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Healthy Banana Bread

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This healthy(ish) banna bread recipe is an easy banana bread recipe you can feel good about eating. With a few healthy baking swaps, you can enjoy a lighter, naturally sweetened banana bread.

banana bread on a rectangular white plate for serving

I’ve been into making some lighter recipes recently. Maybe it’s the warmer weather, but less sweet and slightly more nutritious baked goods are feeling like a good reason to turn on the oven. This easy banana bread recipe, with a bit of whole wheat flour, yogurt for extra protein, and maple syrup instead of sugar, is a delicious one to alternate with the more decadent recipes. Of course, it still has a deliciously moist texture and lots of banana flavor!

I’m going to start by saying that I understand everyone has their own definition of “healthy”. I’m dubbing this a healthy-ish banana bread because it has a little less fat, a bit more fiber, and less sugar. It’s still a treat, but one that you can easily enjoy more often.

You’d think all I’d be posting now would be crazy rich recipes between the move and all the crazy “life things” going on recently. But when I get busy, it feels easier to bake healthier? That sounds kind of backward, but it works. I think it’s because I’m a list person, so when external circumstances get crazy, I go back to lists and functional baking. Between the zucchini muffins, this recipe, and one more going live this month, we have some fabulous new treats! It all kind of works out and we get a few great recipes in a short period of time.

Baking swaps in this healthy banana bread recipe

Before I get you to the recipe, I want to talk a bit about the baking swaps and some alternatives. When I swap things in a recipe, I like to explain why and give 1-2 other options per swap. This helps you customize the recipe and use whatever you have on hand. Quick bread shouldn’t be complicated.

gold knife slicing into the banana bread

I use 4 bananas in this banana recipe. That gives you about 2 cups of mashed banana. This makes the bread reaaaaallly moist and ensures loads of banana flavor. If you only have 3 extra ripe bananas, you can use 3. If you do that, I’d pay close attention to the next paragraph to make sure you still get a moist crumb.

Most banana bread recipes will use butter or some sort of oil for fat. I replace the fat with a plain or vanilla Greek yogurt. Usually, I have either a fat-free or low-fat yogurt in the house. If you are using just 3 bananas, you’ll want to use low fat or a full-fat Greek yogurt. If you use 3 bananas and fat-free yogurt, you’ll still get a delicious bread, but it won’t be as moist. You can use a regular yogurt, a non-dairy yogurt, pureed silken tofu, or even sour cream here as well.

I use a 2:1 mix of whole wheat flour to white all-purpose flour. You don’t have to use whole wheat flour if you don’t want to or don’t have any. Just replace the whole wheat flour with your all-purpose flour and add 2 tablespoons of additional flour. So you’d use 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour instead of the wheat/white flour mix.

Instead of granulated or brown sugar in this recipe, I use maple syrup. My family likes the flavor of the maple syrup in this better than honey. Honey has a pretty bold flavor, which is delicious, but personal preference with my testers was for maple syrup. Use what you have. I use 1/3 cup of maple syrup and we find the sweetness level perfect. Very ripe bananas are already pretty sweet. That being said, if you want a sweeter bread, feel free to bump up to a 1/2 cup of maple syrup. If you don’t have maple syrup, you can use honey, coconut sugar, or brown sugar. Your favorite sugar substitute should work too.

banana bread flat lay photo

Eggs add protein and structure to baked goods, but sometimes you need to substitute. For this recipe, flax works as a substitute. Take 2 tablespoons of ground flax and dissolve in 6 tablespoons of water. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes before using in your recipe. Unsweetened applesauce should also work (1/4 cup per egg), but I haven’t tested it in this recipe yet.

I hope you love this healthy(ish) banana bread recipe, darlings! It’s a great way to use extra-ripe bananas, and freezer-friendly to boot! We enjoy a slice with a hard-boiled egg and coffee for a quick and easy breakfast. Happy baking!

banana bread flat lay photo

Healthy Banana Bread Recipe

Yield: 1 9" loaf
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

This healthy(ish) banna bread recipe is an easy banana bread recipe you can feel good about eating. With a few healthy baking swaps, you can enjoy a lighter, naturally sweetened banana bread.

Ingredients

  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • optional: 1-2 tablespoons of rolled oats to top

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray, or brush with melted oil or butter. Line with parchment. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until smooth. Stir in all ingredients except the flour. Mix until just combined.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and fold in. As soon as it's incorporated, pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Top with the oats, if using.
  4. Bake the bread for 40-50 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Be careful not to over-bake so the bread doesn't dry out.
  5. Allow the bread to rest in the pan 5 minutes before turning out to a wire rack to cool. Wrap cooled bread and store in the refrigerator up to a week or freeze up to 3 months. Enjoy!

Notes

  • If you'd like a sweeter bread, add up to 1/2 cup of maple syrup. You may also substitute the maple syrup with any of the following: brown sugar, honey (will add a honey flavor), coconut sugar, date sugar, or your favorite sugar substitute.
  • For a loaf of dairy-free banana bread, replace the Greek yogurt with non-dairy yogurt (low sugar if you can find it) or blended silken tofu.
  • As written, you will only get a mild cinnamon flavor. Feel free to add more if you'd like.
  • If you want to add anything to your banana bread, feel free to stir in a half cup of chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or coconut.

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