Between banana bread, smoothies, nice-creams, and fruit bowls, my family goes through a lot of bananas. I would not say that they are my favorite fruit, but they are certainly one of the most versatile.
They can act as a non-processed grab & go snack.
You can dehydrate them to make chips.
You can roast them into caramelized goodness.
Top one with almond butter and you have an excellent post workout snack.
They can also be used to sweeten all sorts of things, not just banana bread. We love making banana blender pancakes, mixing them with yogurt, and sweetening our oatmeal with them.
Clearly, I am a fan. Yet, a lot of clients ask if it’s okay to eat bananas, worried about the sugar content. And while bananas do contain sugar, like all fruit, they also come packaged with lots of good stuff. They contain potassium, magnesium, B6, fiber, manganese, and Vitamin C. One serving, or one medium ripe banana, provides about 110 calories, 0 grams fat, 1 gram protein, 28 grams carbohydrate, 15 grams sugar (naturally occurring), 3 grams fiber, and 450 mg potassium. They are also low in fructose and contain inulin, a type of fiber that stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the gut. They are also rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that helps to regulate blood sugar.
Unless you are following the keto diet or have an allergy or sensitivity to bananas, they can 100% be part of a healthy diet. Just remember to follow the balanced plate rule and combine them with some protein and healthy fat. So…
· Banana + Almond Butter
· Banana + Handful of Walnuts
· Banana + Turkey and Avocado Roll-ups
· Banana + organic Greek yogurt
· Banana + organic Almond yogurt + hemp seeds
Another benefit of bananas is that once they start to brown, you don’t have to throw them away. I am a big fan of not wasting food. Spotted and browning bananas mean one of two things in my house. They are either destined to be peeled, chunked, and stored in the freezer for smoothies and nice-creams. Or… on rainy, icky days like today, they are much more likely to end up getting baked into a delicious, moist, and soul nourishing loaf of banana bread. There is something that is just so comforting about biting into a thick slice, still warm from the oven, slathered with a bit of nut butter or coconut mana.
Since I don’t eat gluten, and rarely feed my family refined sugar and white flour, I have had to make some adjustments to the classic recipe. Let’s be honest, traditional banana bread is little more than cake. Fortunately, with a bit of patience and luck in the kitchen, it is possible to upgrade any treat into a healthy version, that is every bit as delicious as the original.
That is exactly what I have done with this banana bread. Instead of nutrient stripped white flour, it is made with coconut and almond flours. Both are nutrient dense and gluten free. I try to use coconut flour whenever possible due to its high fiber and MCT (medium chain triglyceride) content. It can be a little fussy to work with, and sometimes results in a weird texture. Not at all the case here.
I also like to fold some superfoods into the batter. Our favorite add-ins are pecans, walnuts and 85% dark chocolate. All three are great sources of antioxidants and beneficial phytochemicals. Walnuts are also one of the few vegetarian sources of anti-inflammatory Omega-3s.
RECIPE: Gluten and Sugar Free Banana Bread
· 3 ripe bananas (2 mashed, 1 sliced)
· ¼ cup coconut flour
· ¾ cup almond flour
· ¾ tsp baking soda
· 1 tsp cinnamon
· 2 TBSP coconut oil, melted
· 1 tsp vanilla
· 1/4th cup honey
· 3 eggs
· ½ chopped nuts & dark chocolate
1. Set oven to 350F.
2. Line a loaf tin with parchment paper.
3. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together wet ingredients separately and then stir into the dry ingredients.
4. Fold in chocolate and nuts.
5. Pour batter into the loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes.
Note: Store loaf in the fridge. If you won’t eat it all in the next couple of days, consider pre-slicing and freezing the slices. They keep incredibly well in the freezer.