Apple Cinnamon Granola with Comparisons to Store Bought!
I absolutely love making my own granola! I did a presentation last week on healthy snacks on-the-go and I wasn’t surprised at all to see the amount of sugar found in these little healthy gems! This one is actually one of the many reasons why I started making my own because I always got a sugar high and before I knew it polished off an entire bag! This defeats the purpose of granola in the first place!
First, let’s discuss the granola that’s out there. It comes in many forms and you can really buy so many varieties its ridiculous. This is a highly saturated market from gluten free, to paleo, to grain free, to nut free, to really anything you want. Marketing is all about labels and you absolutely have to look at the ingredients and nut trust labels.
First up, Trader Joe’s - the land of where everything is “healthy” is completely false. While, yes I shop there it does’t mean that everything I buy is healthy. Take this granola for instance, Almond Butter Granola is loaded with ingredients (see the photo on the right - hidden sugars in the label brown rice syrup mentioned several times and cane sugar both are forms of sugar) and comes in at 220 cal / 9g fat / 30g carbs/ 4g fiber / 9g sugar / 5g protein - per 1/2 cup!
Second up, another find from TraderJoe’’s, Peanut Butter Protein Granola. coming in with the same ingredients here with can sugar and brown rice syrup. Total nutrition facts come in at 260 cal / 12g fat / 2.5g polyunsaturated fat / 4/5 mg monounsaturated fat / 29g carbs / 3g fiber / 9g sugar / 11g protein - in 2/3 cup
So Udi’s is something you can find anywhere - Wal-Mart, Target, any grocery store at this point and online. It’s one of the first gluten free granola’s / well really gluten free brands that came out when the whole gluten free thing started taking off. One thing to keep in mind, just because its gluten free, doesn’t mean its healthy! You still have to evaluate based on the ingredient list and determine which is the best option if you are in a crunch.
Total nutrition facts here: Calories 140 / Fat 6g / Carbs 27g / Fiber 2g / Sugars 7g / Protein 3g / - total serving size is 1/4 cup so watch out! The ingredient list is pretty good here just consisting of Certified Gluten Free Oats, Wildflower Honey, Canola Oil, Raisins, Banana Chips, Walnuts, Cashews, Almonds and Pistachios per the website. This is just for the basic original flavor.
Last but not least is Kind Granola which you can also find anywhere these days. Their bars are some of the cleanest out there although they are STILL processed and contain sugar, you want to watch out for over consumption of sugar and that all counts towards your total sugar intake for the day!
I posted the nutrition facts below so you could see it for your own eyes straight from the Target website where its sold! As comparison by SERVING the Kind has the least amount of sugar (aka sugar ingredients molasses, brown rice syrup & cane syrup) just to keep in mind when looking at your ingredient list! This also contains the lowest amount of protein, carbs, fat and calories but I’m not a huge fan of counting fat or calories so this overall wins for me because of its simplified ingredient list, amount of sugar and overall taste. Paired with greek yogurt you get your protein there so no need to worry! The Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter protein is a close second because of its protein content and actually contains a low amount of sugar per serving (2/3 cup)
I don’t know about you guys but that for me is too time consuming and frankly just depressing! I hate looking at label after label and its just easier to make something where you know what’s in it! That doesn’t mean you need to go crazy on the sugar here but it does mean you know what you’ve just made and therefore its as clean as you’re gonna get without all of the over processing!
I love experimenting with flavors and textures and its so easy to just throw it all in the crock pot for a few hours and voila - delicious granola! Since apples are in season I though I’d start there so this is a combo of apple, cinnamon and some hits on nuttiness! This one was quite splendid and I added it to my Greek yogurt this morning and was the perfect addition to my breakfast to add some heartiness and texture! Also super filling!
So with that, I’ll get into the recipe for the granola you see below - Apple Cinnamon Crock Pot Granola!
2 cups whole grain oats
1 cup raw whole cashews that I broke up
2 tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp coconut sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 Large Honeycrisp apple chopped (or your favorite kind!)
start by turning your crock pot on high. Add in your coconut oil and let it melt on the bottom of the pot!
Add in your grains, cashews, chia, cinnamon, sea salt, almond butter, coconut sugar, honey and chopped apple!
Stir and let set for at least 2 hours. 4 hours on low.
Remove from the crock pot and place out flat to cool on parchment paper. Store in the fridge in air tight container.