The Ultimate Big Batch Banana Bread:
Bananas are routinely on my grocery list – between using in smoothies, eating with almond butter and a latte for breakfast, or just plain, we go through bunches each week! However, I am particular about bananas – they need to be perfectly yellow. Too green and the bananas taste chalky and starchy. With brown spots, I find the banana taste is too strong. When they get overly ripe, I toss them in my freezer for future baking – usually some kind of muffin or loaf. When I was growing up, my mom made us banana loaf. It was moist and had warm-tasting spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, reminiscent of apple or pumpkin pie. Her recipe has become a staple in our house, employed as a way to use up a freezer basket of bananas. I love this recipe because of its taste and versatility. Here are 3 ways my family likes to enjoy this banana loaf:
- As part of my children’s lunch meal.
When I pack lunch boxes, I use this formula or checklist:
- Protein-containing entrée – this could include leftover pizza, wraps with ham, cheese and lettuce, pasta salad or chili in a thermos with a bun. Including a source of protein is important to help kids have sustained energy for an afternoon of learning, as well as for building and repairing their growing bodies.
- Fruit – either a fruit sauce or cut up pieces of apple, oranges, berries or melon.
- Vegetable – red bell pepper strips, baby carrots, cucumber slices or snap peas.
- “Treat”- this could be a crispy rice square, a few mini muffins or a slice of this banana bread.
- As an after-school snack
Serve with a dish of yogurt or a tall glass of cold milk, this is a tasty snack to tie over their hunger until supper is ready.Snacks are important for kids’ growth and development. A Canadian study of children aged 4 to 18 years found that after-school snacks make up 13% of kids’ total daily energy intake (researchers considered this amount to make an important contribution to diet) (1). The kinds of foods that contributed the most to kids’ snacks were cookies, sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets (foods considered to be high in calories but poor in nutrients). The study also found that fruits and milk were often eaten as snacks. The after school snack is an opportunity to offer kids nutritious snacks to fuel their growth.
- As a dessert
My mother-in-law has taken slices of mango banana bread, fried them in a pat of butter until slightly browned and then served the bread with 100% real Canadian maple syrup, topped with a dollop of real whipped cream, with a side of fruit salad. This is a decadent way to enjoy this banana bread.
I love my mom’s recipe. Having made it a number of times, I have adapted and health-ified this recipe in several ways with outstanding results.
- I have replaced some of the butter with Greek yogurt.
- I reduced the sugar by a cup!
- I replaced part of the all-purpose flour with whole grain whole wheat flour.
This recipe freezes really well. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as our family does!
Reference: Gilbert J, Miller D, Olson S, St-Pierre S. After-school snack intake among Canadian children and adolescents. Can J Public Health 2012; 103(6): e448-e452.
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Written by a Registered Dietitian.