My friend Kristin makes the best banana bread. So when I recently had some over-ripe bananas sitting on my counter, I begged her for her recipe and she graciously shared. Since I can’t leave well enough alone, I tweaked Kristin’s recipe to make a healthier version. This low calorie One Bowl Whole Wheat Banana Bread comes together in about 10 minutes with just a handful of basic pantry staples!
I’ve tried a lot of “healthy” or “whole wheat” banana bread recipes over the years, but they always seem to come out dry, too dense, or lacking in flavor. I call this recipe The Perfect One Bowl Whole Wheat Banana Bread because it’s…perfect!
Every mom needs a staple go-to easy banana bread recipe that she can turn to whenever she has overripe bananas sitting on the counter. This particular recipe is simple, it's kid-approved, and it yields a perfectly moist loaf of bread every single time.
Plus, you can't beat the easy cleanup with just one bowl!
How to Make Banana Bread Healthy (and Still Delicious)!
Sure, you could swap out all of the white flour for whole wheat flour, omit sugar, and use only pureed fruit in lieu of fat in the recipe. But you know what? It probably won't taste very good!
The ideal loaf of healthy banana bread tastes just as good as the original, with a few tweaks to keep the calories, fat, and sugar in check. Here's what I did:
- Substitute whole wheat flour for half of the all-purpose flour. The combination of flours gives you the benefits of the whole grains, but prevents the loaf from turning into a dense, dry brick that you might get from 100% whole wheat.
- Decrease the amount of refined sugar to just ½ cup for the entire loaf. The rest of the sweetness comes from the natural sugars in the fruit.
- Use just a tiny bit of butter for flavor and fat, but otherwise use the fruit purees for moisture.
How many cups is one mashed banana?
This can be tricky! If a recipe calls for 3 bananas, how much is that? We all know that measurements are important in baking, so the difference between a very small banana and a very large banana can be significant when baking a loaf of banana bread.
My recipe calls for 3-4 mashed bananas. One large banana yields about ½ cup mashed, so I used 3 large bananas for a total of about 1 ½ cups. If you're working with small bananas, you'll need at least 4 (and maybe even 5). Measuring is always the safest way to make sure that your banana bread turns out perfectly moist, sweet and delicious!
Here are a few great ways to adapt this One Bowl Whole Wheat Banana Bread:
- Stir in some mix-in's! My boys love miniature chocolate chips stirred into the batter. Fresh (or frozen) blueberries are also a nice addition (just like I used in these Whole Wheat Banana Blueberry Muffins). There's no need to measure the add-in's: just toss in a handful or two, to taste!
- Bake the batter in mini loaf pans! You can easily freeze the extra loaves of banana bread for a later time. With mini loaf pans like these, your banana bread will bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes.
- Add some spices! I love to stir in about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, but a dash of nutmeg would also be a delicious addition.
Feel free to enjoy this delicious treat for breakfast or for snack – guilt free. It's a low-calorie option that satisfies your sweet tooth and makes the little ones very happy! It maintains all of the great flavors and textures from Kristin’s original recipe, but with a healthier profile. Basically, this is the best of both worlds!
More easy banana recipes that you might enjoy:
The Perfect One Bowl Whole Wheat Banana Bread
- 3-4 very ripe bananas, mashed (I used 3 large bananas to total 1.5 cups mashed)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8.5-inch by 4.5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- Place mashed bananas, melted butter, and applesauce in a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to mix together.
- Add sugar, egg, and vanilla to banana mixture. Stir until well blended.
- Sprinkle baking soda and salt over mixture and stir until well blended.
- Add whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour last, stirring just until combined. Be careful not to over-mix or your bread will be tough.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 35-55 minutes, or until brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Be careful not to over-bake your loaf, so check it early on. Mine usually only takes about 45 minutes to cook.
- Cool on a wire rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.
This recipe was originally published in July, 2013. The photos were updated in August, 2018.
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