I used to think that when we started our healthy eating journey that I would have to give up all my favorite foods. Boy was that dumb. Just because you want to eat better doesn’t mean you only eat locusts and wild honey like John the Baptist. It just means you have to tweak your favorite recipes and make them work for you.
I get regular requests for my Banana Bread recipe, so I thought I would use it as an example. My old recipe called for bunches of white sugar and canola oil. It was pretty easy to switch over. Let’s go through a couple options for you and you’ll be changing your old favorites out in no time flat!
In the summer, bananas get ripe very fast. I keep mine in the cool basement, but they still don’t last very long. I’ve tried every trick in the book to keep them nice longer, but it doesn’t always work out. But, I’m cool with it. It means I can make this bread and Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes.
Extremely ripe bananas are quite sweet. You might even consider cutting your sugar amount down a little bit to see if you can tell a difference in the flavor.
I have nightmares about cakes and breads sticking to pans. This is likely due to the approximately one million cakes that have stuck in my past. So, when I make a sweet bread I ALWAYS butter and flour the pan. When I do this, it never sticks. If I get busy and take an easy route, it always sticks. Moral of the story, take the extra 3 minutes to butter and flour your loaf pans.
Okay, let’s get started. My original recipe called for white all-purpose flour. I don’t buy this anymore and usually grind most of my wheat. So, I easily converted it and decided to use Whole Wheat Pastry Flour instead. This is the equivalent of soft white wheat berries. Can I use hard white wheat? Sure! I just like the texture of soft wheat – and keep in mind that you should never use soft white wheat to make a yeast bread. Yeast performs better with hard white wheat berries.
I have not had success using 100% whole wheat flour from the store. It’s too dense. If you’re going to use that, then make sure to cut it with half white flour. A better option would be white wheat flour from King Arthur.
Moving on to the sweetener. I didn’t want to use the white sugar that I used to use…and we don’t even buy it anymore, so I don’t have any around to use. I used sucanat instead. However, that’s just one sweetener that you can use. Your other options are: coconut sugar, brown sugar, or turbinado sugar.
Use what you have worked up to on your health food journey. If you’ve only converted to using white wheat flour, then don’t sweat it if you use white sugar in this recipe. One step at a time…think about your good changes at using wheat. You can convert to better sweeteners when you’re ready.
I don’t like using liquid sweeteners (honey or maple syrup) in this recipe because it seems to mess with the texture. I much prefer using a granulated sugar.
My last needed conversion for the recipe was a switch from canola oil. While most doctors will tell you canola oil is great for you, I’ve learned through reading that most canola oil on the shelf is already rancid…we just don’t know it because we’re used to it.
At this point in our journey, we use coconut oil and butter. Either of those will work for this recipe – melted butter or melted coconut oil. I use melted butter as a general rule.
Everything else in this recipe was just fine: eggs, nuts, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, and salt. Those are pretty safe.
Mix them all up per your recipe instructions and bake away! You’ve just converted your old recipe to a better substitute…and you’ll likely not be able to tell the difference. You’re a genius – and now you can create your own cookbook.
Stacy’s Banana Bread
¾ cup sweetener (sucanat, coconut sugar, turbindao sugar, palm sugar, or brown sugar)
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
¾ cup melted butter (or coconut oil)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (white wheat flour or half whole wheat and half white all-purpose)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped nuts, if desired
Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 9 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine bananas, sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Stir well. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir only until combined. Fold in nuts, if desired.
Pour into prepared pan. Bake 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely on a wire rack.