorie food, serving size is larger than the Quaker brand with far less sodium, half the sugar AND more protein. Plus I can tell you everything that’s in it!

Uses and Customizations

To be honest I have yet to have a full serving at one time. Instead, I’ve been adding it into my trail mixes or sprinkling on top of a banana and peanut butter. If you’re a yogurt fan this would make a great mix-in as well.

What’s great about this recipe is that you can alter it in so many ways.

  • Adjust the amount of maple syrup to make it more or less sweet.
  • Don’t have pumpkin seeds? Use sliced almonds or whatever nuts you have available.
  • Not a fan of pumpkin pie spice? Substitute cinnamon or leave out completely.

Making your own granola is super easy and healthy. There are tons of recipe variations out there. I’m sure a quick Pinterest search will leave you with more options that you’ve ever wanted. Now go forth and bake!

I want to know…

Are you a fan of granola?

Have you ever made your own?

Any granola recipes to share?

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