Easy Homemade Granola (6 Ingredients)
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Before we get into this easy homemade granola recipe, here’s a little back story and information surrounding refined sugar.
When Hayden and I first became friends during our senior year of high school (yes, we’ve been friends for a LONG time. In fact, we were friends for five years before we started dating), he decided to do a no sugar challenge. As in, remove highly refined sugar (white sugar, corn syrup, etc.) from his diet. And he asked me to join him.
At first, I thought it was stupid. And I also really loved (love) chocolate.
But, I was into health and eating healthily, so I gave it a shot.
Two days later we were given free cookies from the cafeteria at our student council meeting. The cafeteria had the BEST cookies. I couldn’t pass up free chocolate, chocolate chip cookies!
So, I failed at the no sugar thing pretty quickly. I did try again though, and this time I stuck it out. And you know what? It changed my life.
Going refined sugar free
I felt better and had more energy than I ever had before. I saw improvements in my sports performance (this was during the Spring, so I was running track at the time). I also noticed improved mental clarity, better sleep, etc.
I had been researching nutrition since I was ten, so for about eight years at this point, and this experiment lead me down a long journey of understanding the negative impact too much refined sugar can have on our health.
Now, I want to be clear, I am talking about refined sugar. You know, the white stuff. Or the corn syrupy stuff. The stuff that doesn’t have much nutritional value.
I am not talking about fruit, honey, maple syrup (which is technically refined, even if considered more “natural”), etc. We did include those types of sugar. Sugar is not “bad.” In fact, all carbohydrate-containing foods will break down into sugar (i.e. glucose) in the body, which we do need to thrive. It’s our main energy source! But, too much sugar in any form can be inflammatory and cause excess insulin production. That’s the key here: excess is the issue, not necessarily the sugar itself. I talk more about this here and here and here.
The reason we incorporated natural/less refined sugar, but not refined cane/white sugar or corn syrup/high fructose corn syrup is because not only do we feel better eating more natural sugars than refined white sugar/corn syrup, it still drastically reduced our overall sugar intake.
For example, we may eat a baked good sweetened with honey, but not refined cane sugar. How many cookies sweetened with honey do you actually come across regularly? Not many. Usually it’s the type of thing you’re making yourself. Same with condiments, breads, beverages, ice cream, etc. Most of these foods are made with refined cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup. By simply avoiding refined cane sugar or corn syrup, we are also avoiding many other processed foods, and I do think that’s part of the reason it helps with how we feel.
Anyway, while I did eventually end up adding some refined sugar back into my diet, it has always been a moderate consumption. And I continue to be very conscious about how much I eat, mainly because I know I don’t feel well if I have a lot, nor do I feel satisfied if I have something too sugary. Plus, I don’t even like super sweet things anymore. I will involuntarily spit something out if it’s too sweet, and I have friends who can attest to this.
During pregnancy when it came time for the glucose tolerance test, I ate a bowl of cheerios and a banana instead of the usual sugary drink because, I mean, I didn’t want to drink that, but was also genuinely concerned I would spit it out.
Anyywayyy. My current diet has very limited amounts of refined sugar, like in the granola I normally use. We had been buying Bear Naked Fit granola, which has less sugar per serving (5g added sugar compared to 10-13ish grams in regular granola).
But, recently, Hayden said he wanted to try zero sugar again, so as the supportive wife that I am, I said I’d do it with him (except for dark choclate, I’m not giving that up again).
I want to be clear that this is a personal choice, and not something I usually recommend for others (unless certain health conditions require it, at least for a period of time). We had a long conversation about whether or not this would be a good decision for us, and for many, it’s not. I am usually advocating for LESS restriction when working with people one on one because long term it often actually leads to MORE success and a healthier mindset (read Iren’e story about that here). But for us, in this season, it works. There was a time when this type of restriction would be unhealthy for me personally, and at one point I found myself saying “I can’t eat that” all too often, and FEELING restricted. The difference now is that I know I can eat anything I want, but I’m CHOOSING not to at this time.
So, really, this just means finding some new granola without added refined white sugar.
This is something I’ve been meaning to do anyway since I’d probably save more money making my own granola, and it’s not THAT hard, just takes a liiiittle bit more preparation. My issue with homemade granola though has been not being able to achieve the crunch I want without adding boatloads of sugar and oil…UNTIL NOW!
Finally onto the recipe
This recipe is ridiculously easy, has only 6 ingredients, and it can be done while holding a baby, because #momlife.
Oh, plus, it’s super yummy! Sweet, cinnamon-y, crunchy. Almost like cinnamon toast crunch, except not that. And much healthier using whole grain oats. The oats are beneficial for everyone’s gut bacteria and breastfeeding moms, if that’s you. Read more about that here. See other oat benefits and nutrients here.
This easy homemade granola is also made without refined white sugar, which is not great for our gut microbiome (and thus, overall health), heart health, inflammation levels, or blood sugar levels (as mentioned above with excess insulin production). Totally fine in small amounts, but too much on a regularly basis can lead to chronic disease development.
Regardless of whether or not this easy homemade granola recipe contains refined sugar, though, it’s still great granola!
So, if you like granola, don’t want to pay a million dollars for a bag of prepared granola, but want it to be just as convenient and tasty, this recipe is for you!
Easy Homemade Granola
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar could likely reduce this if you want granola that is less sweet
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon or more to taste
- preheat oven to 350°F.
- Add all ingredients to a bowl.
- Mix to combine and fully coat the oats in oil and sugar.
- Spread on a sheet pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, toss the oats with a spatula and continue baking for 8 more minutes, or until golden brown.
- Let sit before storing in a sealed container.
- Add on top of smoothies, yogurt, quickbreads, or eat as dessert!
Did you make this recipe? Let me know what you think!