If you’re anything like me and you struggle to even think about food in the morning, then you’ll know how difficult it is to force down an unappealing slice of toast before rushing out of the door. Chocolate seems to be the only thing I never struggle to eat (funny, that) but a bar of Dairy Milk isn’t exactly the breakfast of champions.
Since being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (or PCOS) a couple of years ago, I’ve struggled to maintain a healthy weight. So last year, when I’d finally hit rock bottom, I decided to do some research into how to lose weight when suffering with PCOS. I found I was likely dealing with Insulin Resistance, which was causing me to gain weight rather than lose it, so I researched a little more and found a Low GI diet would be the best thing to help with Insulin Resistance and in turn, weight loss.
To cut a very long story short, eating a Low GI diet means eating foods which release energy slowly, stabilising your blood sugar levels and therefore lowering your resistance to insulin and allowing weight loss.
So what has this got to do with breakfast? Well, it means I had to start eating breakfast to kick start my metabolism in the morning and I had to choose something which was low on the GI Index in order to keep me fuller for longer. Oats are a classic low GI option, making porridge an obvious choice. However, my lifestyle means I simply don’t have the time to cook porridge every morning (the microwaveable sachets use the wrong type of oats and are often packed full of added sugar), meaning I had to choose an oaty breakfast which was quick & easy. I liked the idea of granola, but didn’t want to buy pre-packaged cereals as they’re loaded with unnecessary added sugars. So I decided to make my own!
This recipe is inspired by a combination of recipes I found online, and is now the only thing I eat for breakfast. I love it that much! And the added bonus? I get my chocolate fix early on in the day, meaning I won’t crave chocolate during my 2pm slump.
I usually make this on a Saturday or Sunday morning, and it makes enough to last me a couple of weeks. It’s pretty easy to throw together, and it stores well in an airtight container.
THE RECIPE: CHOCOLATE GRANOLA
- Rolled Oats – 4 cups
- Pumpkin Seeds – 1/2 Cup
- Sunflower Seeds – 1/2 Cup
- Hazelnuts – 1/2 Cup
- Pecan Nuts – 1/2 Cup
- Milled Flax Seed – 1/2 Cup
- Pink Himalayan Sea Salt – 1/2 Teaspoon
- Cacao Powder – 1/2 Cup (Add a little more if you like it chocolatey)
- Raw Virgin Coconut Oil – 1/3 Cup
- Vanilla Extract – 1 Teaspoon
- Pure Maple Syrup – 1/3 Cup
- Coconut Sugar – 1/4 Cup
1 – Preheat the oven to 160°c
2 – In a large bowl, combine the oats, seeds, nuts, flax seeds and salt.
3 – In a separate bowl, whisk together the cacao powder, coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup and sugar until smooth.
4 – Pour the cacao mixture over the oats and stir until the oats are completely coated.
This takes some time and works best if you use a rubber spatula to press the mixture together. You can add a little extra maple syrup if the mixture is a little dry, but once combined, it should resemble wet sand (just chunkier!).
5 – Using some more coconut oil, grease one or two baking trays, depending on their size.
6 – Pour the granola into the greased tray and push it into the corners, pressing it down so it’s packed flat into the tray like you would with a flapjack.
7 – Put the granola into the oven for 15 minutes.
8 – After 15 minutes, take the granola out of the oven and gently break up the slab in a couple of places. Don’t smash it up too much or it won’t stick together in clumps.
9 – Return the granola to the oven for another 10-15 minutes, being careful that it doesn’t catch on the edges and burn.
10 – Take the granola out of the oven and allow it to cool before breaking it up and placing it in an airtight container to store.
I like this granola served with ice cold milk and a light sprinkling of dark chocolate chips and some strawberries. It also works well with natural yogurt which is great for the good bacteria in your gut. It’s also great to snack on when you’re peckish – I just take a handful to keep me going mid-afternoon!
Let me know if you try the recipe and tag me in your photos on Instagram – I’d love to see how you get on!