Archive for January, 2009

Some people look at a brown-speckled, overripe, soft banana as having only one place in the kitchen – the trash can.  Others, like myself, look at them as treasure!  I ordered a bunch of bananas earlier this week.  Of course when they arrived they were mostly green with very little yellow coloring.  As each day passed I patiently waited until the bananas cycled through their spectrum of colors.  This morning I awoke to a pleasant surprise.  My bunch of bananas had reached the proper stage for baking one of my favorite things – banana bread!

Brown Bananas


For those of you who don’t know me, I generally like a slightly spotted banana over a yellow or green .  Reason being the more ripe bananas are sweeter.  During the ripening process the carbohydrates in the banana change.   This gives the banana a different flavor.  A baker’s trick when using bananas in baked products is to wait until the bananas are spotted, brown, and very ripe in order to get the most sweet banana flavor possible.


Banana bread can be sinfully good if done right.  Many times I have to prevent myself from slicing a third or fourth piece.  In order to enjoy my guilty pleasure without so much guilt, I have modified a basic banana bread recipe.  Whole wheat flour and wheat germ are used to boost the fiber and add essential vitamins and minerals.  Canola oil and unsweetened applesauce replace the butter to reduce saturated fat, cholesterol and calories.  The raisins or dried cranberries are cut to reduce the sugar.  Walnuts  are used for their omega-3 fatty acids but reduced in quantity to cut calories.  To compensate I toast the walnuts so I get more flavor bang for my buck. 

Recipe Link:  Banana Bread with Whole Wheat Flour



Nutrition Facts for Recipe:

One Recipe Yields 12 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 238.8
  Total Fat 9.5 g
      Saturated Fat 1.1 g
      Polyunsaturated Fat 4.1 g
      Monounsaturated Fat 3.5 g
  Cholesterol 35.4 mg
  Sodium 191.0 mg
  Potassium 226.6 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 36.3 g
      Dietary Fiber 3.6 g
      Sugars 6.5 g
  Protein 5.2 g

The Good:  My banana bread is lower in fat than the original recipe which had 12 grams of fat.  The fat is mostly mono and polyunsaturated which make it heart healthy!  The cholesterol is half that of original recipe (due to subing out the butter).  Sugar content  is a mere 40% of the original recipe since we cut the dried fruit.  There is double the fiber and protein from using whole wheat flour and wheat germ.  As for micronutrients – this recipe packs 45% of your daily value of manganese, an important antioxidant.  It is a good source of selenium, phosphorus and vitamin B 6 while also providing a fair amount of thiamine and folate.  The walnuts provide omega-3 fatty acids.

The Bad:  This recipe is not low fat (but almost!).  It provides 35% calories from fat.  But remember – fat helps satiety and good fats protect your heart.  It could be lower in sodium – 140mg is considered a low sodium food.  The other thing I should mention is that it can be hard to eat just one slice!

The verdict:  This is a healthy recipe that provides a good amount of protein, fiber, and micronutrients while also being lower in sugar than many other quick breads!  Have a slice for breakfast with a glass of milk and you will be happy and full until lunch time rolls around.


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