Nutrition Notes: How to become a DIY granola guru

Granola is known as a breakfast favorite around the world. Some people view granola as a power-packed health food, while others think it is chalked full of unnecessary calories. Store-bought granola can be expensive, but the great news is you can make your own and it is usually less expensive!Granola is a fun and super simple healthy option that can be prepared right at home! By making granola at home, the potential for mystery ingredients is removed, which makes it easier to forgo the possibly not-so healthy ingredient options. A basic granola recipe generally includes oats, sweetener, oil and some add-in options. Those options may include nuts, dried fruit, seeds or dried coconut shavings. Some recipes may even call for an extra protein punch from peanut butter or other nut butter such as almond butter. Since granola is packed with nutritionally dense ingredients, it is important to be conscious of portion sizes! The average serving size for granola is about 1/4 cup (about the size of one large egg) and ranges from 100-150 calories per serving depending on the ingredients chosen.Granola recipe ideas are endless! Follow the steps below, and get creative in the kitchen with a recipe that suits your style and taste buds.Main Ingredients1. Grains: 3 cupsMost recipes include rolled oats but feel free to add in a couple tablespoons of quinoa for extra protein.2. Nuts: 1-1 ½ cupsChoose a favorite nut or go for a mix some favorites include almonds, pistachios, walnuts or pecans.3. Sweetener: 1/2 - 3/4 cupA liquid sweetener helps bind the granola together by coating the mixture evenly. Try using maple syrup, honey, agave or brown rice syrup.4. Oil: 1/4 - 1/2 cupThis is the crunch factor. The sweetener is in charge of binding whereas the oil keeps the granola from becoming one big sticky glob. Oils including olive oil, coconut oil, canola or grapeseed oil will do the trick.5. Salt: Just a pinchSalt always goes a long way so make sure to not over do it here!Potential Add-In Ingredients6. Seeds: 1-2 cupsThese may include pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds7. Dried coconut shavings or dried fruit: 1 cup8. Spices: 1 teaspoonTry adding sweet and savory spices to the recipe such as cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger.Directions (How to mix and bake properly)1. Turn oven on to 300˚F.2. Place all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Do not add dried fruit or roasted nuts at this stage, if they are a part of the designed recipe.3. Add oil and sweetener to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir all ingredients together.4. Spray baking pan with non-stick spray and spread out granola mixture onto baking sheet.5. Bake at 300 ˚F for 30-45 minutes; make sure to stir granola half way through after about 20 minutes in the oven.6. Let granola cool completely and store in an airtight container.Granola is a great addition to many staple snack and meal ideas. Check out a few of the links below for recipes and ideas on how to use it! Happy baking!Granola: 14 Ways to Use ItPeanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Bites3 Ingredient No Bake Granola BarsGrab & Go Granola Bars and Bites