How many of you skip breakfast? I used to be the one running out the door with a banana and coffee, no other food on hand and not knowing what I would have for lunch. Through my years of schooling and from my personal experience, I have learned that breakfast is literally the most important meal of the day for so many reasons! Eating a nutritious meal first thing improves productivity, improves concentration, increases energy, controls weight and helps with weight loss.
Did you know that if you start your day with a healthy meal, your brain registers the burst of nutrients you just gave it and you are less likely to eat unhealthy food later in the day? Your brain will literally try to make healthier choices throughout the day. This means you are less likely to reach for the unhealthy meal or snack. You will likely chose more nutritious options and you won’t be starving by the middle of the day, desperate for anything that is somewhat edible (that’s when the vending machine and fast food restaurants start calling your name!).
I rarely skip breakfast. I am religious about it, like I am with exercise and having my morning coffee (yum!). I never skip the first meal of the day and the reasons are clear! Plus, a healthy breakfast doesn’t have to be bland. This granola recipe is far from it – it is so flavorful and the texture is amazing. It is also very easy to make and is packed with nutrients.
My favorite way to eat this granola: I usually top a bowl of fresh chopped fruit with greek yogurt and half a cup of granola. So good! If you are a peanut butter (or other nut butter) fan like I am, mix in a dollop of your favorite kind and it takes this healthy breakfast bowl to another level of amazingness! (Yes, I just used that word).
Other suggestions of how to eat the granola: with low fat milk (or milk beverage of choice) and a sliced banana, sprinkled on top of toast with peanut butter and honey, or sprinkled on top of your favorite oatmeal recipe.
4 cups rolled oats (*option: gluten-free oats)
1/2 cup each of wheat bran and wheat germ (omit if you have a gluten or wheat sensitivity)
1/2 cup flax meal (or whole flax seeds)
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup almond slivers
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins or chopped dried fruit of choice (I use dried blueberries and cherries)
1/4 cup coconut
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or coconut oil)
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Celsius. This temperature allows the granola to brown slowly, creating a deep nutty flavor without burning.
Pour the honey, oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla into a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. This helps develop the flavors and allow the mixture to easily mix in with the dry ingredients.
Toss together the oats, wheat germ, wheat bran, all seeds, nuts and salt. When the oil mixture has just come up to a simmer, it is ready to be poured over the the dry ingredients. Mix well until everything is coated.
Spread the raw granola as a single even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet or two. Bake for 40 minutes or so until the oats are evenly toasted. Stir every 10 minutes to help everything cook evenly.
When the granola is done, remove it from the oven. Mix the coconut and dried fruit into the hot mixture and let everything cool.
Granola can be stored in an airtight container for a couple weeks.