Sundried ambassador Anne Iarchy is a personal trainer and nutritionist. She shares with us her deliciously healthy sugar-free banana loaf recipe.
Truly sugar-free banana cake
A few weeks ago, I was working at the Woburn Tri for Life, and at the end of a very successful day, we had masses of bananas left. After eating a banana a day for a few days, the rest of the bananas I took home were a little too ripe to my taste (I do like them just yellow from green), so I decided to bake a banana loaf.
I have two recipes, one with sugar and butter, one with coconut oil and dates, but I really wanted one with no sugar at all. After all, ripe bananas are very sweet. I did some research on the internet, and I was really surprised to see how many recipes came up “pretending” they were sugar-free, but just swapping the sugar to honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup and other sweeteners.
Although honey is healthier than sugar (and that depends on the amount of processing of the honey), it has the same effect on blood sugar levels and insulin release than sugar.
Here is my truly sugar-free banana loaf recipe which still tastes amazing and is much healthier than any other you will find.
- 6-7 overripe bananas, previously frozen and defrosted
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups of gluten-free self raising flour (this is what I used but regular self-raising flour will work fine too)
- 2/3 cup of walnut pieces
- Preheat oven to 190C (Gas Mark 5)
- Lightly grease an 8x4" cake tin
- In a bowl, mash the bananas, then whisk in the eggs, vanilla and coconut oil, until properly mixed.
- Slowly add the flour bit by bit and stir well with a spoon.
- Stir in the walnuts.
- Pour your mixture into the tin, then decorate with some walnuts if you want to.
- Put in the oven to bake for approx 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Cool before slicing.
- The cake came out moist and it was definitely sweet enough.
- A slice of the cake makes a lovely healthy snack.
- It keeps well for 4-5 days covered in foil.
Finding a healthy alternative to your favourite treats can be like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It's fine to have indulgent treats every now and then, but if you can create a healthy version and work it into your everyday diet, what could be better? Here at Sundried, we live by a healthy ethos and believe that whatever you eat should be nutritious and good for your body so that your training can always be at its best. So we've developed a recipe for these delicious healthy brownies which incorporates the use of quinoa as a main ingredient.
What is quinoa?
Quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wa’) is a superfood often used to replace rice by health-conscious food lovers. Its small, spiral grains expand once cooked to provide up to twice as much fibre as most other grains. The grain is also a complete protein source and contains more protein per 100g than rice and wheat. This means it has gained quite a lot of popularity in the health-food market in recent years and is now found in all sorts of recipes.
Protein Brownie Recipe
This recipe makes 6-8 brownies, depending on how you size them.
- 75g Raw quinoa (cooked weight approx. 300g)
- 50g Peanut butter
- 1 Egg
- 2 Egg whites
- 2 Scoops chocolate protein powder
- 2 Tablespoons organic coconut oil
- Pinch of Baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 190℃ or Gas Mark 4.
- Rinse the Quinoa and then cover with water in a saucepan. Use one part Quinoa to two & half parts water. Bring to the boil on the hob before leaving to simmer at a low heat whilst you prepare the other ingredients. When it is cooked, the grains will ‘pop’ and expand until they are spiral-like and fluffy.This will take approximately 15 -20 minutes.
- Melt the Coconut oil, either on the hob or in the microwave (mine takes 30 seconds at full power) and combine with the peanut butter. This is the sticky consistency which is going to hold the Brownies together.
- Separate the egg whites and then combine the egg, coconut oil, and peanut butter.
- Ensure your Quinoa is cooked (remember you want it to look fluffy), drain and combine with the rest of your mixture.
- Add a pinch of baking powder and stir thoroughly. Your consistency here needs to be sticky. If it's a little dry, try adding a sprinkle of water.
- Lightly grease a baking tray with coconut oil and/or greaseproof paper and then add your mixture. Ensure it is flat so that all your brownies have an equal thickness.
- Bake in the oven for 25 - 35 minutes. I set the alarm for 25 minutes, do a quick skewer test, and then adjust accordingly.
- Once cooked through, cut into portions and leave to cool.
There you have it, guilt free high-protein brownies. Perfect as an everyday snack or post-workout treat!
Protein bars are a popular way to supplement your diet. Whether you use them as a healthy snack alternative or you swear by them post-workout, they're becoming a big part of the fitness world. We answer everything you've ever wanted to know about protein bars.
Why eat protein bars?
Protein bars are often designed to be delicious, moreish, and packed with healthy ingredients. They are expertly crafted to deliver the correct nutrients and a powerful punch of protein while still tasting great. Most protein bars will contain between 10g-20g of protein but can also contain a lot of sugar and calories.
A protein bar is designed to be eaten post-workout, when your body is low on glucose and is in need of a protein hit to aid recovery. In addition, they are meant to be used as a healthy snack alternative when on-the-go, instead of eating conventional chocolate bars or snacks.
A protein bar can be a great way of increasing your daily protein intake, however it's important to beware of the calories and sugar. Sometimes, it's better to get your protein from natural food such as lean meat, poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds, and beans.
Do protein bars make you put on weight?
When it comes to weight loss and weight gain myths, it can be difficult to split fact from fiction. You will only really gain weight if you are eating more calories than you are burning in a day. Therefore, protein bars will only make you gain weight if they are taking your daily caloric intake over the limit.
However, it is certainly possible that eating protein bars could make you gain weight because you don't realise just how many calories they contain. Always check the label when buying a new protein bar to check not only how many calories it contains, but also how much sugar. What you thought was just an innocent, healthy snack could easily contain over 300 calories.
What is the best protein bar?
In order to find the best protein bar for you, you need to know your goals. When going on a fitness or weight loss journey, it's very important to set fitness goals so that you can track your progress and have something to focus on. Once you know your goal, you will be able to decide what is the best protein bar for you.
Some protein bars are designed to increase mass for those looking to build a lot of muscle. These bars will contain a high amount of carbs as well as protein and a high number of calories for those who are 'bulking' on a high calorie diet. On the other end of the spectrum, there are 'lean' or 'diet' protein bars which contain very few carbs and a low amount of calories while still packing a lot of protein, and these are better for people trying to lose weight while building lean muscle and strength.
Finally, one of the most important things to consider when deciding if a protein bar is right for you is the taste and texture. Some protein bars are very dense with a chewy texture, while some are designed to mimic conventional chocolate bars with their decadent taste and chocolate coating.