Homemade, Guilt-Free Granola


Article by Jennifer Dowdican

Photography by Stock Photos

There is something so satisfying about the delicious crunch of homemade granola. It’s the perfect snack to curl up to and indulge in healthy ingredients. There are a million ways to change up any granola recipe. As for me, I love ingredients that rank high in healthy benefits including antioxidants and essential vitamins. 

What I love about getting in the kitchen is that you don’t have to be a pro. Just take what you love and create! With granola, there is no wrong way to make this yummy snack, so throw in what you have and enjoy. Remember, always leave out processed sugar and sweeten with honey, maple syrup or something natural that’s not going to spike your blood sugar.

We begin with the mighty oat! Oats are packed with fiber and balance blood sugar. They’re also a great source of B vitamins and protein. For heart health, oats are a powerhouse in lowering the risk of heart disease. As far as granola goes, oats are the queen of ingredients. 

It’s an absolute blast creating healthy recipes from scratch, and homemade granola is one of my favorite. For this recipe, my go-to ingredients tend to stay the same. I just love the crunch of walnuts and the tartness of dried cranberries. But more importantly, who doesn’t love sweet chocolate chips in any recipe? Because I keep my recipes free of processed sugar, I love using Lily’s Sugar Free chocolate chips. 

Let’s talk about pumpkin seeds. How about a seed powerful enough to protect you from cancer? I’m in! Pumpkin seeds are the superwomen of seeds loaded with magnesium, zinc and healthy fats. They’re amazing in a smoothie, homemade gluten-free bread and yes, of course, granola.

Hellooooo, cranberries! How about a tart little treat that protects your bladder and urinary tract? Cranberries are loaded with vitamin C and powerful antioxidants. They are absolutely perfect for salads and any granola recipe.

Shredded coconut, anyone? Coconut does your brain oh so good with its healthy fats and anti-inflammatory properties. Once again, you can add coconut to baking, chia pudding and—you guessed it—granola. This also includes coconut oil. It is my go-to oil.

I’m nuts for walnuts. Walnuts are a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids and protect against breast cancer. As a breast cancer survivor, I’m totally down with walnuts! Add them to a salad or any granola recipe and your body will thank you.

Dark chocolate is my best friend. Did you know that dark chocolate is one of the most powerful antioxidants? It can also boost your mood, promote heart health and reduce the risk of a stroke. Toss a few chocolate chips back as a healthy little snack, but be sure to go sugar-free and add them to granola!

Cinnamon, anyone? When it comes to reducing inflammation in the body and balancing blood sugar, cinnamon is your best friend. I love cinnamon in my coffee, tea and so much more. You can’t have granola without a dash of cinnamon.

Sea salt for the win. I can’t live without my Himalayan sea salt. It’s packed with essential minerals and supports adrenal health. Sweet and salty go together any day of the week!

Purely maple syrup. Believe it or not, maple syrup has incredible benefits. It’s low on the glycemic index, supports the liver and is loaded with zinc and magnesium. I add a touch of maple syrup to any recipe for a hint of sweetness without the guilt. 





  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease bottom of baking dish with coconut oil.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Pour mix into baking dish and spread evenly.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes stirring halfway through baking time.
  6. Granola should be lightly golden but not dark or burnt.

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