If you are pregnant and obsessing over food, you are in the right place. But by obsessing I don’t mean craving. What I have in mind is different type of food obsession, like the one I had during pregnancy. I was all about eating what’s good for the baby, so much so I avoided sweet things at all costs, even though I craved them (badly). I never consumed a certain food before consulting the Internet or my doctor first. Poor doctor kept insisting I relaxed, but in vain. Must have been the hormones. And although I wouldn’t recommend being obsessed with food to that extent, at least I have learned a lot about nutrition and healthy eating habits.
For instance, I found out that you can indulge yourself in sweet delights, like my favorite craving – pancakes, during pregnancy completely guilt-free! A few simple changes in the standard banana bread recipe will turn your favorite breakfast into a healthy snack. Plus, banana bread recipes allow experimenting with other ingredients that will make them even healthier without spoiling their deliciousness. Like those rich in zinc.
Benefits of Zinc in Banana Bread
Zinc is a mineral that helps protect the body against oxidative damage. Colds, infertility, diarrhea, poor vision, and slow healing wounds are all symptoms of zinc deficiency. Pregnant women are one of the most sensitive groups when it comes to zinc deficiency.
That is why women should consider increasing the zinc intake before and during pregnancy. This mineral is needed for proper development of the embryo and fetus. It has been proven that babies born to mothers who take zinc during pregnancy have many health and growth benefits.
How to Make Banana Bread Healthier
To prepare a healthy banana bread you need to change the base first. Just follow these easy steps:
- Replace regular flour with whole wheat, oatmeal, coconut flour, almond flour or soy flour;
- Replace regular refined sugar with honey, pure maple syrup, molasses, agave syrup or stevia;
- Use unsweetened applesauce, coconut oil or olive oil instead of butter or regular vegetable oil;
- If you are using dairy for extra moisture and softness, opt for non-dairy milk like coconut, rice, soy or almond milk. Since cashews are very rich in zinc, cashew milk would be the best option;
- When it comes to yogurt, it is a better option than milk in this case for pregnant women because of its high zinc content;
- Another option you can use is kefir, which will also add a slight tanginess to the loaf. Make your own kefir at home by using one tablespoon of kefir grains and one quart whole milk. Put the kefir grains in a glass jar and fill almost full with the whole milk. Cover with a clean cloth and let it sit for 1- 2 days, stirring periodically with a plastic spoon. When thick, strain out the kefir grains and repeat the procedure for a new batch of kefir.
Next step is to find out which ingredients are rich in zinc and incorporate them in your banana bread.
Cashews Banana Bread
There is a great recipe that makes use of 2/3 cup raw chopped cashews in the batter, together with 2/3 cup unsweetened plain cashew milk. The loaf is spiced with vanilla, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. To make it extra healthy the recipe recommends adding a tablespoon of flaxseed.
Cocoa Powder Banana Bread
If you love chocolate banana bread (and who doesn’t?), you can make one that is double-chocolate and yet low-calorie. Just use the abovementioned healthy base and ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1 cup dark chocolate chips to the batter. I usually make a healthier and simple chocolate glaze by melting some more chocolate chips with coconut oil. Delicious!