I’ve discovered a sneaky little trick to making the best healthy banana bread recipe in the whole wide world.
It’s a combination of things you see. Quality ingredients, extra ripe, brown-spotted bananas, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a touch of natural sweetener and of course all the love you’ve got to give.
Speaking of love, did you know that baking for those that you love is good for your well-being?
Seems silly, but creating a recipe from scratch, or even following the instructions for a recipe is putting in work to get to the final product. Often you’re baking to delight others, to show your gratitude, or as a way to express your emotions and how much you care for the person receiving the treats.
Baking is a productive therapy for some us. We bake and cook because food is an expression and showing of our love. It’s a way to say all of these things:
nice to meet you
I love you
you’re the best
I appreciate you
It’s communication without words. Some bake nourishing bread and meals when you’re sick, others comfort friends and family with prepared meals when they’re in their darkest moments. We even break bread when we meet new friends out for dinner; we invite them into our homes to gather around a table and enjoy the nourishment and pleasure of food together.
The most beautiful thing about baking is how it connects us with others. It’s all about love. I began baking some of my Dad’s recipes (including his famous yellow cake) to help heal my grief and to work through emotions. Baking his cake for others was a way to bring his memory to life and to thank him for being my Dad. Plain and simple as that. I still bake for my Dad to this day, and I bake for everyone else in my life too. Because frankly I love the people in my life and the expression of baking something not only gives me joy, but it brings a smile to another’s face, even in the craziest, most raw emotional times in our lives.
Every now and then, I get readers who ask me how I manage to bake and still stay fit. Or even how I can eat cookies. Guys, let me tell you something: it isn’t about the can and the can’ts. It’s about the FEELING I get from giving to others. It’s also about how my joy and passion shine through when I’m trying to figure out how to make a new chocolate chip cookie recipe, or how I’ll make my donuts fluffier. It’s creative and meaningful to me.
It’s not about weight or fitness, it’s about love and nourishment. It’s about emotions and well-being.
Ya feel me?!
So now that I’ve gotten all heavy on you (on a Monday to say the least), I challenge you bake a little something for someone you love. This banana bread is the perfect recipe to try out because not only is is simple and easy to make (hello one bowl recipe!), but it’s also nourishing and SO SO delicious.
It’s made with whole wheat pastry flour, a favorite flour of mine for baking whole grain treats. Many of you ask about whole wheat pastry flour, and basically it’s just a lighter, finer version of regular whole wheat flour, still with all the nutritional benefits of whole grain flour. I use it in EVERYTHING.
This bread is also naturally sweetened with a touch of pure maple syrup, my favorite sweetener out there. The bread also gets a little boost of protein thanks to eggs and greek yogurt.
SEE HOW TO MAKE THE HEALTHY BANANA BREAD RECIPE:
Trust me when I say it’s REALLY REALLY FREAKING AMAZING. You can easily add chocolate chips or walnuts to the batter if that’s your thing, or just enjoy it as is with a little nut butter on top.
Other banana recipes you might like:
If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment below and rate the recipe! You can also snap and picture and post it on Instagram using the hashtag #ambitiouskitchen. And of course be sure to follow Ambitious Kitchen on Instagram. xo!
My Favorite Healthy Banana Bread Recipe
Amazing healthy banana bread made with whole wheat flour, coconut oil, protein packed greek yogurt and naturally sweetened with a touch of pure maple syrup. Everyone loves this bread & it can easily be made into muffins!
- 1 heaping cup mashed ripe banana (make sure to measure out but this is about 3 medium bananas)
- 2 eggs, at room temperature (very important to be at room temp)
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (whole milk or 2% is best)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled (can also use melted butter or brown butter)
- 1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour*
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Optional add-ins: ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans, ½ cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch pan with parchment paper and grease the inside of the pan to prevent sticking.
In a large bowl mix together the mashed banana, eggs, maple syrup, greek yogurt and vanilla extract to a bowl until well combined. Mix in the melted and cooled coconut oil. (OR if you prefer, you can add all the wet ingredients to a blender to combine.)
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
Mix together wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix. At this point you can fold in an of the following: ½ cup chopped walnuts, ½ cup chocolate chips or 3/4 cup blueberries.
Pour banana bread batter into prepared pan. Optional but not required: split a banana down the middle vertically then add on top of the batter or just add banana slices on top, side by side.
Bake for 45-60 minutes or until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Allow bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Once bread is cool, cut into 12 slices. Serve with nut butter spread on top for a healthy snack or breakfast on the go.
*If you'd like you can feel free to use 1 cup whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup all purpose flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour.
TO MAKE MUFFINS: Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or use liners. To be safe, I always spray the inside of the liners too. Prepare muffin batter as directed, then divide evenly between liners. Bake for 18-24 minutes at 350 degrees or until tester comes out clean.
TO MAKE GLUTEN FREE: Use chickpea flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour and add use 1/3 cup coconut oil instead of 1/4 cup.
TO MAKE DAIRY FREE: Sub 1/3 cup almond milk for the greek yogurt.
TO MAKE VEGAN: Use 2 flax eggs instead of regular eggs and use almond milk instead of greek yogurt.