Guilt-Free Healthy Banana Bread
How to make healthy banana bread that actually tastes good! This recipe has lower sugar, healthier fats and adds whole grains. Jump to the Healthy Banana Bread Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.
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How to Make Healthier Banana Bread
We’ve shared banana bread on Inspired Taste before and love the recipe. This healthier version takes everything we love about the original, but makes a few smart changes to make it lower in calories, sugar, and fat. Plus, we swap butter for better-for-you olive oil and add whole wheat flour.
We both love the original recipe and were determined to create a guilt-free version that stood up to it. This banana bread bakes up to be moist, dense, and delicious.
The first change was to add whole wheat flour. We use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour. You could use 100% whole wheat, but keep in mind that the loaf will taste nuttier (not necessarily a bad thing) and will be a bit more dense. White whole wheat flour is also a great option. In fact, we use a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flour for our Whole Wheat Pancakes. They are so light and fluffy!
Next, we significantly reduced the sugar. In our original recipe we call for a 3/4 cup of brown sugar. This makes the bread incredibly moist and delicious, but since we were looking for healthy banana bread most of the sugar had to go! We have reduced the sugar from 3/4 cup to 1/3 cup. A major savings and your blood sugar will thank you. We also call for unrefined pure cane sugar. If you don’t have it on hand, granulated or brown sugar will work in it’s place.
Speaking of sugar, we add an extra secret ingredient to the batter — black strap molasses. Just one tablespoon packs in lots of flavor and adds a richness to the batter.
Finally, we swap melted butter for olive oil. Not only that, but we reduce the fat from 8 tablespoons to 5 tablespoons. If you use a fruity olive oil, it adds a lovely richness to the bread. It also keeps the bread dense and moist. No one wants dry banana bread, right?
And that’s it. How to make healthier banana bread that is moist and tastes great!
More Banana Recipes
- Try our Classic Banana Bread! It’s so good, you’ll want to make two loaves.
- Since we love banana bread so much, we made another version with chocolate chips.
- We love these Banana Bread Muffins that are made 100% from scratch. I love adding mini chocolate chips, but they are excellent plain or with nuts.
- Our Perfect Banana Pancakes made with buttermilk, mashed banana, and spices are such a treat!
- Use leftover bananas to make our Super Quick Banana Smoothie or this Easy Banana and Strawberry Baked Oatmeal.
Guilt-Free Healthy Banana Bread
This healthy banana bread stays moist and actually tastes good! This recipe has lower sugar, healthier fats, and adds whole grains. For tips on making this gluten-free or vegan, check the notes section below. A note on pan size: We use a 8 1/2- by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan; if you only have a 9- by 5-inch pan, start checking for doneness 5 to 10 minutes earlier.
You Will Need
3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (95 grams) whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large bananas, heavily speckled or even black bananas are best, about 1 cup mashed
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or substitute melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon molasses
1/3 cup (65 grams) sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Make Batter
- Bake Bread
Center a rack in the oven and heat to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 1/2-inch-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and lightly grease. Place the loaf pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of the other.
Whisk the flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together, set aside. In the bottom of a medium bowl, mash bananas into a chunky paste. Whisk the olive oil, molasses, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and the vanilla into the bananas until blended.
Switch to a large rubber spatula. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, stirring gently until they disappear and the batter is smooth.
Pour batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake 40 to 65 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. After 30 minutes in the oven, check the bread for color. If it looks like it is browning too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil.
When the bread is done, transfer it, in the pan, to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Unmold the bread and place right side up on the rack. Cool completely.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Store the banana bread at room temperature up to 2 days, in the refrigerator up to 5 days, or in the freezer up to 3 months.
- How to make healthy banana muffins: Divide the batter between muffin cups then bake at 350 degrees F until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Gluten-free banana bread: Use you favorite store-bought gluten-free flour blend. We are partial to Bob’s Red Mill.
- Vegan / egg-free banana bread: Replace the eggs with flax eggs. To make 2 flax eggs, mix 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (ground raw flaxseed) with 5 tablespoons water. Set it aside for about 5 minutes to thicken then use to replace the eggs in the recipe.
- Use 100% whole wheat flour: Replace the all-purpose flour with an equal amount of whole wheat flour or use white whole wheat flour. If the batter seems too thick, thin it out with a tablespoon or so of water or milk.
- Using less oil: 5 tablespoons of olive oil seemed just right for lowering the fat, while keeping the bread nice and moist. To reduce the fat even more, you can try replacing some or all of the oil with applesauce.