When it comes to meal planning, I am all about protein. I had bariatric surgery nearly 6 months ago, and all my meals and snacks are supposed to be “protein forward.” As long as I end up with 70ish grams of protein at the end of the day I’m golden.

More specifically, a high-protein post-op diet helps you lose fat while holding onto muscle, and I have been doing a bang-up job.

But when you physically can’t eat a whole lot, it can be difficult to pack in the protein, and endless protein shakes and bars get old really quickly. So when the urge to bake struck, I knew whatever I made had to have a decent dose of protein — and taste good.

Since I keep a bag of frozen bananas at the ready for smoothies, I thawed out a couple of them and made these Banana Bread Gingersnap Protein Muffins. They’re slightly sweet thanks to the lower glycemic coconut sugar and have a little extra heat and crunch from crystallized ginger and chopped walnuts. The bananas, applesauce and Greek yogurt make for a really moist muffin, and each serving will get you around 9 grams of protein, which is pretty solid for a baked good.

I used a six-”cakelette” mini bundt pan, which holds basically the same contents as a standard 12-muffin tin.

Banana Bread Gingersnap Protein Muffins

Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 27 minutes. Total time: 37 minutes. Serves: 12 muffins

INGREDIENTS
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 egg whites
1 cup lowfat plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup coconut sugar
¾ cup oat flour (use oat flour or finely grind oats in a food processor)
¾ cup vanilla protein powder (I used 3 scoops of gingerbread whey protein to heighten the warm flavors)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the wet ingredients, then add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared tin and bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out clean and the muffins are slightly golden.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 12 Calories: 162 Fat: 4g Saturated fat: 1g Unsaturated fat: 2g Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 23g Sugar: 17g Sodium: 175mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 9g Cholesterol: 2g

Do you bake with protein powder? What’s your favorite recipe? —Gail



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