Heart Healthy & Perfect For Your Valentine

Strawberry (Super Seed) Granola!

Woo! Tomorrow is VALENTINE’S DAY and as promised, I have one more recipe to make you love a Tuesday more than you have ever loved a Tuesday.

I am a sucker for a good granola – anything that’s sweet, chunky, and packed with healthy fats is a prime snack in my books. And as much as we would like to think that most store bought granola is a healthy snack, more often than not, it’s not. If you ever read the ingredients list on most generic granolas, you’ll come to find that the first few ingredients may contain high fructose corn syrup, or even brown sugar followed by refined sugar. Why granola, why?!  

Not only can granola be a bit high in sugar, but it’s also not cheap. Luckily the ingredients to make a super healthy and tasty granola is! After making this recipe, I don’t know if I will ever find the need to buy granola again. The ingredients that I chose are all essential pantry items that can be used for many different recipes, so your dollars are well spent for this one. And if you don’t have each and every item, I’ll be sure to mention a few smart alternatives that will work just as well.

Perfectly Healthy Strawberry Granola

Since working at a health food store, I’ve had a lot of time to look over and learn about the actual benefits of what some people call “super foods.” And though there is debate over what should or should not be considered a super food, I think this list is pretty darn super.

Like most granolas, I started with simple rolled oats. If you wanted to use steel cut, GF, or even instant, go for it – use what ya got! Adding to my base, I wanted ingredients that were high in fiber and protein. These are my essentials for any granola, so when it came to a DIY, you know I was going to cram as much as possible! Flax seeds, chia seeds, and cacao nibs. YES. Between these three ingredients, you’re adding almost 30 grams of extra protein and 45 grams of fiber. YESSSS.

Let’s bring it all together! Once you have all of your dry ingredients combined, you’re going to need something to hold it all together. I decided to use Agave which is a sweeter made from a plant (similar to honey). It is still sugar but it’s a real sugar making the glycemic index  much lower than processed or artificial sweeteners. With that being said, honey, stevia, or even coconut sugar will also do the trick. I also added all natural peanut butter to help with the texture, add some flavor, and bring in a few extra nutritious benefits.

Because tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and strawberries have been a theme around here, I decided to add in some diced strawberries to brighten things up! After you’ve mixed together all of your ingredients, carefully fold in about a half cup of diced strawberries. If you want a super strawberry feel, I would add a full cup and even some fresh strawberry jam. Once combined, gently fill a 9×9 baking dish and let it bake!

I let this bake for roughly 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven. If you like a looser granola with less chunks, I would shoot for 10-12 minutes. Though some recipes don’t call for this step, baking this granola was necessary for both dehydrating the strawberries and holding everything together.

As soon as the house smelled like sweet honey and fresh strawberries, I knew it was done! Not to mention it the perfect golden color. I let this sit for about an hour before breaking it down into bits and pieces, and then in the fridge over night before having any this morning. And boy was it worth the wait!

{ Serves 12: 150 Calories per serving, 7 grams of fat, 19 grams of carbs (6 grams of fiber!), and 5 grams of protein

I hope you all have an incredible day with your loved ones tomorrow! And I really hope you give some of these recipes a try. In case you missed the past few, be sure to check them out!

{Strawberry Protein Muffins – huge hit in our house!

{Healthy & Easy Chocolates – Must. Stop. Eating. – definitely going to the gym for the guys!

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