Recipe – Vegan Banana Bread Meal-Replacement Bar

baking bread

The most important meal of the day is breakfast. I’m sure you’ve heard that before.

If you’re like me, you hate to cook – especially first thing in the morning when you’re trying to get out the door to work.

For most of this year, I ate eggs for breakfast. First as hard-boiled, then in a recipe I got from Tim Ferris’s 4-Hour Body that combined eggs, dark green veggies and beans. It cooked up in the microwave in about three minutes.

Lemme tellya – I’m sick of eggs!

Time to change things up and put some grains back in my diet, but in a way that keeps things healthy. So how do I do that?

Criteria

I wanted something I could grab on the go. I wanted it to contain healthy fat. I needed it to be high-fiber. I also wanted to avoid using sugar.

Tough demands, right?

Today, I’m going to share what I currently eat for breakfast. I call it Vegan Banana Bread Meal-Replacement Bar.

no dairy usedIt’s Vegan, because it doesn’t use eggs, milk or butter. It contains healthy fat and is high fiber, because it uses ground flax.

It doesn’t use sugar. Instead, the sweetness comes from chopped dates, bananas and ground cinnamon.

Before you roll your eyes and click away while thinking, “Ew, it uses weird shit that can’t possibly taste good,” I challenge you to keep an open mind.

I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone when it comes to baked goods.

Nutrition break-down

The recipe below makes 2 loaves. I cut each loaf in half short-ways and then in half again long-ways. You should have a total of 8 bars after you cut both loaves. Each bar is a “serving” for this nutritional break-down.

  • Calories – 359
  • Total Fat – 9.5g
    • Saturated Fat – 0.2g
    • Polyunsaturated Fat – 0.3g
    • Monounsaturated Fat – 0.2g
  • Cholesterol – 0.0g
  • Sodium – 287mg
  • Potassium – 430mg
  • Total Carbohydrate – 66g
    • Dietary Fiber – 15.2g
    • Sugars – 28.5g
  • Protein – 10.5g

Other Nutrients*

  • Vitamin A – 1.1%
  • Vitamin B-12 – 0.0%
  • Vitamin B-6 – 20.3%
  • Vitamin C – 9.6%
  • Vitamin D – 0.0%
  • Vitamin E – 1.1%
  • Calcium – 10.4%
  • Copper – 8.8%
  • Folate – 4.6%
  • Iron – 14.4%
  • Magnesium – 8.9%
  • Manganese – 17.2%
  • Niacin – 3.9%
  • Pantothenic Acid – 3.4%
  • Phosphorus – 5.2%
  • Riboflavin – 5.0%
  • Selenium – 2.4%
  • Thiamin – 3.5%
  • Zinc – 2.0%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Why is this nutrition break-down important?

In a culture that tends to eat too much cholesterol and too little fiber, the first thing you’ll see is this meal bar qualifies as cholesterol-free and high-fiber.

The US Government has very strict guidelines as to what qualifies for those labels. Anything less than 2mg of cholesterol is considered “free” and anything over 5 grams of fiber is considered “high fiber.”

The word “high” by itself also has a special meaning. If a serving contains 20% or more in Daily Value for a given nutrient, it’s considered “high.”

Each meal bar contains 20.3% Daily Value of Vitamin B-6. So I can advertise it as high in Vitamin B-6.

But another important thing to note is; the potassium content is higher than the sodium content. Americans tend to eat too much salt. One way to counter salt’s effect is to make sure your potassium intake is equal to or higher than your salt intake.

Americans also tend not to get enough OMEGA 3 oils in their diet. I use Hodgson Mill Milled Flax Seed. Their box claims each serving of their milled flax seed contains 2600mg of OMEGA 3 oils.

That means each one of my meal bars contains 4225mg of OMEGA 3 oils.

Health benefits of dates

By now you’ve probably heard the beating drum of needing to reduce how much sugar you eat every day. Sugar is pretty damn useless for providing vitamins and minerals. 1 tsp of the stuff equals 16 calories.

Time to cut the umbilical cord to sugar and find healthier alternatives.

The chopped dates I use in my meal bar are NOT coated with sugar. That kinda defeats the purpose, ya know?

I found a 9 oz container of chopped dates coated in oat flour instead at my local Wegmans. You’ll have to read the ingredient list to see if sugar has been added to chopped dates available at your local store. You might have to buy whole dates and chop them up yourself if you can’t find a sugar-free option.

Anyway, here’s a short list of health benefits to eating dates:

  • eases constipation
  • strengthens bones to fight off osteoporosis
  • beneficial for curing many intestinal disorders
  • fights off anemia due to high level of iron
  • high sulfur content reduces allergic reactions and seasonal allergies
  • natural energy booster
  • boosts nervous system health and functionality
  • reduces LDL cholesterol levels

Any questions on which is the better choice between sugar and chopped dates?

mixed dough

Get to the damn recipe already!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 medium dead ripe bananas mashed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 9 oz container chopped dates (non-sugar coated)
  • 26 tbsp milled flax seed (or half a box if using Hodgson Mill)
  • approximately 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 – 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • Cooking spray

bread pan

Instructions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees (F)
  •  Use cooking spray to “grease” bread pans and set aside
  • Mix milled flax seed with water and set aside
  • Mash bananas to a sticky, gooey pulp and set aside
  • In large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Use a whisk to thoroughly combine.  Add chopped dates and stir until combined. 
  • Add mashed bananas and flax seed/water mixtures to bowl and stir until combined. It will take a while to get all the ingredients moist and combined. The dough will be stiff. Do not add extra water unless no amount of additional stirring sucks up remaining flour mixture. 
  • Divide dough evenly between two bread pans and top with sesame seeds. 
  • Bake for 50 minutes. Test with toothpick. If toothpick did not come out clean, bake for additional 10 minutes. 
  • Use a spatula to break edges away from sides of pan. Use spatula and fork to lift out of pan and onto wire racks to cool. Do not cut until completely cool! 
  • Once completely cool, cut loaves into quarters so you have 8 total bars when done. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator until ready to eat.

vegan banana bread

Summary

If you track your food intake according to the USDA Choose My Plate guidelines, each meal bar equals approximately 5 ounces (or 5 servings) from the grains food group.

If you are female over age 19, but under 50, that means you only have one serving left for the day. I do this intentionally, because I don’t eat grains any other time of day except for a rare slice of sour dough bread with supper.

Your turn

Please let me know in the comments below if you try this recipe. I’d love to hear your feedback on it.

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Comments

  1. Tammy R says:

    Holy fiber, Lori! I have to say that they do sound really good. I’m not sure if I like dates, but the bulleted list of health benefits may just help me like them even more. I eat at least a cup of brown rice at lunch, so I’m wondering if that would put me over the limit. I’m not so good at the calculations part. I may have to try them on the weekends to add some variety. Thank you for taking the time to put it all together so nicely!

    • Lori Stalter says:

      Tammy! Yah, lots of fiber in this bad boy. Just call me the fiber queen.

      Cut your lunch time rice back to 1/2 a cup cooked and you’ll be within your daily limits.

      I have a podcast on daily grain requirements over at https://loristalter.com/e3/

      Dates baked into something isn’t like trying to eat one by itself. I can do both, but for me, baked into something is a lot tastier.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  2. Aimee Eickmann says:

    I’m reading this while eating a Pop Tart…very ashamed of myself. I’m going to try these!!!!! Thanks, Lori!

    • Lori Stalter says:

      Hey Aimee! Thanks for stopping by. Pop Tarts. Never liked them. They always reminded me of trying to eat saw dust. Now Toaster Strudels, on the other hand… [ahem] …I used to buy those for my kids when they were little. One or two might have been misplaced… 😉 I probably wouldn’t be able to handle how sweet they are these days.

      Let me know how you make out with the banana bread!