By Penelope Wall , February 16, 2011 - 11:04am
I learned everything I know about baking from my mother. When I was a little girl, I loved getting up super-early on weekend mornings and helping her in the kitchen. I would measure and mix the dry ingredients (my favorite part was making the well in the middle) while she whisked the eggs. I was still in elementary school when I baked my first banana bread. It was from an old edition of Joy of Cooking and it was pretty basic and it was fine, but other than bananas it was made with mostly not-so-healthy ingredients, such as refined flour and shortening, which don't really provide much nourishment.
Baking—my baking—has come a long way since then. Or I guess you could say it's come full circle, since the ingredients I now choose are healthier and more natural—probably closer to the way baking was before processed refined foods became so cheap and available. Working at EatingWell, over the years I've learned a lot of tricks from the EatingWell Test Kitchen cooks for how to bake healthier without sacrificing good taste.
Now when I eat, even if it's a treat like banana bread, I want it to provide nourishment, not just make food that tastes good (though that is important too). So I try to minimize unhealthy fats and sugar and mix in whole-grain flour for a nutritional boost.
With this recipe for Banana-Bran Muffins  you get both healthy ingredients and delicious flavor. So in honor of National Banana Bread Day on February 23, bake up a batch or two. If you have kids, let them help you in the kitchen. And if you're lucky enough to have some muffins left over, a delicious, nutritious breakfast will be waiting for you the next morning.
Related: 19 Delicious Grab & Go Whole-Grain Breakfasts 
What are your tricks for healthier baking?
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