I love me some deliciously moist and sweet banana bread, but it’s so hard to find recipes that aren’t overrun with unnecessary fats and sugars. For example, a recently viral celebrity banana bread recipe is laden with 500 calories, 22 grams of fat, and 73 grams of carbs in just one serving! Yikes! So, if I wanted to continue enjoying banana bread without the regret of indigestion and a sugar coma, I had to take matters into my own hands. (If you’re looking for other healthy alternatives to sweet treats, check out our oatmeal cookie and mug cake recipes.)
With the help of LadyBoss® Nikki Trahan, we’ve created this perfectly delectable protein banana bread that’s super healthy, without sacrificing that goodness you know! Obviously, it’s impossible to create a completely sugar-free banana bread since bananas have natural sugars. But this recipe doesn’t have any sugar aside from the good, natural kind. This healthy banana bread recipe boasts only 140 calories, 5 grams of fat, 16 grams of carbs, and an amazing 8 grams of protein per slice! And it’s NOT dry, NOT crumbly, and does NOT taste like cardboard. It’s pretty much magic that it can be so good for you and still be so amazingly moist and scrumptious. Hopefully, you’ll be adding this to your arsenal of healthy bread recipes!
**Plus, it has no added sugars, it’s vegan, dairy-free, wheat-free, and gluten-free (depending on the protein powder used)
The Primary Ingredient: The Humble, Healthy Banana
The humble banana has gotten some bad press, but it’s unwarranted. Some believe that bananas wreak havoc on blood sugar levels leading to excessive weight gain. But that’s simply not true. Contrary to what you may have heard, bananas have a low-glycemic index of around 51. Low-GI foods–with a glycemic index of less than 55–release their sugar into the bloodstream slowly. This means that bananas do not lead to quick blood sugar spikes. Greener bananas have a slightly lower GI, but even ripe bananas generally fall below 55.
Banana Health Benefits
According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, bananas provide the following health benefits:
- Cardiovascular Health – You may have heard that bananas are an excellent source of potassium. Potassium is very important for the function of the heart, electrolyte balance, and blood pressure control.
- Digestive Health – Bananas are bland and easy to digest, and for this reason are included in the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) that are recommended for upset stomachs. Bananas also contain resistant starch that may promote gut healing.
- Weight Control – As stated above, the banana is a low-GI food that can help maintain regular blood sugar levels. They’re full of fiber, they’re low in calories, and their resistant starch can help you to feel fuller longer and control your cravings.
You can get all of these beneficial nutrients by eating just one banana, or from eating this delicious healthy banana bread:
- Vitamin B6 – among other uses, it supports immune function and brain health
- Fiber – important for digestion, fiber helps control blood sugar levels and hunger
- Potassium – maintains cell fluid balance and assists in muscle contraction and blood pressure regulation
- Magnesium – required for energy production and for many structural elements in the body
- Vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant that helps with infection control and wound healing
- Manganese – plays a role in blood clotting and is a cofactor in many enzymatic reactions in the body
Are you dying for healthy banana bread right now and don’t have ripe bananas? Or are you like most of us moms that are always buying bananas that don’t get eaten fast enough? Here are some banana bread baking tips for you:
- The resistant starch in green bananas gradually turns into sugars as bananas ripen, this is why they become sweeter as they turn browner. So, for really sweet banana bread the riper the better! If you’ve got a hankering for banana bread but only green bananas, gimmedelicious.com recommends that you place the bananas in a 300° Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes or until dark brown.
- If you want to gradually speed up the ripening process, you can place the bananas in a brown paper bag. Harvard’s School of Public Health also teaches that ripe fruits emit ethylene gas which can cause nearby bananas to ripen more quickly.
- Another tip from Harvard: using a banana hanger helps to distribute oxygen evenly over the surface area of the bananas and prevents extra pressure and moisture from affecting the bottom of the bunch that may lead to quicker ripening.
- If your bananas are ripening before you’re ready to bake, put those brown bananas in the freezer to use later. Just make sure to let them thaw before you try to mix up your recipe. Frozen bananas ain’t gonna mash very well. Go ahead and toss any of that liquid that separates from the banana while it thaws.
The Secondary Ingredient: The Versatile Almond
In this recipe, we use almonds in various forms: almond butter, almond milk, and almond flour. I’m crazy about almonds! And for good reason. Look at all of their health benefits below.
Almond Health Benefits
According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, it’s suggested that almonds are great for heart health as they lower total cholesterol levels and the “bad” cholesterol LDL, they help to lower inflammation, and they have antioxidant effects.
You may be avoiding almonds and nuts in general because they’re high in calories and fat. But, scientific studies do not show that nuts and weight gain are correlated. In fact, they have a high satiety quotient, meaning they fill you up and keep you satisfied longer.
Almonds may be small, but they be mighty. Check out all of the nutrients that are packed into one small almond:
- Vitamin E – an antioxidant that fights off free radicals that damage cells
- Monounsaturated fats – improves blood cholesterol levels, stabilizes heart rhythms, alleviates inflammation
- Fiber – important for digestion, fiber helps control blood sugar levels and hunger
- Biotin – it’s suggested that biotin can help to strengthen hair, nails, and skin
- Minerals: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium – needed to build strong healthy bones
- Trace minerals: Copper – lacking copper is associated with anemia and weak bones
- Phytonutrients, specifically flavonoids, plant sterols, phenolic acids – slows the aging process and decreases the risk of certain diseases
The Secret Ingredient: Protein Powder
That’s enough about bananas and almonds, right? Now let’s get back to baking!! For this healthy banana bread recipe, you can use any vanilla-flavored protein powder that is safe for baking. There is an overwhelming amount of protein varieties: soy, pea, hemp, rice, egg white, whey, casein, etc. So how do you know which to go with? This article from a teaspoonofspice.com gives some great insights on baking with different kinds of protein powder.
I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend my personal favorite protein powder LadyBoss® LEAN. It is an all-in-one nutritional meal replacement shake mix scientifically-formulated specifically for women. It’s a whey-based protein which is a dairy, non-vegan protein source. Not only is LadyBoss® LEAN packed with protein, but it also has a full range of vitamins and minerals, digestive enzymes, and craving control! So this incredible healthy banana bread can actually be a meal replacement. It can satisfy your sweet tooth while crushing your cravings!!
Protein Health Benefits
When I say protein, you probably think of muscles, am I right? Did you know that you also have protein in your bones, nails, skin, hair and just about every other body part you can think of? You are quite literally made of protein. Protein is also used to regulate chemical reactions throughout your body. Without protein, your blood cells wouldn’t even be able to hold on to oxygen.
So, it goes without being said that getting a sufficient amount of protein is crucial to your health. But how much does a woman need?
Different sources recommend different amounts, but it’s generally accepted for both men and women that 10 to 35 percent of your calories should come from protein. So going with the standard 2000 calories a day example, that’s 200 to 700 calories from protein, which equals 50-175 grams.
I can’t wait for you to try this! I’m so proud of it!! As was once said, “This is no longer my banana bread, this is *our* [healthy] banana bread.” And it’s packed with protein! Enjoy!