My favorite summer lunch is one of the simplest: Just a bowl of fresh berries or cut-up peaches, plums and nectarines from the farmers market, topped with Greek yogurt and a handful of crunchy granola.
Oh, I know granola gets knocked at times for its high calories. But like anything, when eaten in moderation, it will nourish, satisfy and still leave you trim enough to squeeze into that skimpy swimming suit.
The makers of Love Grown Foods know all about that. Started by two University of Denver graduates, one a avid cyclist and the other a certified pilates instructor, the company set out to make nutritious, good-tasting “Oat Clusters & Love” perfect for active lifestyles.
The granola-like mixes are sweetened with agave nectar and honey. They are gluten-free, and contain no preservatives or artificial flavors. Each 1/4 cup serving has 120 to 130 calories, depending upon the variety.
Recently, I had a chance to try samples of the products, which are available on the company’s Web site for $4.99 per 12-ounce bag.
The granola comes in five flavors: Apple Walnut Delight (with apple, walnuts, sunflower seeds and cinnamon), Cocoa Goodness (with 63% chocolate and cocoa powder), Raisin Almond Crunch (with coconut and]milled flaxseed), Sweet Cranberry Pecan, and Simply Oats.
Each bag contains such a range of textures — from the soft, stickiness of the fruit to the crunch of the nuts, seeds and oats. What I especially liked was how there were some nice big clusters of oats intermixed with other more separated grains that you just wanted to pick out to eat with your fingers.
None were overly sweet at all. In fact, my favorite might have been the simplest: Simply Oats. With honey, agave and a nice touch of sea salt, it had a perfect balance.
Love Grown Foods might just have you at love from the first bite.
Winner of the Previous Contest: In last week’s Food Gal contest, I asked you to tell me about a time when you felt mighty — either physically, mentally or emotionally. The best answer will receive samples of new Mighty Leaf iced tea bags, along with a Bodum Iced Tea Pitcher.
Laura L., who wrote, “I sat in front of my computer for a long time trying to think of the last time I felt mighty. This year has been pretty hard on me, since I have been going through a tough rehab (including back surgery) following an injury. I needed to stay in bed for days to heal, which was very hard since I am usually constantly in motion. The first day out of bed, every movement seemed mighty, because it was such a blessing to be able to be physically active. It is unfortunate that it took an injury to make me notice and appreciate my health, but I am grateful for the lesson.”
More Cereals to Try: Me & Goji Custom Cereal