It is so easy to make homemade grain-free granola in a sheet pan.
It's the quick and easy sugar-free pantry recipe everyone's been raving about.
You can make your own homemade granola from ingredients that are probably sitting in your pantry right now.
Think traditional granola is healthy? Think again. It's time to understand what to enjoy (and what to avoid).
Is granola healthy?
Granola can be healthy, it depends on the ingredients and if it has added sugar, honey, agave, high fructose corn syrup, or maple syrup.
Most granola, muesli, and cereals are made with high starch grains such as oats, wheat, and barley. When you understand how they raise your blood sugar, you may want to stop or reduce them in your diet.
What is wrong with regular boxed cereal/granola?
You think your cereal, granola, or muesli is "healthy". It's full of whole grains, contains some daily vitamins, and is part of a balanced day. It starts you off well and keeps you full. It's organic and so must be healthy? Sadly, these are all myths.
The invention of breakfast cereal is one of the first convenience foods. They are cheap to make and are seen as an easy answer to the morning schedule. They have become nothing more than a bowl of sugar, corn, or wheat, with milk and vitamins added. Breakfast has become dessert.
If you can understand what is wrong with breakfast cereals you will understand what is wrong with modern food production, marketing, whole grains, the Heart Foundation tick, why low fat is misleading (and can actually increase your risk of heart disease), and how sugar has found its way into everything we eat.
Granola and cereals are packaged in bright, vibrant, exciting packages aiming mainly at children. Or the "healthy cereals" usually have fields and nature on the front, and typically in brown recycled paper boxes, to somehow give it "sustainable and healthy" credentials.
And if you think it's only children's cereal that contains high amounts of sugar, think again. Watch the video below to see how much sugar (natural or not) is hidden in even "healthy" cereals.
UPDATE - One reader sent me his stable blood glucose readings after enjoying my grain-free granola with berries and unsweetened yoghurt.
Most people also start their day by drinking a glass of "natural, healthy" fruit juice, but now you've gone over your limit of sugar for the day. But trying to get people to understand why a wholegrain cereal and a glass of juice is so bad, is pretty much like hitting your head against a brick wall. That is the power of the food advertising and marketing industry.
"And if you understand how cereal is marketed, produced, manufactured, sold, you will understand modern food production. This is a wonderful documentary about the propaganda, marketing and industry behind breakfast cereals and how cereals have become synonymous with a healthy breakfast."
Fast forward to 7 minutes, and see how cereals all stem from one place, 2 brothers and Battle Creek! This is fascinating. See how the Kellogg brothers split and how sugar added to cereal began. How they bought cheap grain for 75c and make $12 of cereal!
Top granola health myths
Myth 1: Whole Grains Are Good For You
Whole grains are high in carbs, raises blood sugars dramatically, causes insulin spikes, increases appetite, causes leaky gut, malabsorption of vitamins, full of gluten, gliadin, and amylopectin A. Modern wheat (which is NOT the same as wheat eaten by our ancestors for centuries) may be a trigger for autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes, dementia, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis to name a few.
Take home message - Wheat is a rapidly absorbed carbohydrate with a high GI full of reactive proteins causing a leaky gut.
Myth 2: Cereals Are Packed With Vitamins
Another myth fed to you by the cereal industry. This is because they are fortified with synthetic vitamins and minerals. Cereals are stripped of their nutrients during processing and they are fortified, they become socially acceptable processed grains. Why do you think they show a bowl of cereal with milk and berries? To give you the idea you are eating a balanced breakfast. The cereal itself is almost incidental to the vitamin intake from the fortification or the added fruit and dairy. By adding vitamins and minerals, cereal manufacturers can make health claims and increase sales.
In fact, many kinds of cereal only receive health star ratings due to the addition of dairy to the serving.
To produce corn flakes, they take the kernel and remove the outer husk, to allow the sugar, malt, and salt to penetrate. They remove the inner germ which contains oil because the oil goes rancid and would shorten the long shelf life and reduce profit. It gets cooked, dried, rolled out, toasted, They turn cheap grain into premium products by way of marketing, advertising, fortifying and processing.
Take home message - cereals are not packed with naturally occurring vitamins, they are fortified and ultra-processed.
Myth 3: It's Organic So Must Be Healthy
Yes, organic products are great and don't have the pesticides and residues of other cereals, but this doesn't change their carb/fat/protein content. Sugar and carbs will raise your insulin no matter whether they are organic, natural, or highly processed. Sugar, honey, Medjool dates, dried fruit ALL are seen by the body as sugar and raise insulin, increase appetite, stop fat burning, and promote fat storage.
Take home message - organic cereals can be just as high carb/sugar as the non-organic products.
Myth 4: Low-Fat Cereals Are Better
Low-fat merely means they have reduced the original fat content. But what was the fat replaced with? You guessed it, sugar. Next time you are in the supermarket, compare 2 products that are regular and reduced-fat (or lite).
Look at their carb content and sugar content. I'm guessing you'll find the reduced fat cereal (or any reduced-fat product for that matter) is higher in carbs. Why? Because when you remove something, you have to replace it with something else, and sugar adds flavour and acceptability.
Take home message - low-fat products have the fat removed, and have sugar added to give it flavour and substance.
Myth 5: It Has A Heart Foundation Tick So Must Be Good For My Heart?
Again this is marketing. Firstly there are major calls for the Heart Foundation to totally reassess their recommendations on fats and sugar, and secondly, companies essentially re-formulate their products to fit the criteria to receive the Heart Foundation Tick.
Study after study has repeatedly shown that low-fat diets do not stop heart disease, but may actually increase your risk. The fact that cereals containing 27% sugar can be awarded the tick, is pretty outrageous.
This Milo cereal pretty much sums up all of the above myths.
1. Contains whole grains, wheat and corn (remember, cheap grains are processed into high priced, socially acceptable cereals). And by containing these grains milo cereal contains a whopping 72% carbs (64.4% net) and 27.3% sugar. What??? And they still get the heart foundation tick?
2. Packed with vitamins - the ingredient list shows added calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, and folate.
3. It's not organic, so at least they can't claim this health benefit.
4. Low in fat - Low fat, but look at the 72% cabs. Low fat, so we are hungry in an hour. Low fat, and so low in vitamins A, D, E, and K. We don't want low fat. Fat is good, it makes us fuller for longer, fat is packed with our fat-soluble vitamins.
5. Heart Foundation Tick - so a cereal can contain 64.4% carbs and 27.3% sugar and still get a Heart Foundation tick!
Sugar-free breakfast recipes
I know your morning is busy, but here is what we have for breakfast every day. My children make their own, or it takes a minute or 2 to make a cooked breakfast in the microwave.
- Make a big batch of any delicious and crunchy grain-free granola recipes and it will last a few weeks.
- Chaffles are quick and popular for kids (and adults). Only 2 ingredients and cooks in 2 minutes.
- Easy keto waffles (chocolate or vanilla recipes).
- Meal prep chia seed breakfast the night before.
- 2-minute scrambled eggs with cheese and any leftover veggies.
- Nutty granola, coconut free.
- Sugar-free chocolate keto granola (keto baked muesli) is the most popular healthy breakfast recipe for children.
This is the easiest recipe that I always ask my new Ditch The Carbs PRO members to make before they begin their 4-week QuickStart.
a) It's such an adaptable pantry recipe. You can easily swap in/out different nuts and seeds to what you have available and the flavour can easily be changed to chocolate, fennel, cinnamon, etc.
b) The grain-free granola can be kept for a few weeks, and even frozen for months.
c) By always having a large supply of sugar-free and grain-free granola in your cupboard, means breakfast is quick, easy, healthy, nutritious PLUS it will keep you on track.
Place all the coconuts, seeds, and nuts in a large roasting or baking dish with high sides. This recipe below includes cinnamon and ginger, but any favourite breakfast flavour will do.
Once you learn how to make the basic grain-free granola, you can experiment with all the flavours you currently love. I have already made cinnamon grain-free granola, fennel and ginger grain-free granola, and chocolate grain-free granola.
Please rate this recipe.
The Original Sugar-Free Keto Granola Recipe
- 250 g (3 cups) desiccated/shredded coconut chips/flakes
- 60 g (½ cup) ground flaxseed/linseed
- 100 g (⅔ cup) sunflower seeds
- 100 g (⅔ cup) pumpkin seeds
- 70 g (1 cup) walnut halves/pieces chopped
- 50 g (¼ cups) coconut oil melted
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2-4 tablespoon granulated sweetener of choice or more to your taste (optional)
- Place all the coconuts, seeds and nuts in a large roasting or baking dish with high sides.
- Melt the coconut oil and add the cinnamon and ginger. Add sweetener if required. This is completely optional and may be a useful addition for beginners.
- Pour over the grain-free granola mix and mix thoroughly with a large spoon or spatula. Make sure everything has a fine coating of the oil and spices.
- Bake at 180C / 350F for 20 minutes.
- The mixture can burn very easily so I turn the mixture with the large spoon every 3 minutes.
- Allow to cool thoroughly and place in airtight containers.
YOUR HOLIDAY PANTRY & GIFT GUIDES
Approximate nutrition information is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. For the most accurate nutritional data, use the actual ingredients and brands you used in your preferred nutrition calculator.
More granola recipes you may like:
I haven't had cereal for years but recently had a taste at a farmer's market of a very expensive brand. Realised I had all the ingredients at home, so looked up your recipes. I added half a cup of sesame seeds to the mix. Just had it with cold unsweetened almond milk. Soo good
Brilliant! And I bet you saved yourself a fortune making your own gluten-free granola.
as an older person starting low carb eating please remember some of us wear dentures and all the nuts and seeds and coconut are so not user friendly. I have been a porridge made with water person most of my life
no sugar just unsweetened almond milk to cool it or on occasion a dribble of cream this is great as I can eat it without dentures. Just spare a thought for us poor unfortunates.
get a blender
I was wondering if you ever considered changing the structure of your blog?
Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe
you could a little more in the way of content so people
could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only
having one or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?
Hmmm ... are you sure you're commenting on the right blog? I have at least a dozen images and plenty of text, and more images and text and I get complaints.
Is there any reason why I can't have this for my lunch? I generally don't eat breakfast but I do enjoy this granola.
Hi Joanne, this granola is a great addition to lunch, midday snacks, or even dessert.
I agree with you
In the immortal words of DJ Tanner... Oh My Lanta!! I just made this for the second time - my first batch burnt due to inattention on my part ( still edible and nom though). Did it properly this time, with a couple of tweaks - swapped the sweetener for SF maple, and added a bit of freeze-dried raspberry powder. My kitchen smells delicious!
I'm so glad you persevered Pauline, this is a weekly regular in our house. Now you can start experimenting with all the flavours of grain-free and sugar-free granola recipes here.
Great granola. I toasted the coconut separate from the seeds and had a much better result with no burning.
Is there a way to pinterest save just the recipe section and not all the rest? Takes forever to find it.
Yes, you just hover on the image to Pin (a button should appear) or there are sharing buttons along the top of every post and every page on the website too 🙂 Here is my Pinterest account to follow and Pin directly from.
Are you sure 250g of coconut is correct? I appear to have so much in my dish its unbelievable. It looks way more than 3 cups!
I personally have found that different brands of unsweetened shredded coconut occupy a different amount of real estate in my mixing bowl. Therefore, I use a measuring cup instead of weight. Also, I sub different seeds depending upon what I have in the pantry Sometimes chia seeds get mixed with flax seeds, almonds are mixed with walnuts if I'm low on walnuts, etc.... I love this recipe because I can modify it to what I have on hand.
I've been LCHF for 2 years and this recipe is my saving grace! If I don't have anything else to eat for a meal, I usually have my Grain-Free Granola to fall back on!
My modification -- I only used 100gm of coconut, and once it was all toasted, I took out a 1/2C and whirred it to break up some of the seeds.
I've been eating 1/2C with 2T HWC and 3T water. Super, super tasty!
Awesome! Subbed out the flax and walnuts for sliced almonds, used 2 tbl spoons of butter flavored coconut oil, a little stevia and vanilla and the calories came down to 154 for 1.5 ozs. Love it! Thanks, Libby!
Ahh ... I love it when you guys tweak and adapt my recipes making it your own and adding your own flair. Thank you for these ideas.
Is there anything that could be used in this recipe instead of coconut? I don't like the taste of coconut so need a substitute if possible. I am always looking for something for breakfast and this sounds delicious...minus the coconut.
Could coconut flakes be substituted for the shredded/desiccated coconut?
Yes, absolutely. This is such a versatile recipe, you can make quite a few substitutions and it still works brilliantly.
Is there a substitute for the coconut?
I use flaked almonds as I don't really like coconut
I've been making my own Muesli for over 30 years and so have now switched to Grain Free Granola. I have altered the recipe a little and don't feel the need for the flavourings - just nuts and seeds with a little coconut oil. Because you know the coconut burns so easily, I roast the nuts and seeds for 10 minutes, stir, roast another 10 minutes, This gives time for the nuts to roast and then I add the coconut for the last 10 minutes, stirring after 5. I've also dropped the temperature to about 150-160c.
I've always done it this way and never have a problem with the coconut or anything else burning. I've also cut back a little on the coconut oil as the first batch I made was much too oily.
Just love it and during the day, if I'm feeling puckish, I just eat a teaspoon full. Yummy
Hi, interesting post about cereals. I am looking for healthy alternative meal for my toddler, (18 months). Can you recommend this recipe? It's nice that I am you can use it 4 ways, and cook different healthy food with the recipe.