Raised on cereal I ate a bowl every morning of my young and young adult life. It was what I knew. Until I knew better. Cereal is loaded with processed and refined sugars that go directly to your bloodstream not giving your body time to filter out the junk and process the sugar slowly. This in turn leads to your body storing it as fat. Additionally, it can make you hungrier, leaving you feeling unsatisfied and wanting more 30 minutes later. After learning all this, my love for cereal created a love for granola. I, of course, thought I was choosing the healthier option, and I was in some respects. However, when you look at the ingredients and sugar contents you soon realize it can be a lot like cereal. That’s NOT to say all brands are bad. There are quite a few that can be a healthier choice. Plus, life is really all about balance. We choose the best we can, when we can. However, I’ve discovered great joy in creating things myself at home. Why not, right? Where you can make it free of vegetable oil, free of unwanted ingredients, and free of unwanted additional sugars or syrups.
Personally, I always avoided making my own granola because I thought it would just take too long. But then I made it and realized its simplistic nature! Plus, I can put whatever I want in it, making it exactly how I want each time. I can make it with chocolate or dried fruit, and I have even made it nut free for friends with allergies. Once you know how to do it you just change up the ingredients each time based on your own tastes. Plus, the kids love the way it makes the house smell.
When making the granola I’ve used both coconut oil and avocado oil. Both work well but the coconut oil gives it a more flavorful profile. The avocado oil makes it less sweet but gives it more of a crunch. So, it’s just about your own taste buds. Same goes with honey or maple syrup. Both will work, and you can use a combination of the two. Maple syrup will give it that extra sweetness if desired. Like I said, you can swap ingredients, leave out, or add in whatever sounds good to you. I do my best to use mostly organic ingredients when possible. This recipe is by far my favorite: It’s my Homemade Date Granola, and I’ve been told I should sell it. There’s a chance I’m giving away my fortune by sharing it with you, but all I really want to do is help you be a healthier version of you!
By: Christina Fit and Balanced
1 C – Whole Rolled Oats (quick oats work too), I choose gluten free
½ C – Sliced/Slivered almonds
½ C – shredded coconut
1 C – Chopped nuts (I use a combination of cashews, pecans, and walnuts that I chop quickly on my own)
6-8 - Dates, pitted and chopped
Handful of Pumpkin seeds (optional)
1/3 C – Melted coconut oil or avocado oil
2 TBSP – Honey or Maple Syrup
1 TBSP – Vanilla Extract.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together, stir in dates. Add the oil, honey, and vanilla extract and mix well making sure everything is coated nicely. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Pour granola mixture onto parchment paper so that it’s in a flat smooth arrangement. I like to make sure everything is touching a little so that you get some of those big crunchy bar-like pieces. My 5-year-old looks for them every time! Bake for 30 minutes. Remove and let sit for 20-30 minutes until it hardens. Place into air tight container and store in the fridge for up to two weeks!