better banana bread.

by Janetha on December 8, 2012

in product review,recipes

let’s face it: there are a lot of treats, sweets, and goodies to eat this time of year. it’s hard not to give in to the sugary temptations that surround us during the holiday season! but that doesn’t mean we have to completely give in. there IS a way to indulge while still watching our waistline. you just have to be smart about your baking. and with smart balance, it’s easy to be smart.

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i recently received a variety of items from smart balance to incorporate in my holiday baking.why is smart balance better than regular butter? well, there are a few reasons why:

  • it naturally contains zero grams of trans fat and does not contain partially hydrogenated nor hydrogenated oils of any kind.
  • it contains a blend of poly- and monounsaturated fats designed to improve the ratio of good cholesterol (HDL) to bad cholesterol (LDL.)
  • it has added omega 3s, vitamins, calcium, and plant sterols (those help block cholesterol!)

smart balance is a great way to make all your holiday recipes a little healthier this season. the smart balance folks have created a database of recipes to help you do so! they also offer a free 14-day food plan to help jumpstart healthier eating. you may have seen their current commercials or the hashtag #HelpSanta. this is all about helping santa watch his weight by using smart balance to replace butter in his christmas eve cookies! that man needs all the help he can get…

so, when i received these better butters, i knew exactly what recipe i wanted to makeover: banana bread. i just had to wait for a few ‘naners to blacken. when it comes to banana bread, my motto is “the blacker, the better!” so i bought some bananas and waited… and waited… and waited. finally, they became black enough for baking!


it has been snowing today (YAY for me since i am going snowboarding tomorrow.) marshall and i were out and about earlier. we went to brunch and did a little christmas shopping, but then the snow really started coming down. all i wanted to do was go home and get warm! i decided it was the perfect afternoon for a little banana bread baking action.

i usually make momma b’s not-so-healthy banana bread when i have black bananas on my hands, but i decided to makeover her recipe with a healthier holiday treat in mind. i replaced the oil with melted smart balance butter, swapped half of the all purpose flour for whole wheat flour, and halved the amount of sugar. i also added some cinnamon because, for some reason, cinnamon screams “HAPPY HOLIDAYS!” to me. anyone else? no? just me? hmm.. moving on.

this banana bread came together in a flash. making the batter was really as easy as 1-2-3.




okay.. maybe as easy as 1-2-3-4.


if you don’t have buttermilk on hand (i most certainly did not) you can make your own! simply combine 7 parts milk to 1 part white vinegar and let it sit for a couple minutes before adding it to your recipe. for the half cup of buttermilk in the recipe, i made my own using vanilla soy milk and white vinegar.


once you have your batter ready to go, you want to pour it into a prepared loaf pan. to prepare it, simply spread some smart balance butter on the bottom and sides of the pan and then dust it with some whole wheat flour.


once your pan is prepared, you’re ready to rock.




okay, so there may have been a slight cooling period between the baking and eating, but i definitely couldn’t wait too long. the banana cinnamon smell that filled my kitchen was just too good to resist.


better banana bread
prep time: 5 minutes
bake time: 45 minutes
yield: one large loaf


  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup evaporated cane juice or other unrefined sweetener
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted smart balance butter
  • 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 small blackened bananas, mashed


  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
  2. combine flours, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a small bowl. set aside.
  3. in another bowl, combine sweetener, butter, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. in a third bowl, mash bananas.
  5. add dry ingredients and bananas to wet ingredients. stir until just combined–do NOT overmix.
  6. prepare a large loaf pan (between 4″x9″ and 5″x10″) by greasing the bottom and sides with butter then dusting with flour.
  7. pour batter into load pan.
  8. bake for 45 minutes until golden brown. a toothpick should come out clean when testing the center of the loaf.
  9. let cool completely.
  10. slice, top with a pad of butter, and enjoy!
this made-over version of banana bread tasted just as indulgent as the original. i loved the buttery smart balance spread on top, too! next on my list for healthier holiday baking is PBJ thumbprint cookies–can’t wait to put that jar of smart balance peanut butter to use.


1. what is your favorite holiday season treat?

2. what was the last thing you baked?

xo. janetha g.

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this campaign. All opinions are my own.
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Katie @ Talk Less, Say More December 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm

YUM! I absolutely love banana bread, it’s definitely a favorite of mine!

lindsay December 8, 2012 at 7:06 pm

wow, santa is gonna love this. And i love that you used vinegar. It’s so yummy in bread.

it’s 80F today. WTF?

Lindsay's List December 8, 2012 at 7:10 pm

making this! (and i don’t bake.)

Sam @ Better With Sprinkles December 8, 2012 at 7:19 pm

It’s been way to long since I made banana bread! I’ll definitely have to get on that.

Julie @ ROJ Running December 8, 2012 at 9:26 pm

OK how do you get your bananas to behave? I swear before mine ever reach that level of dark they’re growing white spots and sprouting flies. Eww gross.

Annette@FitnessPerks December 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm

I love banana bread!!! I have a bunch of older bananas just waiiiittting to be made into bread. YUMM

STUFT Mama December 8, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Oh…… banana bread. Oh Santa. :) This looks delicious! My bananas just don’t ripen fast enough this time of year. Ha ha.

Karey @ Nutty About Health December 8, 2012 at 10:49 pm

The banana bread looks delicious!!
My favorite holiday treat is Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies. Last thing I baked was some healthy, flour-less PB Cookies, yum! :)

Janice - Fitness Cheerleader December 9, 2012 at 5:27 am

Mmmmmm – looks delicious! I do believe today is a banana bread making kind of day!

Lisamarie December 9, 2012 at 5:27 am

Just noticing, that you mentioned buttermilk in your post, but I don’t see it in the recipe. I’m assuming we add it to the wet ingredients, before mixing together. It sounds like a great healthier version. Plan on trying it this week!!

Janetha December 9, 2012 at 8:28 am

Thanks! Fixed!

kendra December 9, 2012 at 7:01 am

Chewy, spicy, molasses-y ginger bread is my favorite.

I’m baking my body sitting next to this raging wood stove right now.

TiffAnY December 9, 2012 at 7:20 am

Just want to meantion that buttermilk isn’t listed in the recipe part of the post!

Janetha December 9, 2012 at 8:20 am

Whoops! Thx:)

Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries December 9, 2012 at 7:33 am

Yum!! I love love love banana bread. It’s been awhile since I’ve made a loaf of good ol’ banana bread… I’m thinking that might just have to be on my agenda today! Snow and cold = perfect baking weather!

Linz @ Itz Linz December 9, 2012 at 7:54 am

Last thing I baked was cinnamon sugar almonds last night that I wrapped up and ribboned and handed out at our Chanukah party. That banana bread looks so good! I never realized that Smart Balance fats were designed to improve the ratio of good/bad cholesterols. Interesting.

kristen @ livinlifeinlouie December 9, 2012 at 8:44 am

Cinammon is the perfect addition to any recipe, I think! The banana bread looks delicious!

Danielle December 9, 2012 at 11:08 am

Looks delicious and has me craving banana bread now!

Fun fact: if you put foil over the end of the bananas (the part that holds the bunch together) they will last longer! We bought bananas on a Sunday and they were still perfectly yellow by the next weekend!

Janetha December 9, 2012 at 7:59 pm

thanks for the tip! any idea how to make them turn black quicker?

Danielle December 10, 2012 at 11:17 pm

don’t quote me on this one but I heard that if you put them in a big plastic ziploc bag that the chemicals the bananas release that make them turn black will stay in the bag and make them turn black faster.

Sierra December 9, 2012 at 11:13 am

Favorite holiday treat is hands-down…Gingerbread. I have the “hacker recipe” for the Starbucks loaf and I keep meaning to make it.

It’s interesting that you can make buttermilk with soy milk. I thought it was a reaction with the dairy, but I guess it’s just the flavor? Have you tried this before and knew it worked?

Janetha December 9, 2012 at 7:36 pm

I had actually never tried it with soy milk… but it’s all I had on hand. It worked like a charm! Dude.. if you post that Sbux loaf recipe.. let me know! YUM.

Erica December 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Looks perfect! I’m all about trying new banana bread recipes- consider yourself book marked! Hope you’re enjoying the snow…I think its 75 here- crazy!

julie December 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm

you know what they say…
…once you go black you never go back…
i’m pretty sure that relates to banana bread also hahahahahahahaha sorry i’m not sorry but you set me up!

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