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Pumpkin Granola (breastfeeding friendly)

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Healthy granola sweetened naturally with pumpkin and a modest amount of honey. For breastfeeding moms, consider adding 2 to 3 Tbsp of brewer’s yeast as another potential galactogogue.

If you follow a gluten-free diet and are nervous about GF-certified rolled oats, try quinoa and/or buckwheat flakes instead. Do a 1:1 swap of the quinoa or buckwheat flakes for the oats, or try a mixture of flakes and puffed millet, amaranth, or brown rice cereals.

I personally find commercial varieties are way too sweet, so this recipe uses only a modest amount of honey (or maple syrup) and relies on the additional natural sweetness of the pumpkin, cinnamon and the fruits. To sweeten it a bit more, you could add unrefined muscovado, maple or coconut sugars, or light brown sugar. I’d start with 1/4 cup, melting it in with the coconut oil, honey, pumpkin and vanilla.

MORE IDEAS

+ This recipe includes a mixture of cashews and pepitas (pumpkin seeds), but any nut or seed combination works. Pecan, hazelnut, macadamia, pistachio, peanut, brazil nut, sunflower seed, sesame or chia seeds. [Or omit altogether, if needed, for dietary or personal preference.]

+ It seems you can find almost any fruit in dried form these days, so play around with different combinations here as well — black or golden raisins, currants, cranberries or any other berry, apricot, mango, pineapple, papaya, dates, figs.

+ If you wish to include brewer’s yeast, you may need to look at a natural foods store to find it. I don’t personally have experience with it, but have heard that the taste is quite distinctive. You might want to start with 1 Tbsp and see how that goes in terms of flavor, and probably don’t go over 2 or 3 Tbsp total.

Further Food Nutritionist Commentary:

Nine months of pregnancy comes with great physical demands and stresses, after which the female body requires time to recover, revitalize and rejuvenate. To that end, it’s essential to integrate a variety of nutrient-dense foods in order to replenish lost stores, facilitate and speed up recovery, and give the body the energy boost it needs. One such food that covers all the bases – granola! My pumpkin version is chock full of vital nutrients, including fiber, protein, omega-3 fats, and a variety of essential vitamins and minerals.
And for the nursing mums, the oats, flax, dried fruits, pumpkin seeds and nuts are natural “galactogogues” – lactation-promoting foods that may facilitate breastfeeding. Breastfeeding mothers require an additional 300 to 500 calories per day to ensure a sufficient milk supply, so granola is an excellent, energy-dense breakfast or snack choice that helps to pack a healthy caloric punch.

By Heather Goesch

Pumpkin Granola (breastfeeding friendly)

  • Prep Time:10 minutes
  • Cook Time:20 minutes
  • Servings: 15

Ingredients

3 cups rolled oats (*see  Notes for GF options)
3/4 cup raw (un-roasted, unsalted) cashews, very coarsely chopped
3/4 cup raw pepitas (*see  Notes for alternative ideas)
2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoon flaxseed meal (ground flaxseed)
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup honey (or pure maple syrup for vegans– Grade B is best)
1/2 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried plums, coarsely chopped (*see Notes for alternatives)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 340 F, and set a rack in the middle.
  2. Mix together the oats, nuts, flax, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, warm the coconut oil, honey (or pure maple syrup), pumpkin puree and vanilla; whisk until everything is combined. Pour over the dry ingredients, and mix well with a rubber scraper or wooden spoon.
  4. Spread the mixture evenly between two large, unlined baking trays — you can also bake it in 2 batches, if needed. Bake for a total of 20 to 25 minutes, until the granola is beginning to brown.
  5. At the halfway point, remove the tray from the oven and stir gently. If you prefer clumpy granola, skip the stirring and instead rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back for even cooking.
  6. In the last 5 minutes of the baking time, add your dried fruit.
  7. When the granola is browned to your liking, remove from the oven and let the granola cool completely on the tray. Transfer granola to a tightly-sealing container or bag, and store at room temperature. Granola will keep about 2 weeks.
Preheat your oven to 340 F, and set a rack in the middle. Mix together the oats, nuts, flax, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, warm the coconut oil, honey (or pure maple syrup), pumpkin puree and vanilla; whisk until everything is combined. Pour over the dry ingredients, and mix well with a rubber scraper or wooden spoon. Spread the mixture evenly between two large, unlined baking trays — you can also bake it in 2 batches, if needed. Bake for a total of 20 to 25 minutes, until the granola is beginning to brown. At the halfway point, remove the tray from the oven and stir gently. If you prefer clumpy granola, skip the stirring and instead rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back for even cooking. In the last 5 minutes of the baking time, add your dried fruit. When the granola is browned to your liking, remove from the oven and let the granola cool completely on the tray. Transfer granola to a tightly-sealing container or bag, and store at room temperature. Granola will keep about 2 weeks.

Nutrition Information

Per Serving: Calories: 220; Total Fat: 12 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 0  mg; Sodium: 43 mg; Potassium: 219 mg; Carbohydrate: 25 g; Fiber: 3 g; Sugar: 10 g; Protein: 6 g
Nutrition Bonus:
Calcium: 24 mg; Vitamin C: 1 mg; Iron: 2 mg; Vit A: 25 micrograms

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