We are loving fall! Cooler temperatures and baking weather! Sadly, we haven’t yet been doing a lot of baking. With a crazy fall schedule of kids activities (dance, soccer, etc.) we’ve been turning to a lot of quick and easy items like our chocolate mug cake recipe that actually gets microwaved *gasp*. We at least did finally get around to making banana bread with all the bananas ripening on the counter. Much to the disappointment of the fruit flies who love it when we leave over-ripened fruit on the counter. For the below shared banana nut bread recipe I used an open bottle of boiled cider from King Arthur Flour as a sugar substitute. It’s the same cider I used in our boiled cider vinaigrette over pear and pecan salad recipe. But I had some remaining and I’ve been looking for some baked goods to use it with. I remembered a recipe my stepmother had for banana walnut muffins that used apple juice instead of sugar so this was the perfect chance to come up with a healthier banana nut bread recipe.
My family has a really good recipe for banana nut bread I haven’t made in ages. However, it does have shortening and tons of sugar in it. It’s good for special occasions, but we were looking for healthy banana nut bread we could make on a semi-regular basis and pack as a snack in kid lunches. If you’re a parent then you probably now it can be a challenge to finding snacks they love that you can feed them without a healthy serving of parental guilt. In other words, healthier snacks your kids still love. This healthy banana nut bread recipe fits the bill because it calls for a small amount of oil. We’ve moved away from basic canola oil and have tried to figure out a good oil to use in baked goods. I tend to use coconut oil, olive oil, or butter when baking. There’s also no sugar added to this banana bread. The sweet flavor comes from the ripe bananas and boiled cider. So although not perfect, this banana nut bread is a much better option than our old family recipe which tastes great, but is filled with excess sugar and oil.
As was the case with this banana nut bread recipe, I often find that the key to healthy baking is just taking a little bit more time considering a recipe and coming up with some healthy ingredient substitutions. And this doesn’t have to mean sacrificing taste! Yes, of course, sometimes there is a compromise. Let’s be honest…sugar and butter make things taste really good! But too much of a good thing can be trouble. You don’t want to over-indulge at the cost of your long-term health and well being. And so…we compromise. But, don’t panic, there are also times when I make healthy substitutions and find I like the new version even better! We often prefer whole wheat flour to regular flour. We have a chocolate cake recipe made with quinoa that’s AMAZING. So maintain hope, there’s flavor ahead.
If you’re looking for some help with your healthy substitutions I think this healthy baking ingredient substitution infographic from greatist.com is pretty handy. If you prefer list form they also have a list of 83 healthy recipe substitutions.
Alright, let’s get on to the healthy banana nut bread:
- 3-4 ripe mashed bananas
- 1/3 c . oil
- 1/4 c . boiled cider (or try apple juice or apple juice concentrate)
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 c . whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp . baking soda
- 2 tsp . baking powder
- 1/2 tsp . cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp . salt
- 1/3 c . chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a small bowl mix dry ingredients except nuts.
- In a large bowl mix together the mashed bananas, oil, eggs, and cider.
- Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir until just combined.
- Pour into a greased large bread pan or a medium and small pan (or make into muffins).
- Cook time will vary. Cook for approximately 30-40 minutes for smaller bread pans or approximately 45-50 minutes for large bread pan and when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
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