Cereal is a quick and easy breakfast, but it isn’t always healthy. If you check the ingredients, you might be alarmed at how much sugar, and how little fiber, you are feeding your kids.

Allegedly healthy cereal like granola is loaded with sugar and fat, so I started making my own when my oldest daughter was born. Mixing up a batch of granola takes very little time, but the baking takes awhile. Since we were around the house a lot of the time, I figured I could create our own healthy cereal.

Granola has an appealing smell as it bakes, and this always enticed my kids to eat a bowl fresh out of the oven. Making granola also got my kids to try different foods; they even eat wheat germ on its own.

Once my daughter was old enough to scoop, she started making granola with me. She loved counting the cups, and it didn’t really matter if she got the exact amount; granola is a flexible recipe, and if you have extra wet or dry ingredients each time, it still tastes fine.

As she got older, we used the baking to study math – counting and fractions – in a real life setting. If I needed 6 cups of oats, how many half cups would that be? If we didn’t have enough oats, and wanted to make a half batch, how much would we need of each ingredient? Sometimes I would hide the half cup measure so we’d have to use the quarter cup, and figure out that two quarters equaled one half.

My kids are older now, studying calculus and more interested in boys than helping me make granola, but they still come out of their rooms whenever they smell fresh granola.

Basic granola recipe:

  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups wheat germ
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups wheat bran
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup honey
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup apple juice

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a 9 x 13 baking pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Heat the wet ingredients in a microwave for 1 minute. I do this in a microwave-proof measuring cup.
  • Mix the wet into the dry. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  • Cool, then store in an airtight container at room temperature. This keeps for at least three weeks; we usually finish it before then.

Variations:

  • Use maple syrup instead of honey.
  • Add nuts or seeds: pumpkin or sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts or pecans, before baking.
  • If you want to add dried fruit, do this after the cooked granola cools.