This post has been updated with improved photos and more tips + substitutions. Click here to see the newer version.
This healthy banana bread is low in added sugar, and has no refined sugar or flour!
What are you going to do with all those ripe bananas?
I never have that question anymore. Not since I came up with this healthy banana bread recipe. Now the question is "When will those bananas turn brown?"
This is probably the most requested recipe in my family and I don't think it has ever lasted longer than 24 hours in this house.
And you don't have to feel guilty about eating 3 slices in one sitting! (yes, I know, I need to work on my portion control😂). It's low in added sugar (and no refined sugar) and high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats!
So how do you get a banana bread to be sweet, soft, and moist while also being healthy?
There are a lot of substitutions and swaps I use as well as different techniques than you would find in a traditional banana bread to make this one different than any other.
The first and most important swap is for the sugar. Sugar is probably the most unhealthy part about a regular banana bread, and there are many recipes out there that use substitutions like maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugar.
While these alternatives are unrefined, natural, and healthier than a common white sugar, it's still not great for you. It is still sugar, after all. While there is a small amount of maple syrup in here, the majority of the sugar is replaced by...
Dates! Medjool dates, to be specific. Medjool dates are not considered as added sugar by the FDA and they pack in a large number of nutrients and fiber. They have a rich caramel-like flavor which makes it the perfect sugar substitute. While you probably could use regular dates instead, I highly recommend using medjool for its more intense sweet flavor.😉
For a long time, I had trouble with using dates in baked goods, as they had the tendency to make everything very dense. After a lot of trials and thinking, I finally came up with the solution.
Eggs! Now you're probably thinking, duh, most banana breads have eggs in them but it's what you do with the eggs that makes the difference.
Because dates are rather heavy, they make things dense because there aren't enough air bubbles. Structured air bubbles can be created by eggs, but only if you whip 'em good. This requires separating the yolks from the whites so that the whites can form stiff peaks. Dense bread is now a thing of the past!🎉
So we've covered the fluffy part and the sweetness. Now it's time to talk about the moistness!
Oil is probably my favorite ingredient to make anything moist, and I almost always use avocado oil. It has many health benefits such as healthy fats and omega-3s. The nutrition profile is very similar to that of olive oil, but avocado oil has a more neutral taste.
In addition to the oil, Greek yogurt is used to keep the bread moist. Plain nonfat Greek yogurt is packed with protein but is fat free. It creates the perfect texture for the bread but you can't taste it.
The final healthy swap I want to talk about is the flour. I used white whole wheat flour because it is unrefined and has significantly more fiber than white flour. Use white whole wheat instead of regular whole wheat because it has a lighter taste and texture.
I really hope you enjoy this recipe! If you decide to make it, be sure to post a picture and tag me @nutritiousdelights on Instagram--I'd love to see it!❤️
Healthy Banana Walnut Bread
- 3 large bananas mashed (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 cup medjool dates packed
- ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- ⅓ cup avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 eggs separated
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½-1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 ¼ cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup chopped walnuts roast for more flavor
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a loaf pan and line with parchment paper.
- Soak the dates in boiling water for 5-10 minutes to soften. In the meantime, separate your yolks and whites. Put the yolks in a large bowl and the whites in a medium bowl. Beat the egg yolks with an electric mixer (I use handheld) until they become lighter and airier. Then beat the whites with a teaspoon of the maple syrup, until it forms stiff peaks. Set aside.
- In a food processor, process the dates and Greek yogurt until smooth. Beat this mixture into the egg yolks until fully combined. Then beat in the mashed bananas, oil, vanilla, and remaining maple syrup.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda. Coat the walnuts in this flour mixture. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet, then switch to a spatula and fold when it gets too hard to whisk. Fold in the egg whites.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and fill until it is ¾ full. If you still have batter left, pour the rest into a mini or regular size muffin tin. Bake the bread for 40-50 minutes, covering for the last 20. Bake mini muffins for about 10 minutes or regular size for 15-20 minutes.
- Let the bread cool slightly before serving, about 15-30 minutes.