Headed out the door in the morning for a walk, a strength training session, work or maybe you are savoring a cup of coffee and a chapter in a good book to start your day? A breakfast that has some protein, fiber rich carbohydrate and healthy fat = WIN. A slice of quick bread that is healthier and delicious can be an excellent “go to”. I approach any quick bread asking myself how I can make it healthier without jeopardizing taste or texture? Two of my typical tweaks are: Plain Greek yogurt instead of oil and I decrease the sugar by up to 50%.
This is my current favorite. I tried it with all oat flour instead of half-half and it didn’t end well. I do recommend using 1 cup of flour. I do think you could use white whole wheat or whole wheat instead of all-purpose. I didn’t try that because I didn’t have any on hand, but I think it would be A-OK. Be cautious about adding any other moist ingredients (or adding too much Greek yogurt) – you could end up with a mushy texture that just won’t bake. How do I know that? Let’s just say that the opossums and raccoons that live in the woods near my house are used to finding some tasty things in my compost pile. Since it is made with Greek Yogurt, I slice it and keep it in the refrigerator until I’m ready to eat it. Here you go!
1 cup old fashioned oats (ground into flour)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 /2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cups shredded apples (2 large) plus a few extra chopped apple chunks for texture
1/4 cup shredded carrots (optional)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Stir all ingredients except apples and walnuts together until well blended. Stir in apples and walnuts at the end. Pour batter in to a loaf pan that has been lined with parchment paper and lightly sprayed with cooking spray. You can sprinkle some finely ground walnuts on the top of the loaf before baking to make it extra “pretty”. Bake at 350 F for 60 – 70 minutes until done. Ovens vary, so I’d start with 60 minutes then check on the status and go from there. Remove from the pan onto a cooling rack. Slice into 10 generous slices or 8 very generous slices. Using the ingredients stated above and 10 slices, each slice will be about 200 calories with 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.
Note: You can use any recipe builder to calculate calories and macros of any recipe. MyFitnessPal and Loseit! are examples of free nutritional tracking apps that have recipe building capabilities.
I few years ago I was hungry for a dessert and wanted something like cheesecake or ice cream. I went to my fridge to see what I had and I came up with what has become a very simple and versatile recipe that I call Protein Mousse. 3 primary ingredients with optional ingredients such as berries, chocolate. crushed nuts or graham crackers. You will need a food processor or a heavy duty blender. I use my food processor since it’s easier to get the mousse out of without wasting any of the good stuff and it is much easier to clean.
Place all the ingredients in a food processor or powerful blender and process until smooth. You only use the pudding or gelatin powder – you don’t prepare it as pudding or gelatin. The consistency will be that of a cheesecake batter. The mousse will firm up more once it is refrigerated. This recipe makes 5 generous servings. If you use 2% cottage cheese, fat-free Greek Yogurt and sugar free pudding mix: 180 calories per serving, 25 grams of protein.
VERSATILE. Use any flavor of pudding powder that you want. I like cheesecake, banana cream and coconut cream the best. I’m also a fan of lime gelatin powder.
Before serving / eating: Spoon individual servings of mousse into a bowl or tall glass cup if you want to make it pretty. You can layer the mousse with fresh berries, slices of bananas, sprinkle nuts, coconut, chocolate, etc. on top. For example: If you’ve made your mousse with banana cream pudding powder, layer the mouse with sliced bananas and crush a graham cracker or vanilla wafers on top for a banana pudding dessert. If using a gelatin powder such as lime or orange: Adding pineapple or mandarin orange slices to your serving of mousse immediately before eating = DELISH.
To make a frozen dessert similar to soft ice cream: Before serving, stir in frozen berries of your choice and place back into the freezer for a couple of minutes. Stir again. ENJOY! You can also add chocolate or any other ingredients to the protein mousse, freeze it for a couple of minutes at a time, stir, repeat until you get the consistency you want. DO NOT stir up an entire batch and freeze it solid. Things won’t end well.
Do NOT put any optional toppings into the mousse and store it in the fridge. You want your mousse to stay nice and firm. Add your optional ingredients right before serving.
Apples. They are awesome aren’t they? Fiber. Vitamin C. Polyphenols. They are delicious raw all by themselves or with a slice of cheese or a smear of peanut butter. Sometimes, I want my apples to be warm and “dessert-y”. When I do, I grab a skillet, a knife and some cinnamon and get to work. It only takes a few minutes and you have some un-fried “fried” apples ready to eat straight from a bowl with your fork.
Here is what you do. This is more of a process than a recipe, so make it your own. The amount of water, spices, and optional sugar depends on how many apples you slice and throw into your skillet.
Slice your apples. You can peel them or leave the peel on. Add enough water to the skillet to cover the bottom and the apples are just barely sitting in some water. You need the water, but not too much! The apples will release their own juice/water as they cook. Turn the heat to medium and start cooking your apples, stirring them every so often as they are cooking. Add about a Tablespoon of butter. Stir, and continue cooking until they apples are to your desired level of tenderness. Add cinnamon to your taste. I like to add a little nutmeg and ground clove. If you want your apples to be a little bit sweet, this is when you can add a small amount of sugar or honey. Stir it all up. That’s it! Takes only a few minutes. ENJOY!
Quick breads can be a delicious part of your healthy lifestyle way of eating. Traditional recipes typically include a cup of oil and a cup or more of sugar. GEEZ! That’s a lot of oil and sugar. What is a person to do? Make a few tweaks that don’t jeopardize the taste or texture. An easy tweak that you can make is to substitute plain Greek Yogurt instead of the oil in any quick bread recipe. The Greek yogurt provides needed moisture to the recipe plus you get some extra protein. I have found that using Greek yogurt doesn’t change the texture of the quick bread. Another tweak is to half the amount of sugar called for in the recipe. BOOM. That’s it. The recipe I’m going to share with you originally called for 1 cup of sugar, I use 1/3 cup; it called for 1 1/2 sticks of butter, I use 1 TB and 1 small container of Greek yogurt.
10 SLICES. 190 calories per slice. 8 grams protein.
2 cups all-purpose flour **
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 overripe bananas
1/3 cup sugar
1 TB melted butter
Small container (5 oz) Plain or Vanilla Greek Yogurt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
** Without jeopardizing texture, can substitute 1/4 cup of the flour for 1/4 cup vanilla or unflavored protein powder
Place bananas and sugar in a large mixing bowl; mash the bananas and stir well with the sugar. Let sit for a few minutes then stir again. Mix in the melted butter and Greek yogurt then beat in the eggs. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and vanilla. Mix well. Pour into a well greased loaf pan. Optional: sprinkle with crushed walnuts or pecans. Bake at 350 F for 60-ish minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Ovens vary, you may need to bake your bread a few minutes longer. Be careful not to overbake. Let cool in the pan for a couple of minutes then remove the bread from the pan to a cooling rack. Once the bread has cooled, slice it into 10 pieces.