How To Lighten Up Family Favorites

By: Jodie Shield, MED, RDN

My mother-in-law, Sally from St. Clair Shores, MI has been making this banana bread for years.  She clipped the original recipe from the Fontbonne Auxillary Cook Book back in 1981.  She asked if I could increase the fiber and lower the fat content without changing the taste.  Here is what I recommend:

  1. To boost fiber and retain a light moist texture, swap the same amount of whole wheat “white” flour for the all-purpose flour used in the original recipe.
  2. Trim the fat by substituting 4 egg whites for 2 whole eggs; cut the walnut measure in half or simply omit them.

These small changes made a big nutrition difference! The recipe still tastes fantastic but has twice as much fiber and on-third less fat.

Family Recipe Make-Over Results

1 serving Before After
Calories 356 221
Protein (g) 7 4
Carbohydrate (g) 45 33
Fat (g) 18 8
Saturated Fat (g) 6.5 5
Cholesterol (mg) 67 20
Dietary Fiber (g) 2 3
Sodium (mg) 296 118

Banana-Walnut Bread 

(Makes 12 servings)


  • Nonstick spray
  • 2 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt, optional
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional


  1.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 9×5 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  2.  Sift white whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt (if using) together.
  3.  Use mixer to cream together unsalted butter and sugar. Add beaten egg whites, one at a time. Mix in mashed bananas.
  4.  Blend in sifted ingredients and fold in chopped walnuts (if using). Pour batter into loaf pan.
  5.  Bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of bread comes out clean. Cool on wire rack,


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