Numerous articles and resources have warned us about excessive consumption of sugar. Taking too much sugar can increase your chances of developing a wide range of health issues – from diabetes, high blood sugar, increased triglyceride levels, and heart disease, to name just a few. We need to decrease our consumption of sugar to help decrease our chances of getting sick.
One way to stop eating sugar without having to completely eschew sweets in our diet is through the use of sugar substitutes. Artificial and natural sweeteners are widely available in the market and can be easily used as a substitute for sugar. One popular type of sweetener is stevia, a natural sweetener derived from the plant stevia rebaudiana. The extract from the leaf of the stevia plant is very sweet, but it doesn’t contain a single calorie, which makes it the best kind of sweetener for those who have a strict daily calorie limit.
Stevia can also be used for cooking. It can be easily used as a substitute for sugar in many recipes. For example, the recipe below is for delicious banana bread using stevia as a sweetener. Banana bread uses real bananas so you also get the healthy nutrients that are inside a banana, one of them being potassium.
Stevia Banana Bread
2 very ripe, medium to large bananas (use very ripe bananas to get a more intense banana flavor)
¼ tsp powdered stevia extract
½ tsp stevia concentrate
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup oil
1 large egg
½ cup plain nonfat yogurt or buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat the over to 350 degrees F. Oil a medium-sized loaf pan (7 ½ “x 3 ½ ” x 2 ½”).
- Mash the bananas in a small bowl. While mashing you can include the stevia extract, stevia concentrate and lemon juice to the mashed bananas. Set aside.
- Sift the flour, the leavenings, and salt together in a bowl.
- Beat the oil and egg in a mixing bowl until it becomes creamy. Add in the yogurt or buttermilk and the vanilla. Stir in the mashed bananas into the mixture.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Make sure that you stir as minimally as possible to reduce the incorporation of air into the mix. Add in the walnuts just before the flour gets completely incorporated.
- Pour the mix into a loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to one hour or until a toothpick or fork that is inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean. Turn out the loaf and let it cool on a rack.