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Baking Banana Bread With My Girls

Article author photo. Lauren O'Connor, MS, RD This featured post is by Lauren O'Connor, MS, RD. You can follow this blogger @LaurenOConnorRD.

Baking is fun for the little ones because they get to help create something they can enjoy. (And what kid doesn't like to mix up gooey batter?) But letting them help in the kitchen also teaches measuring, counting and helps build their coordination and fine motor skills.

But what I like best is that I know exactly what they'll be putting into their little tummies, and I generally keep my baked goods lower in fat and sugar.

When it comes to baking with my girls, the key is to split the recipe in half so each can have the same task and tools (same bowl, same spoon, same amount of flour, egg ... you name it). 

Why? Because it makes them happy and prevents a fuss. My girls are twins and like to be the same in many ways, so if it simply requires I split the recipe in half and use muffin tins or smaller bread pans, then so be it! And because of this, usually most of my recipe measures are easily divisible by two.

Here is the complete recipe for one of our latest treats — banana bread! 

Banana Bread

Recipe developed by Lauren O'Connor, MS, RD

Makes 1 loaf

1/4 cup Smart Balance Light
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 packets of Stevia
3/4 cup whipped cream cheese
2 eggs
3 bananas, ripe
2 cups of Gluten-free pancake mix (I used Pamela's Pancake/Baking Mix)
2 tsp of vanilla
1/2 c chopped walnuts
optional: 1/2 cup shredded carrots for added sweetness, texture


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease (or use muffin liners) a mini muffin tin or a bread loaf pan or use 4 mini loafs.
  3. Have your kids mash bananas until smooth (a little lumpy is okay).
  4. In a separate bowl, they will combine Smart Balance, brown sugar and stevia until smooth.
  5. Next have them mix in the eggs and vanilla. Then they'll fold in the mashed bananas and cream cheese. Let them stir until well-combined.
  6. Help them carefully pour in the pancake mix and stir until blended. Last, they will stir in the nuts and the (optional) carrots.
  7. Pour mixture into baking pan(s) or muffin tin and bake for approximately 50 minutes (or until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean and top is golden). Enjoy!

Lauren O'Connor, MS, RD, is owner and nutritional consultant for Nutri-Savvy, a lifestyle program with an intuitive sensory approach to food. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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