I was looking through some stock images today and searched “healthy” and I saw a picture of granola. I thought “wow! that looks so good!” And I thought about the many allergy free and allergy friendly ways it could be made. So here we go:
There are gluten free granola’s available now-a-days that are wonderful. They taste great and there are so many varieties available. To be honest, my favorite is Chex Gluten Free Honey Nut Granola. With any granola and parfait you need to realize that it could be highly caloric. So while it looks good and has healthy components, the overall quality of what you are consuming and the health/nutrition facts differ brand by brand and selection by selection. But most of the time, we don’t choose granola because it is low calorie. It is actually the opposite. I serving- 2/3 cup -of my favorite Chex Gluten Free Honey Nut Granola, has 260 calories, 4 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, 13 grams of sugar, 41 carbohydrates, and 9 grams of fat per serving. I mention this because while we want to eat well, allergy free, and healthy, we need to be mindful of what we are consuming and how much. Always read ingredient lists and nutrition facts; and don’t forget the serving size – all of which is usually located in the same general area of the package.
Now that we know there are many different types of granola available, let’s not forget we can make our own. It could be as simple as putting gluten free oats, slivered almonds, dried cranberries, and honey mixed together. Then spread thin on a baking sheet (with wax paper under it) let it get crisp (probably 400 degrees preheated and baked for 5-10 minutes, checking for doneness every few minutes so it doesn’t burn) and then let it cool off. You can even mix it up and use a smidgen of maple syrup, brown sugar and warm spices (like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and/or cloves) with pieces of dehydrated apples, gluten free oats, chopped walnuts, and more.
More tips and ideas:
- There are many gluten free (allergy friendly – check ingredient lists always!!) granola’s out there now
- We can also make our own granola
- We can add in some berries or other fresh fruit that we are in the mood for. You may also find it helpful to buy fruit frozen as it can be more cost effective at times, and it stores longer. To defrost – all you have to do is microwave some in a microwave safe bowl – keeping an eye on it so it doesn’t cook. Or you can thaw in a sauce pan on low heat until thawed. Frozen fruit also makes for great smoothies when left frozen – usually also in place of ice (but that is for another post). Don’t forget canned fruit too – so long as it is stored in its own natural juice and not stored in any syrups.
- Then we can add in some allergy friendly yogurt – soy yogurt, coconut yogurt, rice milk yogurt, or even coconut milk (real coconut milk that comes in a can) and you can select which level of fat content you want as some are light, some are full fat, etc. Be mindful of how many calories, fat, etc. is in your yogurt too. Yogurt can have a lot of sugar in it, so please check labels for that as well.
- Lastly, you can always use allergy friendly milks with or instead of yogurts. Yogurts do usually provide us with some friendly bacteria [probiotics] which is good for gut health and our overall well being. (Different strains are better for different things.) But if you want a creamier milk, that is thinner than soy milk – choose a nut based milk like almond milk. Unsweetened original almond milk is one of my go-to’s. It tastes good and works well in just about anything. Or you can opt for soy milk which is full bodied, a little creamy, and usually has a high protein count. Soy is considered a whole source of protein. Try to make sure your soy milk is non-GMO (actually make sure all of your milks are non-GMO) and organic if possible. And then you can also try rice milk which is the thinnest in consistency, a little sugary when you get the original, and I think it is the least creamy – but it is good. There are other milks available now too – cashew milk, oat milk, quinoa milk. The choice is yours.
You can layer them all delightfully in a bowl, cup or shown here in a mason jar – and enjoy!
Got ideas? Email them! Jess@JessicaCaracciolo.com
Since I wrote this post, the granola I mentioned has been discontinued. I am totally bummed as it was my fav. But I have found another granola that is good too: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Honey Nut (Almond) Granola. It tastes great but it is more caloric than the Chex one.