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    Archive for the ‘granola’ Category

    Quick & Healthy Recipe: Oil-Free Autumn Buckwheat Granola

    Buckwheat is technically a seed (and, despite its name, wheat & gluten-free)

    I love this granola for several reasons; it offers something different by not being oat-based, it doesn’t contain any added oils (gets all its healthful fats from whole foods), it’s a delectable combination of crunchy and chewy, and it captures all the flavors of autumn.  Enjoy!

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    Quick & Healthy Recipe: Kitchen Raid Granola

    x2_27cf1e7Granola has often been unmasked as an “unhealthy food with a healthful reputation”, and for good reason.  Many commercial granolas contain lots of oil and added sugars, and very little actual nutrition.

    A true shame, because granola can potentially be a nutrient-rich breakfast or snack.  This is where this recipe comes in.  Not only is it low in added sugars and oil, it is also full of nuts and seeds (hence the “kitchen raid” moniker), all of which offer a wide variety of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and heart-healthy fats.  The accompanying photograph, by the way, is the granola prior to being baked.

    You are, of course, more than welcome to customize this to your liking.  For example, you can use hazelnuts and almonds instead of pecans or walnuts (or, for a nut-free version, sub in pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds).  Similarly, if a chocolate-flavored variety isn’t you thing, you can instead spice it up with pumpkin pie spice.

    I find that the combination of six different nuts and seeds keeps this granola interesting.  That said, I understand not everyone has them all available at all times.  If you want to use just pecans and hemp seeds, that’s fine — just make sure to stick to the total amount of nuts and seeds used in the recipe.

    This is an extremely nutrient-dense food that will leave you satisfied for a long while.  If combining it with fruit and yogurt, I recommend a quarter cup.  By itself (or topped with some milk, dairy or otherwise), a half cup is definitely a good amount.  This is not air-filled crisp-rice cereal that has you white-knuckling it until lunch time.

    One last note: Texture-wise, this recipe reminds me more of a muesli-granola hybrid than a traditional granola.

    YIELDS: Approximately 6 cups (24 quarter-cup servings; 12 half-cup servings)

    DRY INGREDIENTS:

    2.5 cups oats (quick-cooking oats are fine; I prefer steel-cut)
    1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
    1/2 cup chopped raw pecans
    1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts
    1/4 cup flax meal
    1/4 cup chia seeds
    1/4 cup hemp seeds
    1/3 cup cacao powder/unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup dried fruit of choice (my favorite: unsweetened dried blueberries)

    WET INGREDIENTS:

    5 Tablespoons coconut oil
    1/4 cup liquid sweetener of choice (i.e.: agave nectar, honey, maple syrup)
    1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract (if using vanilla powder, add it to dry ingredients)

    INSTRUCTIONS

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Add all dry ingredients in one large bowl.  In a smaller bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together.

    Once mixed, add wet ingredients to “dry ingredient” bowl.

    Stir well.  Place mixture on large baking sheet.  Spread and flatten out using wooden spoon.

    Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 to 7 minutes.

    Once done, remove from oven.  Add goji berries and raisins.  Allow to cool and store in containers.

    NUTRITION FACTS (for 1/2 cup serving)

    280 calories
    100 mg sodium
    7.5 grams fiber
    4 grams added sugar
    8.5 grams protein

    Excellent Source of: Iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, thiamin, vitamin E, zinc

    Good source of: Folic acid, niacin, phosphorus, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C

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    A “Touch” Of Honey… And A Whole Lot More!

    ServeImageOne of Kellogg’s newest products is its Special-K low-fat granola.

    I came across it for the first time in the supermarket today and got such a kick out of its misleading advertising that I must share it with you.

    The front of the box states:

    “Touch of honey”

    I don’t know about you, but when I hear that something is sweetened with a “touch of honey”, I assume honey is the only sweetener used (and used in low amounts, no less).

    A look at the ingredient list reveals the following (I bolded certain ingredients for effect):

    Whole grain oats, sugar, corn syrup, oat bran, rice, honey, soluble wheat fiber, modified corn starch, soy grits, molasses, corn flour, natural flavor, salt, acacia gum, soy protein isolate, oat fiber, evaporated cane juice, malt flavoring high fructose corn syrup, niacinamide, reduced iron, BHT (preservative), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), thiamin hydrochloride (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), vitamin A palmitate, folic acid, ferrous fumarate, calcium pantothenate, vitamin D, vitamin B12.

    Sugar, sugar everywhere!  There are no less than seven different sweeteners — including honey — in this product.

    There most certainly is a “touch of honey”, along with a touch of sugar, corn syrup, molasses, evaporated cane juice, malt flavoring, and high fructose corn syrup.

    The sugar content isn’t anything extravagant (9 grams — or slightly over 2 teaspoons — per 3/4 cup serving), but it’s well beyond a “touch” of sweetness.  For what it’s worth, you get the same amount of sugar from a three-quarter-cup serving of Fruity Pebbles!

    Remember — and I will never tire of saying this — that the use of honey as a sweetener does not make a product healthier, lower in sugar, or less caloric.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Yogurt Parfaits

    I had a Starbucks yogurt and fruit parfait this morning. It also has granola. I saw that it has 38 grams of sugar. Is that too much to have at breakfast? What should my maximum intake be for one day?

    — Patricia Roebuck
    New York, NY

    The combination of fruit, granola, and yogurt sounds very healthy. And, with the right ingredients, it can be. However, don’t forget that even healthy food has calories.

    An 8.5 ounce Starbucks yogurt-fruit-granola parfait provides 320 calories and 4 grams of fat. Ironically, a yogurt parfait at McDonald’s is approximately half the size and only provides 160 calories and 2 grams of fat.

    The 38 grams of sugar you saw noted for this parfait are a little misleading, since that number combines naturally occurring as well as added sugars. As far as healthy intakes are concerned, you only really need to be concerned with added sugars.

    For example, yogurt naturally has lactose, or milk sugar. Even plain, unflavored yogurt will have approximately 10 or 12 grams of sugar per 8 ounce serving.

    I suspect these parfaits are made with flavored yogurt, though, which contains added sugar. I would estimate the flavored yogurt is providing 15 grams (or almost 4 teaspoons’ worth) of added sugar.

    On the bright side, it seems to me that the fruits used in this parfait are fresh, as opposed to sugary jam, so in their case we are also talking about naturally-occurring sugars.

    If anything, the one ingredient to watch for is granola. Although it has long been associated with good health and clean living, granola is actually refined grains with sugar.

    Does that mean you should you avoid it at all costs? No. However, a lot of people seem to believe granola is a health food, which it isn’t. After all, a Starbucks parfait only contributes 1 gram of fiber to your diet.

    This is not to say that everything you eat needs to be high in fiber. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your granola parfait counts as a serving of whole grains.

    You should aim to have no more than 40 grams of added sugar a day. There are currently bills floating around Congress that would differentiate natural versus added sugars on food labels, which I think is a wonderful idea.

    I personally find Starbucks’ and McDonald’s parfaits a bit too sweet for my palate. I prefer to make my own with non-fat Greek yogurt, fresh fruits, uncooked oatmeal, and a tablespoon of flaxseed meal.

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