Monday, February 16, 2015

Banana Bread Two Ways

Just over a year ago, I shared the beginning of my Trim Healthy Mama journey with you here: Muffin in a Mug

Mindy jumped on board with me, and since then we've both shared a few THM recipes here at the cafe. Mindy has epitomized the TRIM part of THM with the healthy weight she has lost, but today it's time to give an update on my own THM journey.

In my post last January, I talked about how I've been dissatisfied with other diet plans because I wanted to concentrate on HEALTHY - if TRIM happened, that would be fine. But at this point in my life (the other side of that famous "hill" we're supposed to dread being "over"), health matters.

So, the update? I have not lost vast amounts of weight, quickly or otherwise. I do weigh less than I did, but not a lot.

But I can talk forever about the health benefits I'm enjoying! I won't list them all here, but we've all heard about (or experienced) the downsides of an aging body. What I'm thrilled about is that I've been saying goodbye to most of those achy, energy-zapping, discouraging downsides. And my doctor is happy, too :)

I could say it's all because of THM, but really, it's because THM helped me educate myself about the nutrition I need to regain the health I had lost and to keep myself healthy.

There's the update! Perhaps someday I'll put "Trim" back in my eating plan, but I'm happy with "Healthy" for now!

So to celebrate, I'm sharing two banana bread recipes with you. The first one is our family's tried and true favorite, and the second is a low-fat, no added sugar THM banana bread. You could try making both and see which one you like best!

This recipe is from the Better Homes and Garden cookbook I received as a wedding shower gift back in the dark ages...okay, only thirty-three years ago :) It's my family's favorite, hands down. I've changed it a bit, but that's what happens over the course of thirty-plus years, isn't it?

Banana Nut Bread


2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons milk
1 cup mashed, ripe bananas (about 2 medium)

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup chopped nuts

In a mixing bowl, cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer. Add the eggs and milk, and beat until smooth. Add the bananas and mix until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Mix on low speed until all the ingredients are wet, and then on high speed for about 30 seconds. Fold in the chopped nuts.

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350° for about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and let cool completely (if you can keep away from it that long!)

That recipe is delicious, and tastes just like banana bread should taste - sweet with a hint of banana.

This next recipe is a Trim Healthy Mama E recipe - which means that it is not only low fat and has a reasonable amount of complex carbohydrates, but it also has no added sugar and no white flour.

It's also a gluten-free recipe, if you're looking for that.

But - don't expect this banana bread to taste like the earlier recipe. That's the thing about using different ingredients. Yes, I call this banana bread, but it's different. Like grilled chicken breast is different from the rotisserie chicken you pick up at the grocery store - they're the same, but different, and both are good!

Oat Flour Banana Bread
original recipe by Fay Cadwallader


3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1/4 cup 0% fat plain Greek yogurt
3 egg whites (1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups oat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mash the bananas, then mix the wet ingredients together in an electric mixer. Add the dry ingredients, mix on low until combined, and then on high for 30 second.

Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

A couple things to notice about these two recipes - 

The first one has no salt added. That isn't a typo! If I use unsalted butter, though, I throw in a pinch of salt.

The second one has no added sweetener. That isn't a typo, either! The applesauce and bananas are sweet enough for this bread.

Oat Flour -

I bought a bag of oat flour at E&S Sales the last time we were in Shipshewana, Indiana, but you don't need to buy it. Just whirl rolled oats in your blender until they turn into fine powder. Oat flour!

Oat flour is so different from wheat flour when you use it for baking. It's much heavier than wheat flour, so your baked goods come out much denser. Chewier. And if you take your loaf out of the oven too soon, the center is the consistency of oatmeal. (Ask me how I know!)

The final word - 

I like both of these recipes, but because I'm eating fewer carbs and less sugar with Trim Healthy Mama, I make the oat flour recipe for me and the Better Homes and Garden recipe for family and friends.

Are you brave enough to try both? Let me know what you think!

And if you're interested in more information about Trim Healthy Mama, you can visit their website.


  1. OOOO! My kids were just asking for banana bread. I volunteer to make the Better Homes and Gardens recipe. :) YUM. With real butter on top a piping hot slice!
    As for the THM recipe, I love the recipe author's last name.
    I just want to say it again and again. Or maybe name a character after her.

    1. I love that last name, too! It just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? And the character needs to be complex, but simple. Like a cowboy who has spent many years on the trail.

      We're such word geeks, aren't we? :)

      And yes - butter melting on a hot, sweet, fragrant slice of banana bread.... Your children are going to love you for it!

  2. Yum. It's really not about weight loss as it is about discovering a healthier way to live. Giving up preservatives and gluten has made me feel better even though, like you, the pounds are not melting off.

    As far as oat flour, just a caution. Oats are not necessarily gluten free, even gluten free labelled oats are not good for celiacs.

    But oats in general are SO much better for you! It really is a win win win recipe.

    Stay warm!

    1. So to clarify, if you aren't celiac, but only gluten sensitive, is oat flour a good alternative to wheat?

      In any case, THM isn't necessarily a gluten free eating plan, although some people do eat that way. The plan avoids white wheat flour because of the higher carbs. Whole wheat can be used in certain ways, especially if the wheat is sprouted before it is made into flour.

      But enough about flour! I hear the eastern half of the country is experiencing a little bit of snow. How are you holding up?

    2. Ours will start as snow but turn into enough ice to take down power lines. I am running out to do some last minute errands and then it is back inside where it's toasty.

      I am actually gluten sensitive not celiac according to my latest tests. I still can't handle regular oats. But bottom line, anything is better than white flour!

  3. Good morning, Jan. How did you know I've had banana bread on my radar? ;)

    I have a favorite recipe based on a cookbook a friend published about 30 years ago (Wow, time really does fly!) My younger self loved it, but my older self finds it too sweet.

    We have a great bakery here so I usually just pick up muffins for hubby and me now that we're empty nesters. If I baked the loaf, I'd end up eating it and well, enough said.

    As for the healthy eating, I think the improved way we feel makes the healthier way of eating just taste better too. I find myself craving those foods that make me feel good.

    I think nutrition is really interesting because different foods help different people. I know when I cut out the carbs and focus on greens, the weight literally falls off.

    Years ago I did a weekly blog post at Healthy Writer. I'm thinking of reviving that on my own blog just because I liked finding healthy new things to eat and trying different recipes.

    1. I remember when you were on Healthy Writer! There was a lot of good stuff over there!

      And I agree about food tasting better. That's why I love cooking with great ingredients. There's nothing that tastes as good as warm homemade banana bread with butter melting into it, like Virginia described above! The flavors are so satisfying :)

      And I don't make New Year's resolutions, but one of my goals for this year is to add more greens into my diet. I buy a kale/spinach/chard mix from Sam's Club, and try to put a couple handfuls into a meal at least once a day. I'm acquiring a taste for them in my smoothies...maybe :)

  4. Oh oh -- I made banana bread this weekend too...but with a healthy dose of chocolate chips added. Shhhh, don't tell those healthy mamas. And I used spelt flour for most everything because my daughter is wheat sensitive. My way to trim the calories is to make two smaller loaves and give one away -- usually to my girlie. :-) So can I be considered a half healthy mama?

    1. LOL, Kav! My daughter loves banana bread with chocolate chips, too!

      And lest you be misled, Trim Healthy Mamas love their chocolate :) I wouldn't touch an eating plan that didn't include chocolate! It's one of the six food groups, isn't it?

  5. I'm still laughing about the oatmeal in the center!! I think that's a good science experiment for Ruthy to do with the kids. :)

    Thanks for sharing, Jan! I've really enjoyed your muffin in a mug recipe!

    1. Thanks, Missy!

      And, you know, oatmeal in the center of the banana bread isn't as delicious as it sounds :-/

  6. Jan, I can't wait to try this trimmed down version. Woot-woot!

    Way to go on the trimmer, healthier you! And thank you for sharing it with me. Yeah, I was skeptical at first, but it really works. Who knew one could really live without sugar? Certainly not me. ;)

  7. Oh I'm late to this party! No school here but that doesn't mean my house isn't full of sweet children! It must have been banana week because little Elijah called me last Friday to see if I'd make him banana bread.
    Me: "Is that the only reason for this call?"
    'Lijah: "Mm hmm."
    Me: "Because you want Grammy to bake for you?"
    'Lijah: "Mm hmm."

    How do you say no to that???? :) Jan, I agree with this WHOLE POST. I will never be skinny. I don't even care about being skinny, but on this side of the great divide, I don't want to let weight and lack of energy take control. So I applaud you and join you in this quest! Being sensible (not crazy) Eating sensibly (not denying everything) and some form of regular exercise which for me is running and dancing in place while pretending I'm punching ISIS.

    Whatever it takes. :)

    And oatmeal in the center????? LAUGHING!!!! The only oatmeal in the center should be that amazing oatmeal cake I shared a few weeks back. OH MY STARS, now that's oatmeal with a purpose!!! :)

  8. Just dropping in Jan to say that I love and adore banana bread. It is one of my all time favorites. My love of it hails back to my Caribbean grandmother and my beloved Aunt Jo who used to make it all the time for us. They were born on the island of Monserrat in the Caribbean, then they moved to Boston. I haven't made it myself in a very long time. Your recipe looks great. And I always have a few ripe bananas sitting around.