We all know that we should be mindful of our sugar intake. Consumption of added sugar has been associated with metabolic syndrome (classified as having at least 3 of: high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, low HDL – the “good cholesterol”, high fasting blood sugar and a large waistline). Metabolic syndrome is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk. Similarly, elevated blood sugar is associated with inflammation. A study showed that consumption of >500mL of sugar sweetened beverages per day by Taiwanese boys increased their risk of metabolic syndrome by more than 10-fold! A high calorie diet consisting of nutrient-poor foods (e.g., concentrated sugars and refined flour products), low fiber, red meat, and excess omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3 fatty acids contributes to excess cancer risk.
This is not new information. Although studies are there to support these associations, we intuitively know when something we are consuming is not good for us. Unfortunately, this knowledge doesn’t always translate into implementation of healthier habits.
How can we get into the consistent habit of eating healthier, when our lives are busier than ever and a large part of our population is overtired, constantly on the go and overstressed? Wouldn’t it be great if there were more foods that can satisfy that craving for sweets, while not being processed and packed with sugar? When we feel like having a snack, and are not reaching for whole foods, how can we focus on healthy, natural ingredients in our comfort foods, that have more health promoting qualities and less illness-causing ones?
A whole-food, plant-rich diet should be the priority. For those times, when we want a little bit of that guilty pleasure, I have created a not-so-guilty recipe solution that still provides the comfort.
As a working mom, I am always experimenting with healthy recipes that can be made quickly and that my kids, husband and I will enjoy. I’m excited to share with you one of my favorite banana bread recipes.
I have eliminated almost all refined sugar from my recipe (with the exception of sugar in the dark chocolate chips – although I provide sugar-free alternatives). It is also packed with healthy fats, fiber and cacao polyphenols. To keep portions in check, you can cut the banana bread in single servings and freeze them for later enjoyment.
I hope you enjoy this weekend snack as much as we do and have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend,