You may not know this about me, but I wasn’t always a Family Nutritionist. In my former life, I had a career in marketing. I worked at, and with, advertising agencies and in the creative space for over 10 years, but honestly I wasn’t great at the creative stuff (I can say that now!). That’s why I worked on the account side, building relationships (fun!) and putting out fires (not so fun).
It wasn’t until I hung up my corporate marketing shoes…
Became a desperate mom of a picky eater…
And a Certified Nutritionist…
That those creative juices started to flow. Today you can put me in any kitchen or at any dining table, and a flurry of ideas come over me. Heck, I’m a creative genius! (haha, not really)
Working with parents who want to shake things at home, and health-ify their families, means I get to come up with ideas all day long. And usually, parents want to see their kids eating more veggies. Yet, it’s not uncommon that those parents also need help getting more veggies into themselves!
Yes, there are picky parents too.
And picky parents tend to have fussier kids (says the research).
Shhhh…Don’t tell anyone, but when I work with families I often try to help both the BIG and LITTLE ones eat better. And more importantly, keeping it simple and tasty through the process. Because when the big ones (parents) eat well, children eat well too…eventually if all the other pieces are in place.
I talk about those critical pieces in my free webinar on how to raise healthy children here.
So every recipe you see on my site is the product of a former desperate mom, who just wanted her family to get more out of every bite.
Virtually every recipe is packed with nutrition and usually a secret (and surprising) ingredient.
Why stop now? Let’s amp up your breakfast or snack with a new and improved granola recipe. We are saying goodbye to standard oat-based granola that’s LOADED with sugars and grains, to one that is a tad sweetened with no grains, and lots of healthy fats.
And the secret ingredient is a VEGGIE.
Yes, I’m making you eat veggies for breakfast with this veggie-packed granola.
That secret veggie is….ZUCCHINI baby!
My kids like a lot of veggies but zucchini isn’t one of them. Fair enough kids! It’s mushy when cooked, has a bitter undertone when raw, and doesn’t add much value to most dishes. It’s not my favourite veggie either.
Yes when we dry is out (either in the oven or a dehydrator) zucchini deserves some love. And what do you know, it has some health benefits too!
Zucchini is a rock-star veggie!
According to Food Revolution:
- Zucchini is high in water. It also contains significant amounts of fiber, electrolytes, and other nutrients that are necessary for a healthy digestive system.
- Zucchini is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, which help rid the body of free radicals and excess inflammation
- Zucchini contains zeaxanthin and lutein which are especially useful in maintaining and improving eye health by fighting free radicals.
- Zucchini is a rich source of B-vitamins, especially folate, riboflavin, and B6, which can help boost energy production in the body.
- Zucchini is low in calories and high in water and fiber, which fills you up. Hence it’s a great food for those wishing to reduce their body weight.
And the list goes on…
Ready to see that veggie granola recipe?
For all the reasons listed further up (bitter taste, mushy, not liked by my kids), I was on a mission to find something more interesting to do with my bag of zucchini from Costco. That’s when I stumbled on this recipe from WholeFedHomeStead and was instantly inspired.
I made a few tweaks to the recipe as described below, but try out hers as well!
Zucchini Grain-Free Paleo Granola
- 2 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 cups mixed nuts and/or seeds I use sunflower seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds
- 2 cups dehydrated zucchini chopped up
Dehydrate zucchini in dehydrator. Note: I've not made dehydrated zucchini in the oven but it can be done.
Preheat oven to 300° F and lightly grease pan.
Mix honey, oil, salt, and cinnamon first. Then add nuts, seeds, and dehydrated zucchini.
Pour granola onto the pan in a single layer.
Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove once the granola starts to brown (will vary depending on oven types).
I haven’t personally used the oven to dehydrate my zucchini but here’s how it’s done.
- Preheat your oven to the lowest setting (typically 150 degrees F, but go lower if it’s an option).
- Prepare your zucchini (wash and shred with a mandoline).
- Arrange in a single layer on a cookie or baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
- Place them in an oven set and prop the door open about an inch. Check the temperature with an oven thermometer.
- Dry for four to six hours until the slices are crisp-dry.