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Healthier Banana Bread Pudding

December 30, 2011

Vegetarians are not necessarily healthier people. As you know from some of my past recipes, we can load up on saturated fats with cheese, butter, and oils. For the past twelve years, after surgery to remove my gallbladder, I tried to be careful and balance my fat intake. Without a gall bladder, your body can not process fatty foods, which means that it is easier to get sick from food or develop issues with cholesterol. So, for a few years, I ate an almost entirely fat free diet, which helped me feel better, but also didn’t seem healthy. When I returned to vegetarianism, I found that my body could handle more of my fatty favorites like cheese and french fries. However, the downside to that discovery was becoming over-confident, and the healthy cooking slipped down hill fast. We need a balance between unhealthy and healthy.

Anyways, in the spirit of the new year, we are revisiting healthier eating habits, especially heart healthy habits. Similar to last years Project Food Budget, where for 4 months I met a weekly $75 food budget, we are going to try and set up a pattern of healthy eating for the first 4 months of the year. What I found about Project Food Budget was that 4 months is the perfect amount of time to experiment, learn, and change habits. Although I still don’t stick to that small budget, we have permanently adjusted our relationship with purchasing food. We no longer buy processed, know where to get the cheapest deals, and are much better at not over purchasing and meal planning. So, for the next four months, we are going to try healthy, but delicious meals, and try to reform our approach to the kitchen. This is not about a diet, but a quest to find healthy meals that don’t necessarily feel healthy.

The key to keeping healthy eating delicious is through keeping a good aresenal of flavoring agents, such as spices, infused olive oil, and vegetable broth. Additionally, keep your fridge packed with a diverse group of vegetables. As the Mayo Clinic outlines, a vegetarian should eat 4 servings of vegetables a day, and 3 servings of fruit. Since most people don’t eat vegetables at breakfast, lunch and dinner should have a diverse array of veggies. I find a meal with a variety of vegetables, which are not overcooked, can really satisfy most people. Finally, adjusting cooking methods or matching  foods with naturally low fat levels can help make a healthier version. We started with these methods for Christmas dinner with the Vegetarian Bolognese figuring New Years day was arbitrary, why not start healthy during the holidays, then you know your healthy cooking has been tested.

This Banana Bread Pudding is a perfect example. Instead of cream or butter, we used a naturally buttery tasting bread, challah. Then, we added vanilla and cinnamon to whole milk. Although it isn’t a fat free dish, it is a healthier version of the original. Throwing in both raisins and banana adds dimension to the bread pudding. These smaller steps towards healthier eating can really add up over the course of the day. This is an easy dish for brunch, a crowd, or New Years morning.

Healthier Banana Bread Pudding

  • 4 cups Challah bread, torn into pieces
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup raisins, make sure they aren’t stuck together
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 egg whites

1. Pre-heat the oven to 375

2. Spray a baking dish with canola oil, and fill with bread. Add the raisins and bananas, spread evenly through the bread.

3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, eggwhites, cinnamon, and vanilla. Once it is evenly mixed, pour over the bread.

4. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is crunchy.

One Comment leave one →
  1. marcela permalink
    January 2, 2012 8:53 pm

    for the record and i should really comment more (new year’s resolution?), i just love your blog. it is always jam packed with fresh ideas and inspiring ways to not just stick with the status quo when it comes to food or feeding my family. i’m all for what you’ve proposed in this post about taking the first four months of this year to make some healthy changes. having recently had a baby, ok not that recently, the time is now for such things. you may be pleased to know that your blog has put this family further and further into the vegetarian category with vegan tendencies. i actually bought the veganomicon book that you recently referenced and am a big fan. their butternut squash & chestnut casserole have become a fall staple for potlucks and thanksgiving. i’m was also pleased to learn that rumballs are vegan too:) okay, that speaks to how we can always go the unhealthy route and i can do better. happy new year!!! looking forward to future posts.

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