Banana Bars

finished bars

I make these bars for Nick and he thinks they are mega delicious, so I figured I’d share the recipe I threw together from multiple banana bread recipes along with some healthy substitutions.

I throw the following in a bowl (why do that whole “mix the dry then the wet and combine them” thing and get multiple bowls dirty?):

  • 1 1/2T stevia (equivalent to 3/4c sugar)
  • 1c oat flour
  • vanilla or unflavored protein (I use 4 packets of Perfect Fit Protein because that’s what I happen to have right now, but you can use any protein of your choice)
  • 3/4t baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1/2c nuts (about 2oz) – I usually use walnuts
  • 1t vanilla
  • 6T liquid egg whites (about 2 large egg whites)
  • 1/4c no sugar added applesauce
  • 3 medium bananas, mashed
  • 45g unsweetened coconut flakes (about 1/2c) – totally optional

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes in a greased 9×13 dish or baking pan. I use Pam spray for baking. Let it cool before cutting into 12 squares.

Nutrition info for each square is:158.6 calories/6.6g fat/16.9g carbohydrate/8.9g protein/4.5g sugar. (Without the coconut: 131 calories/4g fat/15.9g carbohydrate/8.7g protein/4.4g sugar)

Some notes on my ingredient choices:

stevia

Stevia is a South American herb used as a natural sweetener for centuries. The leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant have a refreshing taste, zero glycemic index, zero calories and zero carbs. It is 25-30 times sweeter than sugar, and far more healthy! (from stevia.com)

oat flour

I make my own oat flour by throwing some whole old fashioned oats into our magic bullet blender and grinding them to a powdery consistency, but you can purchase oat flour in most stores now. Oat flour is gluten free, so these bars don’t rise as much as other baked goods might. Feel free to substitute any other flour, but also keep in mind that other flours may absorb the liquid components of the recipe differently.

coconut walnuts

Almost all of the fats in the recipe come from the walnuts and coconut (if you used it). Walnuts are full of heart healthy monounsaturated fats and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids along with being full of all sorts of good for you stuff. Coconut, on the other hand, is a more controversial ingredient. It has many antioxidants, but is primarily made up of saturated fats which are thought of as “bad” fats. Some recent research suggests that not all saturated fats are equal, and those found in coconut are better than other saturated fats (like butter). Honestly, I’ve just been tossing some into these bars because I had it in the pantry and it tastes delicious.

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