Lately, I’ve really been struggling to find the balance between what is healthy for me and what is “Weight Watchers healthy”. For those unfamiliar with the program, Weight Watchers members are assigned a daily points value based on their height, weight, gender, age and a few other factors. Each food item also has a points value that is calculated based on the number of calories and grams of saturated fat, sugar and protein. In short, the goal is to track the number of points you eat a day while hitting your personal daily points target.
So what do I mean by “Weight Watchers healthy”? For example, on the program one tablespoon of Kerrygold butter is 5 points (that’s pretty high). On the other hand, you can have virtually as much I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter butter-like spray as you want for 0 points (that’s ideal!). But this “butter-like” spray is loaded with chemicals and additives that are foreign to our bodies, so it is extremely difficult for us to digest them. Kerrygold butter not only comes from grass-fed cows, but because it is closer to it’s natural state our bodies are more familiar with it.
When you remove the fat from foods that naturally contain fat, it actually becomes harder for your body to digest. A general rule-of-thumb when scouting out healthy items is the fewer ingredients on the label, the better. That being said, these foods aren’t exactly Weight Watchers-friendly. If I want to sauté some onion in one measly tablespoon of butter, I have to sacrifice some protein to make it feasible for the plan.
You could say, “Kels, you could cut out dairy altogether! Then you wouldn’t have to worry about the butter debacle!” But let’s be real- I’m not going to do that. And if I’m going to eat it, it’s going to be the real stuff that my body recognizes and can process. It’s all about balance, anyway, right?
This brings me to the reason you clicked this link- the banana bread. Banana bread summons up such feelings of warmth and comfort; many of us grew up eating it homemade by mom. These loaves are probably a little different from the one I’m sharing with you today, though, because there is no processed sugar here! This recipe from Cookie and Kate uses honey to naturally sweeten the bread while providing trace nutrients that granulated sugar does not.
On WW, one tablespoon of honey is four points, while one tablespoon of white granulated sugar is only three points. According to the plan, sugar is better for us than honey. But sugar doesn’t have the vitamins and antibacterial properties that honey naturally contains. While the plan does work if you follow it, I’m going to decide what’s “healthy”; I’m going to stick to what’s going to nourish my body, not what’s going to make me lose weight. (Can I have both? Coming to a future post.)
Alright, enough talking: this banana bread is delicious, nutritious, easy to make and your friends will never be able to tell it’s actually healthy (I sure couldn’t; my best friend made this for a post-night out treat and I immediately knew I needed the recipe. Additional note: may cure hangovers).
- 1/3 cup refined coconut oil, melted (may sub olive oil or vegetable oil)
- 1/2 cup honey (may sub maple syrup)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup ripe banana, mashed (about 2 large bananas)
- 1/4 cup milk (may sub dairy-free milk or water)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (may sub all-purpose or regular whole wheat flour)
- Optional: chocolate chips, nuts or dried fruit of choice to fold-in
- Preheat oven to 325 F and grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, use a whisk to beat together coconut oil and honey. Beat in eggs. Add mashed banana and milk and whisk until combined. Add baking soda, vanilla, salt and cinnamon and combine.
- Ditch the whisk and use a wooden spoon to fold in the flour until just combined. If you’re adding chocolate chips or nuts, now’s the time to fold them in, too.
- Pour your batter into the greased loaf pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (I added chocolate chips and it took closer to 65 minutes to fully bake). Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes before slicing- if you can bear it!