This healthy whole wheat banana nut bread swaps half of the oil for unsweetened applesauce, reduces the amount of sugar, and subs in whole wheat flour– just enough changes to feel good about eating it for breakfast without sacrificing the flavor.
Of all the delicious, carb-y foods in the world, banana bread holds an extra special place in my heart. Growing up, my mom always made us a delicious healthy breakfast before school, and we rotated through things like oatmeal, smoothies, scrambled eggs, and muffins. My personal favorite, though, was always a thick slice of whole wheat banana nut bread.
Banana bread was actually one of the first things I learned how to bake when I was 7 or 8, and that’s when I quickly found out that a bunch of speckled bananas sitting on the counter was a veryyyy good thing.I’ve developed this whole wheat banana bread recipe using a few simple healthy swaps that don’t sacrifice the flavor. (Trust me, I’d rather eat a plateful of raw Brussels sprouts than a bland or dry piece of banana bread!) These swaps help me feel better about enjoying banana bread for a breakfast or snack since its nutritional stats no longer resemble straight-up cake.
First, I cut back on the amount of sugar in the recipe since ripe bananas are naturally sweet.
Second, I sub in whole wheat pastry (or spelt/kamut) flour for the white flour to add some extra fiber and staying power to the bread.
Third, I use a healthier oil like olive oil, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil rather than canola or vegetable oil.
Finally, I swap half of the oil for unsweetened applesauce to cut back some of the calories. I’ve found that swapping out more than half of the oil does change the texture of the bread, so I like using a combination of half applesauce and half oil rather than all applesauce. I typically use a lunchbox-size cup of applesauce so I don’t have an entire jar of applesauce open in the fridge afterwards.
The result is a perfectly moist, healthier whole wheat banana nut bread with a great texture and just the right amount of sweetness.
If you have leftover bread after the first day or two, you can wrap it in aluminum foil, freeze it, and defrost it in the fridge overnight for breakfast the next morning. It freezes perfectly!
If you try this healthy whole wheat banana bread, let me know in a comment (with a star rating!) or take a photo and tag me @livbane on Instagram! I’d love to see!
Healthier Banana Walnut Bread
- 3 cups whole-wheat flour*
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup coconut sugar (can sub regular sugar)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, measured in liquid state or avocado/grapeseed oil
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 6 ripe, spotted bananas
- 1/2 cup chopped walnut pieces
- Preheat oven to 350. Optional: toast walnuts in the preheated oven for 6-7 minutes on a small baking sheet, or until slightly darkened and fragrant.
- While the walnuts are toasting, mix flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add oil, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla and stir until flour is just barely incorporated into the wet ingredients, being careful not to over mix. Add mashed bananas and nuts and stir until incorporated.
- Grease two 9x5-inch loaf pans and fill, making sure they are filled with the same amount of batter for even cooking. Bake at 350 for 48-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out mostly clean. Tent tops of the loaves with aluminum foil during the last 15-20 minutes of baking if necessary to prevent them from becoming overly browned.
- Wrap loves in foil and keep in refrigerator for up to 2 days. To freeze, wrap loaves or individual slices of banana bread in aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or unwrap foil, wrap in a paper towel, and defrost in microwave.
Alternatively, you can use half unbleached white flour and half 100% whole-wheat flour.
A Healthy Liv original/adapted from a family recipe