February is American Heart Month and to celebrate this month all my recipe releases will be heart healthy to help you out with heart disease prevention! To start off I created this heart healthy and gluten free Banana Almond Bread. It is low in unhealthy saturated fats and free of refined grains. I used oats instead of white processed flour in this recipe. The oats provide a good dose of soluble fiber and nutrients. This bread is simple to make and a great banana bread recipe to use when you have an abundance of ripe bananas!
Nuts can be a part of a healthy diet. They provide a good dose of vitamins and minerals and are high in the healthy fats (mono and polyunsaturated fats). These fats have been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. Nuts are high in calories due to their high fat content but can and should be a part of a healthy diet in moderation. In this recipe I cut back on the total fat content by substituting applesauce for some of the oil. If you do not like almonds, walnuts can be used instead in this recipe.
This bread is a delicious treat to help start your morning or a great afternoon snack. If you are not an oatmeal person this is a great way to add oats to your diet. Oats are high in soluble fiber. Dietary fiber helps to relieve constipation, helps to maintain a healthy weight and to prevent diabetes and heart disease. Soluble fiber is beneficial to your diet due to its ability to lower LDL and total serum cholesterol levels thus reducing the risk of developing heart disease. You will not miss the refined carbs I promise!
Banana Almond Bread
Author: Brittany Sparks
Makes 12 Slices
Heart Healthy/Gluten Free
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 45 min
Total: 60 min
1 tsp Baking Soda
¼ Cup Almonds, Sliced or chopped
2 Cups Oats, ground
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 ½ Cups Ripe Bananas, Mashed (~3 medium)
2 Large Eggs
2 Tbsp Canola Oil
½ Cup Granulated Sugar
½ Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
Preheat oven to 375 Degrees. Prepare a 9 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
If you do not have ground oats, simply place 2 cups of oats in a food processor and process until you have a flour consistency, ~2 minutes.
In a medium bowl combine all the dry ingredients: baking soda, almonds and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
In a large bowl add all of the wet ingredients: mashed bananas, eggs, oil, sugar and applesauce. Using a hand mixer blend until well combined and creamy.
Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl with the wet ingredients. Stir till combined.
Pour into prepared 9 inch loaf pan. Sprinkle with oats and almonds and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.