With Home Schooling still happening here in Italy, afternoon tea break is a big part of our day. What could be nicer than a delicious slice of Banana Bread accompanied by a perfect cup of hot Irish tea ?
It certainly feel like I deserve it after all the extra duties our days stuck at home bring. The amount of housework alone has doubled what with everyone being at home all day! I just love a lockdown quote my sister shared from Scotland recently…
“Cleaning with kids in the house, is like brushing you teeth while eating Oreos!”
Anyhow, back to the baking. I was looking for a recipe to use up those over ripe bananas during lockdown. Nothing can go to waste now that we only shop every ten days or so. And those sad brown soft bananas no one was going to eat!
Banana Bread Recipe
This is a Guilt-Free Healthy Banana Bread, using Whole Wheat Flour (or Farina Integrale as we call it here in Italy), Walnuts and three whole Bananas. The Sugar added keeps this Banana bread at 20% sugar content. But you can lower the Sugar content to even lower to 14% sugar (use then only 100g of sugar instead of the 170g). Also using instead non refined sweeteners, such as Honey or Maple syrup, are both easy to incorporate into the batter and add lovely flavour and nutrients.
So Go ahead and try these Guilt-Free Banana Bread Recipe, once you have tried it it will be your go to recipe once you see those bananas turning brown! This is a tried and tested recipe – Kids and adults alike LOVE these stuff!
Also if you are looking for other Afternoon Tea ideas, check out my Irish recipe for Tea Brack, delicious dried fruit soaked in Tea and Whiskey overnight and then incorporated into a simple Cake Batter and baked slowly for an hour.
Yummy Easy Banana Bread
- 43 g Olive oil extra virgin
- 170 g Honey or Maple Syrup or Brown Sugar Can reduce to 100g if prefer less sweet
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large bananas
- 60 ml Milk
- 1 tsp Baking soda / Bicarbonate of Soda Can use Baking Powder but use 2 teaspoons
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon plus more to spinkle on top
- 270 g Whole Wheat Flour
- 80 g Chopped Walnuts, Chocolate Chips, Raisins, Sliced Banana, Pecans, optional
- Preheat oven to 165 degrees Celsius and line a loaf pan with greaseproof or baking paper.
- In a large bowl, beat the oil and honey together with a whisk. Add the eggs and beat well, then whisk in the mashed bananas and milk.
- Add the baking soda, vanilla, salt and cinnamon, and whisk to blend.
- Lastly, switch to a big spoon and stir in the flour, just until combined. Some lumps are ok! If you’re adding any additional mix-ins, gently fold them in now.
- Pour the batter into your loaf pan and sprinkle generously with cinnamon and a tablespoon of brown sugar.
- Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for 5 minutes, then remove fro the tin and place on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.
Sugar V Honey
Ok so why bother swapping Sugar for Honey or Maple Syrup in our recipes its all basically sugar in the end right? Well note quite, even when we are baking with the honey. The proportions of glucose and fructose in honey and sugar are different:
- Sugar is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose
- Honey contains 40 percent fructose and 30 percent glucose
The remainder of honey consists of:
These additional components may be responsible for some of the health benefits of honey.
Sugar is higher on the glycemic index (GI) than honey, meaning it raises blood sugar levels more quickly. This is due to its higher fructose content, and the absence of trace minerals.
Sugar V Maple Syrup
What sets maple syrup apart from refined sugar is its minerals and antioxidants.
Around 1/3 cup (80 ml) of pure maple syrup contains (2):
- Calcium: 7% of the RDI
- Potassium: 6% of the RDI
- Iron: 7% of the RDI
- Zinc: 28% of the RDI
- Manganese: 165% of the RDI
The glycemic index of maple syrup is around 54. In comparison, table sugar has a glycemic index of around 65 (6).
This implies that maple syrup raises blood sugar slower than regular sugar.
Health benefits of bananas
Bananas are one of the best fruit sources of vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 from bananas is easily absorbed by your body and a medium-sized banana can provide about a quarter of your daily vitamin B6 needs.
Vitamin B6 helps your body:
- produce red blood cells,
- metabolise carbohydrates and fats, turning them into energy,
- metabolise amino acids,
- remove unwanted chemicals from your liver and kidneys, and
- maintain a healthy nervous system.
Vitamin B6 is also good for pregnant women as it helps meet their baby’s development needs.
Bananas are good sources of vitamin C
Aa medium-sized banana will provide about 10% of your daily vitamin C needs.
Vitamin C helps:
- protect your body against cell and tissue damage,
- your body absorb iron better,
- your body produce collagen – the protein which holds your skin, bones and body together, and
- support brain health by producing serotonin, a hormone that affects our sleep cycle, moods, and experiences of stress and pain.
Manganese in bananas is good for your skin
One medium-sized banana provides approximately 13% of your daily manganese needs. Manganese helps your body make collagen and protects your skin and other cells against free radical damage.
Potassium in bananas is good for your heart health and blood pressure
A medium-sized banana will provide around 320-400 mg of potassium, which meets about 10% of your daily potassium needs.
Potassium helps your body maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure. In addition, bananas are low in sodium. The low sodium and high potassium combination helps to control high blood pressure.
Bananas can aid digestion and help keep gut Healthy
A medium banana will provide about 10-12% of your daily fibre needs. Soluble and insoluble fibres play an important role in your health. Soluble fibre helps your body control your blood sugar level and get rid of fatty substances such as cholesterol. Fibre helps to keep your gut healthy and safe from harmful bacteria.
Bananas, especially newly-ripened ones, contain starch that does not digest (resistant starch) in your small intestine and is able to pass into the large intestine. Such bananas help you manage your weight better as you stay full for longer.