The Gingerbread Man Gets Healthy (and no he is not lifting weights!)

18 Dec


I am sure you are all in the thick of it, you know, the holiday rush. Shopping, baking, cleaning for guests, decorating and traveling. When Texas Oncology asked me to share their Healthy Granola recipe with my readers I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately there are very sick adults and children out there all year long, not just with cancer but heart problems and a host of other illnesses. The holidays are especially difficult for their families and the ones affected.

A good friend of ours has a toddler who has Leukemia and has been in the hospital for almost two months. You may feel helpless if you have a family member or friend who is sick, so what can you do? A phone call, an offer of making food or school lunches for their other children or just a card. You can make this recipe and share it with their family or the great doctors and nurses who work so hard.

Every year Texas Oncology shares healthy recipes with its families and this year they asked me to share their Gingerbread Granola recipe with a larger audience.

I took the statement below off their site, now I know some cancer, especially in children does not fall in to the category of nutrition. As adults we can think about what we are feeding our kids and ourselves, we need to stay healthy for our kids, it’s our responsibility.

Just like millions already know, Nearly a third of cancer deaths in 2010 could be prevented because they are related to poor nutrition, obesity, and physical inactivity, according to the American Cancer Society. The organization also states: “There is strong scientific evidence that healthy dietary patterns, in combination with regular physical activity, are needed to maintain a healthy body weight and to reduce cancer risk.” “Nutrition plays a major role in promoting good health,” said Dr. Arvind Bhandari, medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Sugar Land. “A healthy lifestyle and proper dietary habits can lower the risk of disease and contribute to overall well-being.”

Granola is great but some store bought granola can be fatty and over sugared, so make some at home, it easy!

Gingerbread Granola

Ingredients

2 ½ cups rolled oats

¾ cup raw slivered almonds

¼ cup raw sunflower seeds

2 teaspoons flax seeds

¾ teaspoon ground ginger powder

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon salt

Pinch nutmeg

1/3 cup agave nectar

1 tablespoon molasses

1/3 cup brown sugar

¼ cup chopped dried apricots

¼ cup golden raisins

Directions

Preheat oven to 300˚F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and spices. In a separate bowl, whisk together the agave nectar, brown sugar, and molasses. Pour over dry mixture and stir until incorporated thoroughly. Evenly spread the granola mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until dry, stirring occasionally, for about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly before adding apricots and raisins. Once cooled completely, store in an airtight jar or sealed bag.

I like to put it in a large mason jar with a tag, the jar can be reused and no plastic bags are wasted.

Here is a link to a very cute recipe card with the recipe to attach to the jar!

Here are some ideas on how to use your creation…

Combine it with milk, almond or soy milk for a healthy start to the morning.

Sprinkle it over yogurt with fresh fruit.

Put it on top of ice cream for a sweet treat with a drizzle of honey.

Serve it as a nutritious afternoon snack.

For seasonal color, add dried cherries, which are rich in Vitamin C.

Slice apple, add almond butter, dip apples in granola for a crunchy after school snack.

Sweeten it up with bits of dark chocolate for antioxidant power.

Add chopped pecans or walnuts for a nutty dose of protein.

Mix in sesame seeds for a calcium boost.

Put it inside apples and bake for a healthy dessert

Here are some other very simple ideas from Texas Oncology for a healthier holiday

When planning holiday menus, select foods that represent a rainbow of colors, like dark, leafy greens and seasonal fruits and vegetables, including berries.

Prepare holiday meals rich in fresh and seasonal fruits, vegetables, and legumes, such as cranberries, pumpkins, clementines, beets, sweet potatoes, and lentils.

Limit sugary drinks, like eggnog, and serve sparkling cider for toasting.

Vegetables in the cabbage family are rich in fiber and protective vitamins, so load up on Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and turnip greens.

Instead of buying a frozen turkey, try a natural, fresh one free of artificial ingredients.

Skip the mashed potatoes in favor of cauliflower, celery root, or turnip purees.

Review favorite holiday recipes to substitute butter or lard with healthy oils such as olive, canola, and other vegetable oils.

Add fiber, “good fats,” and a host of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals with chopped nuts such as pecans, walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts.

Serve whole grain bread with holiday meals, which contains fiber, folic acid, and iron, or use whole wheat bread in stuffing.

For the table, dress up water for the holidays with cranberry ice cubes

For more from Texas Oncology sign up for their newsletter here.

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One Response to “The Gingerbread Man Gets Healthy (and no he is not lifting weights!)”

  1. Eileen Morris January 20, 2011 at 4:07 AM #

    Thanks for the granola recipe, and for the reminder on eating healthier. I'll be sharing this w/good friends and family. Nice start for the new year!

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