The origins of Granola
Granola was invented in the early 1860s in the United States by Dr. James Caleb Jackson, manager of a health resort in New York. He uses for its manufacture a dough of flour spread in a thin layer and baked, and then calls it “Granula”, from the Latin name "granum" which means "seed".
The grunola was then soaked in milk overnight and served as breakfast to patients. The whole point of this was to provide healthy food for his patients.
A few years later, Doctor John Harvey Kellogg would have had the same idea. Following legal proceedings, Dr. Kellogg was forced to change his name from "grunola" to granola !
It was in the 1960s that the Hippie movement, which modified the basic recipe to obtain a more natural mixture, made granola truly known and healthy at the same time. They decided to add fruit and honey, for example, for more indulgence and a truly complete breakfast.
Today, the granolas that we find on the market are often of low nutritional quality or very expensive. Yet, prepared and eaten the right way, granola can offer a multitude of health benefits, and in some cases even be a real healthy snack.
When to eat Granola ?
Of course, it can be consumed at any other time of the day and even as a dessert. Personally, I never eat breakfast. I'm just not hungry when I wake up! So I eat granola as a snack at 10 a.m., or in the afternoon.
Sometimes, I even take it as dessert, for lunch or dinner, with 0% cottage cheese or yogurt. This really makes it possible to close the appetite and it is both so good!
Most of the time granola is eaten for breakfast. It represents a rather complete contribution for this important meal of the day.
The benefits of Granola
Granola, due to its composition, offers many health benefits for everyone, at all ages. Of course, it all depends on what you are going to put in your granola. But on the basis of a “classic” granola, we can easily say that it will:
- allow you to maintain a sufficient fiber intake during the day, and therefore help with good transit;
- constitute an excellent source of proteins;
- protect the heart thanks to healthy unsaturated fats for the cardiovascular system;
- help reducing cholesterol thanks to its fiber and good fat content;
- to satisfy one's hunger. Indeed, it is a very satiating food that also regulates blood sugar;
- fight fatigue, as well as in times of stress and convalescence. Because it gives us a lot of energy and vitality;
- bring oats, seeds and nuts, which all have the excellent property of balancing the nervous system, and therefore helping to reduce stress;
- strengthen your immune defenses, if consumed throughout the year;
And the best thing about granola is that it is suitable for everyone, young and old, athletes, pregnant or breastfeeding women, etc!
Why doing it yourself?
I always find it interesting to do it yourself, in general. Products like Granola are so easy to make that I don't see much point in buying a ready-made one. Especially since it gives us the freedom to put what we want inside. For a few months I have been on a diet, and I try not to eat too much of things that are too sweet or too fatty. Being able to make my own granola and take it with 0% yogurt is a great way to keep control over my diet, while having fun.
So here are some reasons why you should make your own granola, rather than buying it:
- Take time for yourself: indeed, the activity, alone, of cooking, allows you to free up time for yourself. From the store stage to the oven, it is a real "project" that you do yourself. It's so many times when we don't think about work, stress, or the things that have upset us. I love cooking while listening to podcasts. It's a way for me to take the time to do things and refocus on what's important.
- This is a fun and easy activity with children. If you have kids, once they are old enough, this is a fun and engaging activity to do with your kids. Of course in the first place it is a moment of sharing. But it is also an opportunity to introduce them to the different seeds and cereals, dried fruits. They will be able, without danger, to help you!
- Know the composition and therefore limit sugary or fatty products. This lets you know what foods are in it, the good and bad fats that granola contains. You can make it 100% gourmet, or a little lighter!
- It's really more budget friendly. Indeed, you are not going to pay the “brand”. You will buy, in bulk, seeds, fruits, cereals, and mix them. So you will probably make large quantities at once.
- If you buy your ingredients in bulk, then this will also generate less pollution. Indeed, less packaging but also less printing on paper, etc.
The Basic Ingredients of a Good Granola
I think you are now convinced about making your own granola ! So, here are the traditional ingredients to make a good granola:
- Oats (oatmeal): it is one of the cereals richest in protein, but also has a large amount of amino acids that promote digestion. Oats do not contain gluten.
- Nuts: they contain fiber, protein, minerals, vitamins B and E, as well as healthy fats for the heart and the whole body. You can use the ones you prefer: walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, etc.
- Seeds: they all have interesting properties. Sesame, flax, pumpkin, sunflower, chia...
- In general, nuts will provide you with good fat (Omega 3), fiber and minerals. And dried nuts will give you the benefit of their high fiber, potassium and magnesium content.
How to make it?
Nothing's easier ! Just mix all the ingredients together. Once the mixture is done, you can choose to add a sweet binder, such as agave syrup or maple syrup.
Here is my recipe :
- Oats (60%)
- Crushed almonds (6%)
- Cashew nuts (9%)
- Pumpkin seeds (4%)
- Pistachios (7%)
- Goji berries (5%)
- Chocolate chips (9%)
- Maple syrup (until it gets a little sticky)
Mix everything in a large bowl, except the chocolate chips.
Spread the blend on a baking sheet and bake at 170°C for 30 minutes.
Then let cool completely, untouched, to form small packets of the blend. When almost cold, add the chocolate chips on top. Then let it dry for a while.
How to store granola?
To best preserve your granola, it must be stored in a dry, cool and dark place.
It is best to place it in an airtight container such as a glass jar for example, in the cupboard.
I advise you not to store it in the refrigerator, because it will loose taste and will soften. Just use old jars of tomato sauce or jam, no need to break the bank !