Crunchy treat for your health

Provided (Image)

Provided (Image)

 

Sometimes my mouth craves a delicious crunch. Are chips and fries the only solution to fulfil this guilty pleasure? No, not at all. Instead of paying extra dollars to companies for packaging and brand labeling, why not make your own granola in half the time it will take you to run down to the grocery store? I would like to introduce wheat-free crunchy granola, to fit every taste.

You don’t have to be an experienced chef to make this delicious snack. I generally make one large batch every Sunday, and keep it in an airtight container. This way it stays fresh for up to three weeks. I portion small amounts for school, to satisfy my crunch cravings throughout the day.

 

Bonuses:

You purchase the ingredients and make it yourself, so you don’t need to worry about contamination with soy, dairy, or wheat.

It doesn’t take a lot of time to make it, and it saves you money in the long run, compared to buying overpriced granola snacks from grocery shelves and vending machines.

You are decreasing your personal carbon footprint, by eliminating extra packaging.

Tailor your recipe to meet your diet

According to Health Canada, as many as one in every 100–200 people in North America is affected by celiac disease. It is now recognized in the world as the most common chronic disease. Going gluten-free is also the “new” thing, as some students follow a gluten-free diet by choice. However, people who have the disease can get inflammation in the lining of the small intestine, causing damage and reduced absorption of essential nutrients. This recipe is not only gluten free, it also fits other dietary needs and choices: vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, and lactose intolerance. People say living with celiac is difficult, and that is true, but it can actually be quite easy; if you prepare your own food, you run lower risks. As a caution for people who prefer or have to live a gluten-free diet, just because something is labelled gluten free, does not necessarily mean it is healthy for you.

Prepare yourself for the delightful recipe below.

Gluten Free Crunchy Granola

Portion size: 9 cups

  • 5 cups wheat-free rolled oats, such as Bob’s Red Mill brand
  • ½ cup chopped hazelnuts
  • ½ cup chopped whole almonds
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • ⅓ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup sliced dried apricots
  • ¼ cup sultana raisins
  • 2 tbsp flaxseeds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • ⅓ cup Stevia, liquid honey, or agave/maple syrup
  • ¼ cup canola, coconut, or olive oil
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg (optional)

In a large bowl, combine oats, hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, apricots, raisins, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds.

In a saucepan, heat together honey, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg over medium heat until blended, about three minutes. Pour over oat mixture; toss to coat.

Spread evenly on two greased or parchment paper–lined, rimmed baking sheets. Bake in an oven at 160°C, stirring every 10 minutes and rotating pans halfway through, until golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool. (Make-ahead and store in an airtight container for up to three weeks.)

What are you putting in your granola?

Are you already drooling over the golden and crisp brown oat flakes? They glimmer with healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated nut and seed fats that are essential for the body. The number one reason why I choose to make my food and treats is mainly because I recognize and choose every ingredient. The next time you go to the grocery store, put on your investigator hat and explore the ingredients. My rule of thumb is if there are more than two items in the ingredient list I don’t recognize, I put it back on the shelf. Don’t forget to check the nutrition labels. Did you know one gigantic gluten-free chocolate cookie sold on campus contains over 600 calories?

Food is a huge issue in our society today, and for many, it is no longer feasible or affordable to eat out. The best food is homemade, and the Gluten Free Crunchy Granola recipe is a win-win: it’s economical, healthy, goldenly rich, and delightful. This recipe is flexible, so if an ingredient doesn’t appeal to you, feel free to mix it up with different fruit, nuts, and spices to satisfy your personal taste buds!

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