Banana Bread – the horrendously healthy way :D

09Jul10

Diabetic-friendly banana bread with walnuts

What you see in this photograph is a diabetes-friendly banana bread.

Technically speaking, no one in my family has diabetes . . . yet.  But as my parents age, the danger is always there.  My father’s doctor has already warned him that he is at risk for Type II diabetes. So he has to watch what he eats.

Diabetes, for those of you who don’t know, is a disease marked by an inability of the body to handle sugar (aka, glucose).  Having too much glucose in the blood may result in symptoms such as: Blurry vision, excessive thirst, fatigue, frequent urination, hunger, and weight loss.  In more extreme cases, people with diabetes can go blind, have poor circulation (and therefore have slower recovery from injuries), and even die.

People are usually born either with or without Type I diabetes.  Easily treatable, it is also quickly identifiable in children and usually caught and treated with few issues.  On the other hand, Type II diabetes often manifests itself later, in the overweight and/or elderly members of the population.  This type of diabetes can be prevented, or, at least, symptoms of the disease lessened, with proper care and attention.

Such care includes:

  • insulin treatments
  • exercise
  • careful and consistent testing of glucose levels
  • maintaining steady and healthy eating habits that are low on refined sugars, fats, and cholesterol

Because my father is now “at-risk” for developing diabetes (meaning he’s fine but in the danger zone), what my family’s kitchen is stocked has changed somewhat to accommodate.  Honestly, though, my mom pretty much cooks the same stuff she’s always cooked (we eat pretty healthy in my family, I think– we eat salmon several times a week and broccoli almost every day, not to mention many varieties of Asian vegetables . . . yum, we love our veggies!).

But we also love our fruits, and after doing some more research, I realized that I needed to take steps to help improve my father’s health (and my family’s health overall).  In other words, we had to watch what we were buying, and I had to stop baking so much.  At least, I had to be smarter about what I made for my parents to eat.

So first things first.  In my zealousness, I drew a list of good/bad fruits my dad could eat.  Aside from its usefulness, I really relished the chance to bust out some coloring pencils again.  I miss art! Anyway, see below for the chart.  It’s currently hanging on my parents’ fridge.

Diabetic Food Chart - Good and Bad FruitsI swear, I am not in Kindergarten.  Seriously.

[disclaimer: PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM NOT A DOCTOR– Rather, I am in training to become a lawyer (though why that would be any more reassuring I don’t know), so please, if you think you may have diabetes, go consult your physician.  Do not rely on what I tell you here to cure or treat your diabetes.]

In any case, wanting to find a recipe to use some of the bananas in the house (see: banana = on the bad side of the happy fruit chart), I decided to find a recipe for banana bread that would be tasty and healthy.

See below:

The Horrendously Healthy Banana BreadDiabetic-friendly banana bread with walnuts (sprig of mint garnish)

(adapted from Diabetic Gourmet Magazine)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup toasted wheat germ (I bought untoasted and toasted it on my stovetop in a frying pan for ~5 minutes at a medium heat until a beautiful aroma appeared)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs (I used two, and it wasn’t moist enough– the recipe originally called for 1/2 cup egg substitute, which I decline to use.  If you want to reduce some cholesterol, remove one or two egg yolks)
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 sticks room temperature butter (the original recipe called for margarine… contrary to popular belief, margarine is far worse for you than good quality butter ever could be)
  • 1-1/2 cup mashed banans (approximately 3 large, ripe bananas)
  • 6 oz. can of frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Directions:

  1. Grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan (I used a 4″x8″ loaf pan and made four little muffinettes to go with it) and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together the flour, wheat germ, baking soda, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt (basically all your dry ingredients).
  3. Cut in the butter (or use a pastry blender) into the dry mix until it looks like coarse crumbs.
  4. Fold in the bananas, undiluted apple juice concentrate, egg, walnuts, and vanilla extract (your wet ingredients) until the flour is just moistened.  Don’t over mix, otherwise you’ll get something tough and unpleasant to eat.
  5. Spoon the batter into the greased pan(s).
  6. Bake for 60 minutes (or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean).  If you are baking muffin-sized banana bread, check it after 40 minutes.
  7. Cool the bread in the pan, dust with confectioner’s sugar.
  8. Serve.

Diabetic-friendly banana bread loaf and muffinettes Makes one 9″x5″ loaf or one 4″x8″ loaf + 4 mini-muffinettes.

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