Saturday, February 22, 2014

Almond Banana Bars Recipe + Health Benefits

This recipe is from Cambria's youtube channel breelovesbeauty. You can check out the video she posted by searching "cambria's kitchen, banana bars" on youtube, but I played with the recipe a little and talked about the health benefits so keep on reading! :)

I made these almond banana bars and I love them! Yall should definitely give these a try! They're not only delicious but guilt-free.  

They're made with all my favorite things thrown together: almond butter, eggs, bananas, coconut, dark chocolate..I mean, they're perfect!

2 large bananas, or 4 small bananas
1 cup almond meal
3 whole eggs
1/2 cup almond butter (You can add whichever nut butter you like!)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
3 tablespoons of unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips or a dark chocolate bar cut in small pieces*
about 1/3 tablespoon of baking soda
The recipe also asked for a pinch of sea salt but I omitted it, wasn't really feeling it haha.

*You can play with the amount of these, depending on how much you like chocolate!
I used 85% cocoa dark chocolate (scroll down to read its benefits) 

These were super easy to make:
- You just mash your bananas and throw in all the ingredients together in a bowl. 
- Then, stir, stir, and stir! After you've had the fun of stirring, go ahead and pour your batter into a pan.
- Bake at 350ยบF for 15-20 minutes. 
- Then do the typical toothpick test! (just stick a toothpick in and check whether it comes out dry. if not, then you need to let your batter bake for a few more minutes)

 Ta da! Cut 'em into whatever shape you like and top with whatever you want! (Honey, almond butter...)

Before you suspect any of the ingredients, here are some of your speculated questions answered:

"Why coconut oil?! What about the evil saturated fats in it?"
- Yes, coconut oil does have saturated fat which we all know are harmful for our health. However, the saturated fat in coconut oil is actually benign because it contains lauric acid which has a myriad of benefits.  These include the ability to increase our good cholesterol (HDL) thus helping with cholesterol levels, regulating our blood sugar, and keeping our metabolism up, among others.

Almond butter is SO high in fat, aren't we trying to lose fat here? 
Fat is a macronutrient essential for our bodies to function, we should never go on a "low carb" or "low fat" diet because our body needs all macronutrients in order to properly function! Also, the fats are called monounsaturated fats, the good fats which reduce risk of heart disease. Moreover, almond butter is high in protein content.

Bananas are high in sugar...
Naturally occurring sugars in fruit are not bad for you, considering the copious nutrients and health benefits that come with it!
The fiber in a banana associated with the sugar slows digestion, thereby giving your body time to use it as fuel instead of storing it as fat.

"Chocolate??? How are these bars healthy?"
- If you're really trying to lose weight, have been working hard in the gym and don't wanna ruin your efforts, don't worry, if you buy dark chocolate that has at least 75% cocoa, you're actually helping your body! 
Dark chocolate alone is okay, but usually filled with some sort of sugar (be sure to check the ingredient list). 
By making sure you're buying at least 75% cocoa filled dark chocolate, you're giving your body multiple health benefits
- The antioxidants present in it help control blood sugar and in turn lower it.
- It helps lower our blood pressure
- Releases endorphins that improves our mood. We all need to care of our mental health!
I am not saying that dark chocolate that's not 75% cocoa or even white chocolate will hurt you, everything in moderation is great and we all deserve a treat, but if you feel like you don't want to hinder your progress by eating these for breakfast 2-3 times a week and feel guilty, then go for dark chocolate 75% cocoa. :) (Did I use these 2 words too much or what?!)

I went a little overboard with my information, but I hope you can now really be guilt free and devour these, glad I made these and got to share them on my blog, but I take no credit for the recipe!

You can check it out here <3