Super Powered Granola

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‘Super-Powered’ Granola[u][/u]

This recipe has been ‘work in progress’ over the last year. I make a batch of Granola regularly for my work colleagues and at home and have tinkered around with the ingredients I add each time. Even homemade Granola can be fat and sugar laden so over time I have tried to improve on the ‘health quota’ of this recipe each time I make it. I use an egg white to make the chunky clusters you expect to see with granola and this prevents the need to use much oil. The idea came from Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen cookbook.

There is plenty of debate over whether it is beneficial to start the day with breakfast but research shows that those who do start the day with breakfast tend to make healthier choices throughout the day. For me, knowing that I have made an effort to eat breakfast helps me feel positive, energised and ready for the day ahead. I have given more information about the nutritional benefits of the ingredients at the end of this recipe.

300g jumbo porridge oats
100g unsalted nuts, I prefer almond and Brazil), roughly chopped
50g pumpkin seeds
75 ml maple syrup or honey
2 tbsp oil (rapeseed would be my choice)
1 large egg white
50g dried cranberries
50g dried apricot, chopped
1 tbsp ground flax seed (optional)
1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 150C, Gas 2.

Place the oats, nuts and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl and stir in the maple syrup and oil. Whisk the egg white until frothy and stir in to the oat mixture.

Line a large baking sheet with baking paper and spread out the mixture evenly and in a single layer.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until toasty, giving the granola a mix with a large spoon halfway as the edges will become brown before the centre.

Stir in the dried fruits, flax and chia seeds. When cool place in a large sealed container. The granola will keep for up to 2 weeks.

If you had a chance to read the Nhs article on superfoods you will have gathered that no one food has the miracle benefit of making us healthy or curing all ills. However as boring as it may seem, eating a diet that includes a wide range of foods will ensure your body get the nutrients it needs. Limiting processed foods, sugars, food high in fats and salt and keeping alcohol consumption to recommended limits all help contribute to overall health.

The following is a brief summary of the health benefits of the ingredients chosen for this granola.

What so good about….

Oats-a source beta-glucan, a type of soluble fibre that slows the absorption of carbohydrates, which prevents a spike in blood sugar. Oats have been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardio-vascular disease.

Brazil Nuts-rich in ‘heart healthy’ mono-unsaturated fat and selenium

Almonds-high in protein, mono-unsaturated fats and vitamin E

Maple syrup-obviously sugar but an unprocessed source with a great flavour

Rapeseed oil-high in Omega 3 and low in saturated fat

Pumpkin Seeds-a source of protein, Omega 3 and zinc

Dried Cranberry-a source of fibre and anti-oxidant but can be high in added sugar so look for low sugar varieties

Dried Apricot-high in potassium, iron and fibre

Flax seeds-may lower cholesterol

Chia Seeds-source of protein, Omega 3 and iron