Breakfast

5 Healthy Hacks For The Best Banana Bread Ever

One of the most viral recipes on the internet just got healthier.

By: Rebecca Jacobs

Beyond its claim to fame as a trendy breakfast or sweet treat, banana bread is delicious, simple to whip up, and easily made healthy! All you need is a handful of healthy banana bread ingredients (think: oats, bananas, and maybe even some superfoods), and you’ve got a healthy breakfast or snack waiting to be enjoyed! 

And, to ensure you enjoy all of the benefits of banana bread, we’re letting you in on our top five favorite hacks to uplevel your healthy banana bread recipes. 

Get ready because healthy banana bread recipes and tips are coming your way — and they’re more delicious than ever.   

Ready, set, get baking!

Is Banana Bread Healthy?

Good news — easy healthy banana bread does exist! And, it’s just as delicious (if not more) as sugar-filled, calorie-laden baked banana goods. Healthy baking is all about choosing nutritious ingredients while keeping dietary preferences and allergies in mind. Yep, as simple as that! 

Healthy banana bread recipes can be:

  • Gluten-free or grain-free
  • Vegan
  • Enjoyed as a healthy breakfast or healthy snack (even as a dessert!)
  • Customized to any allergies or food preferences (hello low-sugar, protein-rich, or gluten-free banana bread)
  • Flavored for all your cravings (think: chocolate chip, blueberry, and cinnamon walnut banana bread… yum).

5 Tips to Make Healthy Banana Bread 

#1 Use Ripe Bananas As The Star Sweetener

There’s a science to making the most mouth-wateringly delicious banana bread, and it all starts with choosing the right banana bread ingredients. Namely, ripe bananas! This makes sense, right? I mean, bananas are the shining star in this staple comfort food recipe, so choosing the perfect bananas is key (for both optimal banana bread nutrition and taste!).

Here’s what you need to know about the best bananas for banana bread: the only real rule here? Choose super ripe bananas!! Your banana should be soft and spotty, even dark brown! The riper it is, the sweetener it is. And, this is crucial when it comes to making healthy banana bread recipes that are low sugar. Using bananas as the star sweetener allows you to cut calories and avoid excess sugar (since the bananas are doing the sweetening for you!). 

So, before you compost those “too far gone” spotty bananas, know there’s a healthy banana bread recipe calling their name. 

Don’t have any overripe bananas? You have options!

If you have a few days: Place your unripe bananas in a brown paper bag to help speed up the ripening process.

If you don’t have ripe bananas on hand: Add an extra tablespoon or two of coconut sugar, pure maple syrup, or raw honey for that added sweetness you would normally get from those super ripe bananas.

#2 Add Some Superfoods 

Superfoods are a game-changer for enhancing banana bread nutrition and transforming your banana bread ingredients into a healthy treat. 

Some of our favorite add-ins include superfoods such as: 

  • Raw cacao nibs 
  • Flax, chia, or hemp seeds
  • Shredded coconut 
  • Chopped walnuts 
  • Nut or seed butter 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Collagen peptides

#3 Make it Allergy Friendly 

One of the benefits of healthy baking? Banana bread ingredients can easily be customized for any dietary needs or food preferences. 

Looking for a dairy and gluten-free alternative? We got you. Healthy baking made simple.

Make it Gluten-Free 

  • Make a gluten-free banana bread by swapping out regular wheat-based flour for an all-purpose 1:1 gluten-free flour blend (like Bob’s Red Mills). Or, try a homemade 1-ingredient gluten-free oat flour!
  • Need a grain-free alternative? Try almond flour! 

Make it Dairy-Free

  • Use coconut oil in place of butter 
  • Or, try nut and seed butters like granola butter, sunflower seed butter, or macadamia butter (the brand Milkadamia is delicious) 

Make it Vegan 

To make easy healthy banana bread that’s vegan-friendly, use the dairy-free swaps above, and instead of eggs, use flax eggs. Here’s how to make a flax egg to use in vegan banana bread. 

  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed meal 
  • 3 tbsp warm water 

Whisk the flaxseed meal and water together and allow it to sit out for 10-15 minutes or until it forms a gel-like consistency.

#4 Up the Protein

To make banana bread healthy and filling enough to eat for breakfast, consider upping the protein a bit by adding a scoop of collagen peptides. Seriously, you won’t taste it, and your gut health will thank you. 

And if you want to keep it vegan while up-leveling your banana bread nutrition, try mixing in these plant protein additions:

  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Chopped nuts like almonds or walnuts 
  • Nut or seed butter like pumpkin or almond

#5 Get Savvy With Sweeteners 

While traditional banana bread is delish, we can make it a tad healthier by getting creative with sweeteners. Feel free to mix some of these together, like using 50% coconut sugar and 50% maple sugar… yum! 

Here are some of our go-to healthier sweetener picks for banana bread: 

Coconut Sugar: Use at a 1: 1 ratio with sugar. 

Maple Sugar: Use at a 1: 1 ratio with sugar. 

Honey & Pure Maple Syrup: For each cup of sugar your recipe calls for, cut it in half with a liquid natural sweetener to make sure the bread doesn’t come out too moist.  

Or, keep it low-sugar by subbing 50% of the added sugar for equal amounts of ripe mashed banana or unsweetened apple sauce! For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of coconut sugar, use ½ cup of coconut sugar and ½ cup of applesauce or mashed banana.

3 Additional Ways to Enjoy Your Banana Bread

The benefits of banana bread? Leftovers!! You can totally deconstruct your healthy banana bread ingredients and transform them into some delicious healthy breakfasts or snacks. 

Here are some of our go-to ways to use up leftover banana bread. 

Crumbled Banana Bread Smoothie Or Yogurt Bowl 

Cut calories and skip the heavy pour of granola — instead, crumble some banana bread on top of a smoothie or yogurt bowl. 

Banana Bread French Toast 

Indulge in healthy baking and cook banana bread slices in coconut oil to create a healthy French toast.

Banana Bread Sandwich 

Make a gluten-free banana bread nut butter sandwich by swapping out bread.

Bonus Tips to Make Sure Your Banana Bread Turns Into Perfection!

If you’re looking for a way to add some extra moisture to your banana bread, try using coconut oil in place of butter and use a liquid natural sweetener like raw honey or pure maple syrup. 

Oh, and if you’re feeling fancy, feel free to top your banana bread with a slab of coconut or almond butter, and enjoy it for breakfast with your morning cup of coffee or matcha tea — if you aren’t a morning person, banana bread + a healthy pumpkin spiced latte is an excuse in its own to get out of bed early!

Here’s The Only Healthy Banana Bread Recipe You’ll Need

Don’t think we’d leave you hanging without sharing our very own healthy banana bread recipe! Here’s how we like to take our banana bread nutrition up a notch.

Healthier Gluten & Dairy-Free Banana Bread 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose 1:1 gluten-free flour (like Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur Flour) 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted 
  • ½ cup coconut sugar 
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 6 overly ripe bananas, mashed 
  • ¼ cup cacao nibs (or dark chocolate chips) 
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts 

Directions:

Step #1: Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9X5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper or grease with coconut oil. 

Step #2: Add the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon to a large mixing bowl and mix well. 

Step #3: Mix together the melted coconut oil, coconut sugar, and maple syrup in a mixing bowl. Stir in the eggs and mashed banana and mix until well-combined. 

Step #4: Stir into the flour mixture and mix until combined. 

Step #5: Fold in the cacao nibs and chopped walnuts. 

Step #6: Pour into the parchment-lined loaf pan and bake for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Step #7: Allow the bread to cool for 20 minutes before slicing. 

Step #8: Serve with a slab of your favorite nut butter. 

Step #9: Enjoy! 

Perfect Your Banana Bread Game 

Use these tips to take your banana bread game to the next level. By adding some superfoods, making some healthy swaps, and topping off your healthy banana bread recipes with a slab of nutter butter, you have yourself a nourishing and wholesome breakfast or snack the whole family can enjoy. With these healthy tips, bite into all the benefits of banana bread!

Want more delicious recipes? Sign up for FitOn PRO and get access to recipes and personalized meal plans, including foods you’ll love to eat.