Friday, 18 January 2013

Arthritis-Friendly Recipe: Banana Bars

I really don't like raw banana but weirdly I love almost any baked good containing banana and these are no exception. I know there are quite a few flapjack and granola bar recipes on this site but it's truthfully because they are such a wonderfully easy thing to bake, even when you have arthritis, and so reassuring to have in the cupboard. This is the healthiest of those recipes, it's less sweet and lower in fat, which makes it a great everyday snack or breakfast on the go.


Ingredients:
2 ripe bananas
230g rolled oats
3 tablespoons rapeseed or sunflower oil
3 tablespoons honey or golden syrup
1/4 tsp salt
50g dried cranberries
50g pistachios 

Grease an 8 inch x 8 inch square baking tin and heat the oven to 180C (375F).

Mash together the bananas, oil and honey. You can use a hand blender if it helps. Stir in the oats, fruit, nuts and pinch of salt.

Spoon into the greased tin and press down. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to cool and then cut into 8 large or 16 small bars.

Variations:
Fibre-full - use 175g oats and 50g All Bran. Replace the nuts with 50 grams mixed seeds and use any dried fruit of your choice.
Anti-inflammatory - use 30g almonds and 30g chopped walnuts in place of the pistachios. Add 1tsp ground ginger and 1tsp cinnamon. 
Oatmeal and raisin - use 50g of pecans, replace 1tablespoon of the honey with maple syrup, add 1tsp ground cinnamon and swap the cranberries for raisins.
Choctastic - replace the cranberries with 50g dark chocolate chips, leave out the cranberries and add 1tsp vanilla extract.

Arthritis diet notes:
People with inflammatory arthritis can be at increased risk of heart disease so swap crisps or chocolate biscuits for a healthier snack like these bars. You are probably bored of me going on about amazing oats but they really are a fantastic food. Packed full of soluble fibre, they keep you going and can help lower levels of unhealthy cholesterol which is an important step in looking after your heart health. The bananas also add more fibre and blood-pressure lowering potassium  Throw in some healthy omega-3  fats from the nuts and rapeseed oil and you have a super, arthritis-friendly snack.

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