“With bread, all sorrows are less.”
– translated quote from Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
It’s true; there’s just something about fresh, homemade bread that makes life more pleasant. Wouldn’t you agree?
This Better-For-You Honey Oat Banana Bread will make your life even more pleasant because of the health benefits it offers. It’s a modified version of my main go-to banana bread recipe: The butter and processed sugar have been cut in half, and I added Greek yogurt, honey, and oats.
I don’t need to tell you why decreasing butter and sugar intake is good for you, but in case you don’t know why those other added ingredients are all about, allow me to fill you in. 🙂
Of course, feel free to skip down to the recipe if all this health stuff bores you.
First of all, Greek yogurt can be a good substitute for some of the butter– or even all of it, in some recipes– because it provides plenty of moisture for your baked goods. While plain, nonfat Greek yogurt is the best option health-wise, all Greek yogurt “contains probiotic cultures and is lower in lactose and has twice the protein content of regular yogurts” (WebMD). That extra protein can help with weight loss because it makes you feel full longer. I’ve heard that flavored yogurts aren’t as beneficial because they have added sugar that hinders the probiotics from benefitting you, but I haven’t been able to find any facts to back up that claim. Let me know if you have any credible sources on that matter!
Now, let’s talk about oats for a minute. This recipe contains a little less flour and a healthy dose of oats. Oats have a special kind of fiber (called beta-glucans) that can help stabilize your blood sugar and, just like Cheerios, can help lower your cholesterol. Oats also have a unique kind of antioxidant (avenanthramides), which “help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol”, and lots of manganese, which helps your body in many ways.
And, finally, on to the honey. Even though honey is relatively high in sugar and, therefore, calories, it has some really awesome qualities that are truly good for you.
Before I go any further, though, you need to know that if you want to benefit from all of honey’s awesome qualities, you need to make sure you’re actually buying quality honey. Did you know that more than 75% of the honey sold in stores isn’t exactly the stuff bees make? I recommend checking out this article to read more about that, but if you don’t have time to read it all, just know that your best bet is to buy raw honey from a local farmer. Yes, those cute honey bears on the shelf may cost you less, but, trust me, they benefit your health much, much less. Go for the local, raw honey!
“In addition to its reputation as Nature’s nutritive sweetener, research also indicates that honey’s unique composition makes it useful as an antimicrobial agent and antioxidant” (WHFoods). Upon a little research of my own, it seems to me that the allergy-fighting power of honey hasn’t really been proven by scientific studies. However, many observations and incidents have led many people to believe honey does have a somewhat vaccine-like quality. Since honey contains traces of pollen, consuming it is sort of like gradually vaccinating the body to various allergens that the bees have left in the honey. I mentioned above that local honey is your best option; this is because it contains local pollens. If you care to read more about honey and its powers, WHFoods and Discover Fit & Health have good information.
Now that we’re done with that brief health lesson, go make this Honey Oat Banana Bread, and make yourself a little healthier today!
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c. oats
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 c. (1/2 stick) butter, softened (I use unsalted.)
- 1/4 c. low fat Greek yogurt (I use strawberry banana flavored yogurt.)
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 1/2 c. honey
- 3 ripe, medium bananas
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tbs. milk (any kind)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and prepare a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
- Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
- In a large bowl, stir together the butter, yogurt, sugar, and honey. A rubber spatula works just fine. Set aside.
- Either in a medium bowl or on a large plate, mash the bananas with a fork, and stir in the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I always use a plate. Stir until well combined.
- Mix the banana mixture into the butter and sugar mixture. Then, stir in the dry ingredients, but do not overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Keep bread covered or in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 5 days, or keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week. Recipe yields about twelve large slices.
I love this recipe because it’s moist, fragrant with spices, full of banana flavor, and it doesn’t make me feel as guilty as my regular banana bread recipe!
There are tons of banana bread variations out there, but I just like to keep it simple, ya know?
What’s your favorite variation on banana bread?
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