Banana bread is the absolute food trend and is more popular in Germany than ever before. As a result, searches for banana bread have been on the rise for the past few years, as it's being advertised as a healthy substitute for cake. Banana bread now belongs in every food blog, in every trendy café and also in your own kitchen. Banana bread was discovered around 1933 and originally comes from the USA, where it is particularly popular.
But how healthy is the popular banana bread? In this article you will find out whether the delicious banana bread is really that healthy and which ingredients you should pay attention to in order to be able to prepare it as a healthy alternative to cake.
the essentials in brief
- The popularity of banana bread in Germany has been steadily increasing for the last few years and it is now established as a classic, healthy alternative to cake.
- Depending on the choice of ingredients, you can prepare the banana bread sugar-free, low-calorie or vegan.
- For a healthy banana bread, you should omit some of the ingredients in the classic recipe or replace them with healthier alternatives.
Banana Bread: What you should know
In the following, all important questions about banana bread will be answered. Above all, we will reveal to what extent banana bread is healthy and how it is prepared.
What is banana bread?
Banana bread is actually a cake that traditionally consists of mashed and usually ripened bananas, flour, sugar, baking powder, butter and milk. You can also add cinnamon, vanilla, nuts and other ingredients of your choice. Banana bread is baked in a loaf pan and then sliced like loaves of bread and is often served for breakfast or as a snack between meals.
How healthy is banana bread?
Banana bread is very nutritious due to its high carbohydrate content. It therefore serves as an ideal source of energy . The classic banana bread, as known from the USA, contains a lot of sugar and wheat flour, but you don't need any additional spread or cold cuts for banana bread compared to other types of bread.
What Makes Banana Bread Healthy?
The banana bread contains many good vitamins such as vitamin B6, which strengthens the immune system, important and healthy minerals and fiber, which are good for digestion, keep you full for a long time and regulate blood sugar levels.(1)
The mineral potassium contained in bananas can also prevent heart disease and helps with muscle formation and that your body does not become too acidic . (2) According to a Japanese study, the fructose in bananas that have ripened brown should also strengthen the immune system.(3)
Banana bread contains important vitamins and healthy minerals and fiber.
Banana bread provides a lot of energy and good substances with the bananas. Unless you incorporate as many unhealthy ingredients into the batter as white refined sugar or wheat flour, you can make thoroughly healthy banana bread. For an extra fiber boost, you can integrate different nuts or oatmeal into the bread.
Can you also make low-calorie banana bread?
Due to the high content of wheat flour in classic banana bread, it is less low in calories than you might think. The bread from the USA is often not real bread, as is known from Germany, but rather resembles a juicy and sweet cake. In the meantime, however, you can prepare the banana bread in countless variations, including low-calorie ones.
Ripe bananas give off a particularly strong but natural sweetness. (Image Source: Hitoshi Namura / Unsplash)
It is enough to modify the classic recipe a little, for example by replacing the wheat flour with almond flour or coconut flour. These two types of flour are well suited as low-calorie and mineral-rich alternatives to wheat flour for baking.
How do you prepare vegan banana bread?
The vegan version of banana bread is also very tasty and is just as easy to prepare as classic banana bread. You can simply substitute the eggs in the recipe or omit them entirely. The mashed bananas bind the batter well with the liquid, so you can skip the eggs. The cake will be delicious and moist even without an egg.
For a firmer consistency, however, you can also use egg substitutes or thickeners such as oatmeal as an alternative. Instead of eggs, you can easily add 3 - 4 tablespoons of ground oatmeal per egg to the dough. Oatmeal is the perfect substitute for binding agents and also makes the bread more nutritious.
As a natural protein substitute, you can add various nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds to the recipe as required. You can then swap out the animal-based butter, which is usually in the basic recipe, for plant-based margarine or plant-based oil like coconut oil. You can also add cocoa nibs or dried fruit to your vegan banana bread
What ingredients should you avoid in banana bread?
For the perfect healthy banana bread you should do without, reduce or change some ingredients. In this part we want to show you which ingredients you should watch out for:
- wheat flour
With the following ingredients, we will now explain in more detail what you should consider.
The original banana bread recipe typically uses a lot of unhealthy refined sugars.(4) However, you can omit that for the healthy and sugar-free version. Because the bread has a natural sweetness due to the high fructose content of the ripened bananas. Ripened bananas contain so much sugar that they can be ideally substituted as natural sweeteners instead of unhealthy refined sugars.
Ripened bananas also provide more and longer energy.(5) However, if you want it extra sweet and the sweetness from the bananas is not enough for you, you can also use other natural sweeteners such as dates or agave syrup. Both give off a stronger and natural sweetness and are also healthier than regular sugar.
Wheat flour is not inherently unhealthy, but flour is high in empty calories and high in carbohydrates.(6) There are many healthier alternatives to wheat flour that are higher in fiber and have better nutrients. For example, you can use whole wheat flour, rye flour, or spelled flour, which make a healthier mix with the bananas.
You can also use coconut flour or almond flour instead of wheat flour. Both types of flour contain fewer carbohydrates than wheat flour. But if you want to do without flour completely, you can also replace flour with oatmeal.
Many traditional recipes use a lot of butter for banana bread, leaving the bread unnecessarily high in saturated fat, which affects cholesterol levels. You should therefore be careful not to eat too much butter or other saturated fats. (7) You can replace the butter with vegetable margarine, vegetable oil such as coconut oil, linseed or chia seeds. These alternatives are ideal as a butter substitute, especially for vegans.
Eggs are a basic ingredient in almost every cake recipe, eggs are also present in the classic banana bread recipe. Often it is an average of 2-3 eggs depending on the recipe. The amount of eggs is debatable. Although eggs provide the body with energy and, in addition to their high protein content, also contain essential minerals and vitamins such as biotin, vitamin D and B12 and are ideal as a source of protein, you should still be aware of the high cholesterol content.
Accordingly, one should not overdo the consumption of eggs. (7) Instead of eggs in banana bread, you can use egg substitutes or binding agents such as oatmeal, as for the vegan version. Oatmeal is the perfect binding agent and also makes the bread more nutritious. As a natural protein substitute, you can add various nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds to the recipe as required.
Banana bread is a versatile and delicious snack for in between. Through the bananas you have many healthy substances for the body. Depending on your preferences, you can easily change the basic recipe to create a healthier banana bread. You should replace some of the original ingredients with healthier alternatives or leave them out entirely.
Whether low-calorie, vegan or gluten-free, the banana bread can be changed as you like and you can prepare and enjoy it in a variety of ways, whether with healthy cocoa nibs for chocolate lovers or with additional dried fruit for breakfast or as a snack on the go.
- apotheken-umschau.de: Banana: why it is crooked - and healthy. March 28, 2014 Source
- herzzentrum.de: How potassium affects the heart. Benjamin Waschow February 22, 2018 Source
- Iwasawa H, Yamazaki M, Differences in Biological Response Modifier-like Activities According to the Strain and Maturity of Bananas. April 14, 2008 source
- quarks.de: How harmful is sugar? June 12, 2019 Source
- augsburger-allgemein.de: Ripe bananas provide energy for longer. October 11, 2016 Source
- Verbraucherzentrale-bayern.de: What are "empty" calories? January 05, 2017 Source
- herzstiftung.de: Eggs: Cholesterol risk at the breakfast table? Prof. Dr. medical Helmut GohlkeSource