If there’s one thing that I’ve learned after years of yo-yo dieting, it’s that depriving yourself of the occasional treat always leads back to weight gain. That’s my experience, at least, and maybe yours, too. I’d be very disciplined for a couple of weeks following the latest “low-carb” or “no-sugar” plan, but eventually I’d “cave to the crave” and overindulge in those very treats that I was missing, putting back on even more pounds than I had lost.
Enter, Banana Bread
Who doesn’t love banana bread? After noodling around with a dozen or so banana bread recipes, I came up with a combo of ingredients that are just a little better for you. I mean, it’s still a treat, so you can’t go nuts and eat half a loaf in one sitting, but it’s dense, moist, and filling, with less fat and fewer calories than traditional recipes (under 200 calories per serving).
Being a numbers guy who weighs his food and tracks every calorie and every gram of fat, I can tell you this: Technically I could eat an entire loaf of this banana bread in one day (along with a couple of salads) and still fall below my daily caloric estimates for losing weight (all while providing all of the essential and recommended daily nutrients). I wouldn’t recommend trying this at home…I’m just sayin’!
What makes it “Better“?
It has 1/2 the butter of traditional recipes, so there’s less fat. There’s no oil, so there’s less fat. Milk is substituted for non-fat greek yogurt, which keeps it moist and flavorful but, again, with less fat. There’s more cinnamon, which has been shown to help control blood sugar in Type 2 diabetics. And finally, over-processed bleached white flour is substituted for whole wheat flour, which means better blood glucose control, more fiber, more filling, while making it more nutritionally dense.
Long story short, I make this every other week and it is simply the best banana bread that I’ve ever had. I don’t ever end up binge eating because I know that I’m allowed the occasional treat and this helps me stay on my plan (because there’s never a time I think I can’t have something good). Works for me! Recipe follows after the photo below.
Better For You Banana Bread
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur Whole Wheat)
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons softened butter
- 2 large eggs
- 3 ripe bananas
- ⅓ cup plain low-fat greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Measure out 2 cups of whole wheat flour and place in a large measuring bowl. Don’t pack the flour in the measuring cups, just “fluff in in”.
- Add the baking soda and salt to the flour and give it a mix.
- Put the sugar and softened butter in a separate bowl and mix together with a hand-held electric blender. This is called “creaming” the sugar, I think.
- Add both the eggs to the wet mixture and blend until smooth.
- Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and yogurt to the wet mixture and again blend until smooth.
- Add the bananas to the wet mixture, mushing them up with your fingers as you add them. Blend well.
- Add the flour to the wet mixture and blend until a smooth batter is formed.
- Pour batter into a 8½ x 4½ loaf pan lined with parchment paper (or spray with cooking spray).
- Bake at 350° for 65 minutes.
- Let it cool for at least 10 minutes.