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Banana granola – the sugar-free seduction

Can banana granola be sinful?

I just came from the lala-dreamland “Fasnetsküchle” and “Krapfen” (a sort of German doughnuts – also see previous post) and BANG there it is – the normal course of life with it’s daily routines is back! On top of that I got myself into a “40 days of no sugar” challenge. That’s quite a sacrifice for a sweet tooth like me – sigh…

It isn’t the first time in my life – as a teenager I had to do without sugar for 3 month – very strict and no exceptions. Thinking back it is remembered as a quite hard effort to stick with it. Another memory of that time is that after that period all the sweets and soft drinks tasted almost disgustingly sweet and sticky.

I stopped drinking soft drinks a while ago (with an occasional “Spezi” – a mix of coke and orange lemonade in equal parts). However, the plan is to significantly reduce my sugar dose in my diet. Not only for the time of Lent until the easter holiday but in general. I am convinced that sugar is addictive – once you start, the longing grows. An entire bar of chocolate? Not an issue for me. Also all that gummi bear stuff – it just seems to vanish in the bag until it’s half empty (must be magic)!

 

The question here is: what is worse; the unhealthy refined white sugar (also all other kinds of sugar if you exaggerate it) OR the feeling of not being able to stop / quit eating that sweet stuff? “Ok, just these ice cream treats and I won’t eat a bar of chocolate instead tomorrow…” That’s not how it works (not for me at least). Also since I am cheating myself that way, remorse arises which of course is accompanied by a BAD MOOD!

That needs to change – I don’t want to annoy myself! No worries, I never want to become totally abstinent BUT being able to intentionally indulge without being driven by pure greed… that would be nice!

 

Dos and don’ts – what is permitted, what isn’t?

We – the girls and myself – who participate in the challenge have decided that fruits are fine – no exceptions.Even dried fruits are ok. No white or brown sugar, no honey, no maple sirup, no agave sirup etc. and artificial sugar supplements are forbidden. Whoever has tried a similar challenge will know that it is almost impossible to identify all the sugar sources and let them go. This isn’t meant as a dogmatic try, however, I do know that bread (including full grain whole wheat bread), meat products, even tea bags, etc. contain sugar. Hence I cannot completely go through with it and of course there are exceptions when invited ;-).

 

Not to loose focus: this post is about a really yummy banana granola!

The smell of warm banana granola is lingering through our apartment from the oven. The children are drawn into the kitchen and start picking the granola directly from the baking tray still warm from the oven. I had to watch out to put some of it aside to put in a jar for the rest of the week.

Bananen Granola

The sweetess of the granola is coming from 2 bananas and 4 dried dates. No extra sugar, no maple sirup which I love to use in my other granola mixtures. I wouldn’t say I miss it at all in this recipe. The bananas are mashed and baked with te rest of it. That way the fresh bananas can infuse their flavour and sweetness in the rest of the ingredients and also get the chance to dry up. Once it is completely cooled down just fill it in jars and it’s ready to keep and store (unless the little ones sneak to the supplies and just snack them away)!

Bananen-Granola mit Joghurt

Baked banana granola

  • 250 g oat flakes (not too tender)
  • 100 g almonds
  • 100 g cashew nuts
  • 4 dates
  • 2 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 bananas

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

roughly chop the cashew nuts and the almonds and finely dice the dates. Whoever has a food processor handy can let it do the work… Almonds, cashew nuts, dates, chia seeds, cinnamon and the content of the vanilla bean (cut alongside and scrape it out with a spoon). Mash the banana with a fork and mix it with the coconut oil.

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and thoroughly knead it through in order to get a clumpy mixture. Spread on a baking tray covered with a baking sheet  and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to carefully rotate after no later than 10 minutes.

Let it cool completely until you pack it airtight.

I enjoy it with plain yoghurt (whoever likes it vegan can also use homemade coconut yoghurt) and a couple of berries – so, so yummy! And it actually satisfies my craving for sweets – there is no need for more!

 

Wisdom or self-deception?

Since I really like my banana granola I asked myself: am I cheating myself? Did I create a healthy candy which contains a lot of sugar from the fruit? Is it wise to just create some treats that are way healthier than the mainstream chocolate bar? The goal is to have a pleasant and tasty change in diet and definitely not to completely renounce to the common sweets…

 

Advantages of dates as a sugar alternative

  • Dates contain important minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphor and calcium.
  • The high amount of Pantothen-acid (vitamin B5) stimulates the energy-metabolism in the somatic cells.
  • Dates stimulate the digestive system.
  • Dates are generally suitable for diabetics. Not more than 3 dates per day if you are a diabetic (when in doubt consult someone).
  • The energy-density for dates is at 282 calories per 100g; sugar already has 387 calories pr 100g…

What do you think? Do you think dates (or dried fruits in general) are a good alternative to sugar? Just leave a comment – I am really curious!

Bananen-Granola in Hand Bananen-Granola to go

 

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