Mmmm… breakfast. The first meal of the day, the first food you are putting into your mouth to start off a brand new day-chapter of your life. What you eat first thing in the morning can definitely affect how the rest of your day goes. If you are putting a ton of refined sugar into your belly, you are going to spend the rest of the day staving off sugar cravings and feeling sluggish and lethargic (not to mention the especially negative effects of sugar for our children . However, if you put real, whole foods into your body, you experience quite the opposite: in control of your diet, limited sugar cravings, a clear mind, and peace knowing that you started your day off right.
My family is full of big cereal eaters, and a good 70-80% of our breakfasts are made up of cereal. I personally would rather have more of a variety, but with time limits in the morning, cereal it is! In my search to find good cereal for my family, I’ve done a lot of label reading. It really bothers me when I look at the ingredients list on the back of cereal boxes. For one, the preservatives in some of them (BHT anyone?) are enough to scare me right out of the cereal aisle, and the amount of refined grains inside of whole-grain claimed cereals is kind of ridiculous. But there’s one thing that really gets me about these cereal boxes, and that is the SUGAR. Fruit Loops and Frosted Flakes, I’m looking at you!
But seriously, is there any reason to put so much sugar in cereal? Don’t we want our children to grow up with clear minds and be able to make good decisions in their lives? Just sayin’.
My preferred breakfast cereal, without any sort of refined sugar, is this homemade granola recipe from 100 Days of Real Food. I tried it once and instantly became addicted. The combination of oats, ginger and other spices, nuts, and honey is to die for. It’s especially good with fresh fruit sprinkled on top for breakfast, plain in a small cup for snacking, or my personal favorite, mixed with dried fruit, chocolate chips, and milk for a late-night treat (keyword: late night treat! Though doing this for a once-a-year birthday breakfast isn’t a bad idea…). My family still prefers their boxed cereal in the morning, even though I’ve tried to offer this to them. But hey, that means more for me, right? 😉
The recipe below has been modified from the original. The key parts of the granola are the oats, some nuts and some seeds, a little sweetener, oil, and the spices. You can change up the nuts and oats, add unsweetened coconut flakes, dried fruit (though add this after cooking or it will burn, speaking from experience!), whatever you want really to make it your own.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! Let me know if you try it and what your favorite cereal add-ins are.
- 3 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup almonds, chopped
- 1 cup cashews, chopped
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 3/4 cup ground flax seed
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 250º. Line a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat (or parchment paper, though I highly recommend the silicon pad if you do a lot of baking).
- In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients.
- Spread the granola onto the baking sheet in a nice even layer. Bake for 60 minutes, then check every 5 minutes or so until it has a golden color. Don't let it burn!
- Let the granola cool completely, then break it up and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
- You can mix in pretty much anything you want to make it yours: different nuts, different seeds, coconut flakes, dried fruit (though if doing dried fruit, mix it in after it bakes so it doesn't burn)