I’m starting to realize that a healthy diet has less to do with eating low-calorie or low-fat foods and more to do with making decisions. If you don’t believe it, just take a look at the ratio between overweight people and the so-called “healthy” foods on the supermarket shelves! There are still plenty of both and numbers are constantly rising! (I’m also a believer that processed food, chemical-laden products and sugar alternatives like saccharin and aspartame disguised as “healthy” options are the the ultimate devil — but that discussion is for another time).
I think the road to wellness is all about making choices that you can live with and stand by your decision. Because really, if you’re going to spend the entire day regretting what you just ate, you’re probably better off not eating it at all in the first place. The stress from that regret often triggers you to eat more and more and more – and starts the vicious cycle. I know this because I do this all the time!
Today, I decided to eat a banana bread. I decided. I know that a piece of banana bread would cost me a hefty chunk of Weight Watcher points and I won’t have any points left over for a glass of wine I was thinking about having for dinner, but I decided to go for it and I wasn’t going to whine about it afterward.
All the banana bread recipes I searched for had loads of butter and granulated sugar. Here’s a little something about me – butter and granulated sugar scare me. As an aspiring home baker, I know that these are two ingredients I just cannot cut my ties with, but that doesn’t change the fact that they scare the life out of me. I know they taste wonderful and they make any food 10 times better, but the idea of consuming them and having them clog my arteries (and ultimately my butt) terrifies me.
I know this was a risk as one should never mess with the baking recipe but I decided to take a chance and substitute sugar with agave nectar and butter with canola oil for more fluffy, healthy version to the recipe I found online. And the result? A surprisingly moist and delicious version of the old classic, with beautiful accents on spicy ground cinnamon aroma and the sweet ripe bananas! Agave Nectar is a master in creating a lovely harmony among all the ingredients! I guess it pays off to be adventurous sometimes!
Banana Bread with Agave Nectar
I got the basic idea from Joy of Baking but altered significantly from the original recipe.
Ingredients (8 servings):
1-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup agave nectar (I used Madhava Raw Pure Organic Agave Nectar, from Whole Foods)
1 teaspoon baking power
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup canola oil
3 ripe bananas, mashed (I like to leave little chunks in for texture)
1 teaspoon vanilla
① Preheat the oven to 350 degree (F).
② Grease the 9x5x3 loaf pan with canola oil and place parchment paper inside.
③ Sift flour, salt, baking soda and baking power in a bowl and put aside.
④ In a separate bowl, mash bananas. Add vanilla, ground cinnamon, agave nectar, canola oil and eggs and mix them together.
⑤ Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. The important thing to keep in mind here is not to over-mix as it will result in tough bread (so all you KitchenAid lovers, put those stand mixers away and grab a spatula). Fold the wet ingredients gently into dry just until they mix evenly. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan.
⑥ Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes (in the middle rack), or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
⑦ Remove the loaf from the pan and let it rest on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature or cooled. I personally LOVE it served slightly warm!
Be aware that this is not a low-fat or low-calorie version as there are still oil in it but it’s a little healthy version than the original. I would like to think of it as a “less scary” version of banana bread 🙂
Calories per serving: 238
Weight Watcher Points: 5