Over and over again we hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That’s all fine and dandy, but why exactly is that the case? Turns out that as we sleep, our bodies go into a “fasted” state. This means that along with us, our metabolism and many other processes in our bodies slow down for the night. Once we wake up, we also have to wake up our metabolism by eating food. For this reason, dietitians recommend that we eat breakfast within 1 hour of waking up. If you wait longer, your metabolism has that many less hours to work off your daily food intake.
Of course you also need to consider what kinds of food you’re eating for breakfast. A well-balanced breakfast of fruit/veggies, grains and protein (eggs, tofu, dairy products or their equivalents, nut butters, etc.) will start you off on the right foot. A balanced breakfast is also shown to improve mood, concentration, weight balance, and food choices later in the day. I’m not sure about you, but I certainly get irritable and tired if I don’t start my day off with a proper meal.
One of my staples at breakfast is granola, served with plain yogurt and fruit. Store-bought granola tends to be heavy in added sugar, fat, and preservatives. Fortunately, homemade granola is incredibly easy to make and stores well. So today I’m sharing with you my all time favourite granola recipe that I have been eating regularly since my mom discovered it years ago. You will quickly learn that I don’t like to follow recipes. I like to adapt them to the ingredients that I enjoy, but most importantly what I already have in the kitchen! Like most Vancouverites, we live in a small apartment and storage is limited so if we are out of an ingredient, I likely don’t have a Costco-sized back up in the pantry. Fortunately, granola recipes are highly adjustable and you can usually substitute ingredients without messing up the final product. This recipe is based on the Granola recipe found in the Salt Spring Island Cookbook. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family and friends have over the years.
Salt Spring Island Granola
Prep time: 5 minutes Bake time: 25 minutes Yields approximately 10 cups
6 cups large flake oats
1 cup pumpkin or sunflower seed
1 cup chopped almonds
½ cup whole cashews
1⅓ cup unsweetened grated coconut
⅓ cup sesame seeds
½ cup coconut oil, melted
½ cup liquid honey or maple syrup
1 cup raisins
½ cup dried unsweetened cranberries
NOTE: You can switch up the dried fruit and/or nuts and seeds for any other tasty additions. Just remember to measure them out to the same volumes as above.
1. In a large bowl, mix everything except the raisins, cranberries, coconut oil and honey.
2. Melt the coconut oil in a separate bowl (about 30 seconds in the microwave) until all the solids have melted. Add the honey to the coconut oil.
3. Stir the granola constantly, while slowly pouring in the oil/honey mixture.
4. Spread the entire quantity evenly onto two baking trays with parchment paper (about ¾ inch or 2 cm thick). Bake at 400°F (205°C) for 10 minutes.
5. Continue baking for a further 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until it is golden brown.
6. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes.
7. Stir in the raisins and dried cranberries, and store in an airtight container.
As my university professor used to always say to our class of future dietitians, “Eat like a king for breakfast, like a queen for lunch, and like a pauper at dinner.”