Last week, I found myself with more ripe bananas than you could ever imagine. We typically go through tons of bananas during the week, but for some reason, I must have bought an extra bunch here or there. Well, I kept staring at them until they started turning so ripe that I either had to freeze them, throw them out, or make banana bread.
Since I already had a bunch in the freezer, and I hate throwing food out, I made three loaves of banana bread. I kept half and gave half away to a very happy recipient ;). I found the original recipe for this banana bread in a collection of recipes that was put together as part of a fund raiser for my kids’ school a number of years ago. It doesn’t use a lot of oil and I made it healthier by substituting half the flour with white whole wheat flour and cutting the sugar back from 3/4 cup to 2/3 cup. Ripe bananas are naturally sweet, and since this is a quick bread, it’s not supposed to be overly sweet. Heart healthy pecans and fiber rich dried cranberries add some crunch and sweetness to this breakfast bread or snack.
This week, a group of bloggers is featuring Pecans as a Power Food. This weekly food blogging group features a different Power Food each week based on the book Power Foods: 150 delicious recipes with 38 Healthiest Ingredients from the editors of Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine. Power Foods are foods that are outstanding in the amounts of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, essential fatty acids, fiber and more, that help fight disease and promote good health.
Let’s take a look at what makes Pecans a Power Food. Like most nuts, Pecans contain the good fats – unsaturated fats – which help lower cholesterol, and reduce the overall risk of heart disease. Pecans also contain an amino acid called L-arginine, which may improve the flexibility of artery walls and decrease the risk of arterial blood clots. They are also a good source of fiber and vitamin E.
Just remember that nuts are high in fat, so even though they’re good for you, portion control is important. One ounce of pecans has 193 calories, 20 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 3 grams dietary fiber, and 3 grams protein.
Check out what these other bloggers have cooked up for this week’s Power Foods post: (If you’re interested in joining our group, contact Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits.)
Whole Wheat Banana Pecan Cranberry Quick Bread
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup mashed bananas
- 2/3 cup organic sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease or line 8x4x2" loaf pan.
Whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl, mix together egg, bananas, sugar and olive oil. Add to dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Fold in pecans and cranberries.
Pour into prepared pan and bake 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into loaf comes out clean.
Power Foods: 150 delicious recipes with 38 Healthiest Ingredients
Self Nutrition Data – Pecans