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LOADED Banana Bread

(Written for The River Current publication, Thursday, February 7, 2013)

I have been a big fan of Greek yogurt for quite some time now.  Initially, (and still) it is all about the protein.  I have not always taken the time to be a good eater, so my thought is...anytime I can sneak a little protein into my diet, certainly should be a good thing!

Often I will include Greek yogurt in my smoothie recipes and now substitute it for sour cream in most recipes.  According to research, in the past five years Greek yogurt sales nationwide have skyrocketed….probably because of all of the health benefits that it has to offer.  Here’s a snapshot of what this creamy Mediterranean friend has to offer:

Protein. Greek yogurt is high in protein, which helps promote fullness. A typical 6-ounce serving contains 15 to 20 grams, the amount in 2 to 3 ounces of lean meat.  An identical serving of regular yogurt, on the other hand, provides just 9 grams, meaning you may feel hungry sooner.

Carbohydrates. Going Greek is a smart choice for low-carb dieters. It contains roughly half the carbs as regular yogurt—5 to 8 grams per serving compared with 13 to 17. Plus, the straining process removes some of the lactose, making Greek yogurt less likely to upset the lactose-intolerant. Always read the label, opting for a lower sugar brand.

Calcium. Regular yogurt provides 30 percent of the federal government's recommended daily amount. Greek yogurt loses some of its calcium through the straining process, but still packs a wallop. A 6-ounce cup typically supplies about 20 percent of the daily recommendation.   

Fat. Be wary of Greek yogurt's fat content. In just 7 ounces, full-fat Greek yogurt packs 16 grams of saturated fat—or 80 percent of your total daily allowance if you are on a 2,000-calorie diet. (That's more than in three Snickers bars….eek!) Always read nutrition labels carefully, sticking to low-fat and fat-free versions.

I had the pleasure of having my niece Abbey here with me for the weekend.  She is a sophomore at OSU and often likes to come for a weekend away from campus life to relax here in the quietness of the country.  For me, it is also an opportunity to test a couple of recipes while I have a willing participant!  Together we tested this yummy loaded banana bread recipe, which we both agreed was a winner.

6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/3 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
½ cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
½ tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cups organic flour
2 ½ tsp. aluminum free baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained
1/3 cup flaked coconut
¼ cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

(As always....use fresh and organic ingredients, whenever possible.)

1.      Beat butter and sugars in large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add bananas, yogurt and vanilla; beating just till combined.

2.      Sift flour, baking powder and salt into small bowl.  Slowly add flour mixture into banana mixture; stirring just until combined.  Fold in remaining ingredients.

3.      Spoon batter into a lightly greased 9X5 inch loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 1 hour before removing to wire rack.

Nutrition Profile per slice:  Calories: 230, Total Fat: 9g, Protein: 4g, Carbs: 35g, Cholesterol: 45 mg, Fiber: 2g, Sodium: 230 mg.


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