Lockdown saw the craze of banana bread baking really take flight, but did you know it’s super simple to just make a few swaps to your bake in order to make it more nutritionally beneficial?
Mays Al-Ali, a nutritionist at HealthyMays.com, has suggested swapping out for gluten-free flour that is low GI and of the complex carb variety – gluten is inflammatory and it’s very common for people to have gluten allergies or intolerances [these days], causing serious digestive discomfort – but pre-made gluten-free flour mixes have fewer benefits than the natural variants. So try to swap for oat, almond, or buckwheat flours.
They are naturally gluten-free but are also packed full of complex carbs (slower in their carb release) so help you to stay fuller for longer, as well as add an extra flavour boost in your bake.
Dairy is also inflammatory for some people causing increases in allergies and can also be very hard to digest. So making a dairy-free version and removing the butter/milk and replacing with a nut or seed butter is a winner in her book.
Eggs are super important as they are really beneficial. They are packed with choline in them, which is needed to make acetylcholine, our brain neurotransmitter that’s required for healthy memory, thinking and muscle movements, try to use organic free-range eggs where possible. But if you are following a vegan diet or want to avoid eggs, you can swap for a flax or chia egg.
By adding apple cider vinegar it can help to increase digestive enzyme production in the gut, which can help break down our food for optimum digestion. It also helps improve the flavour of baking especially when you are not using eggs (such as in a vegan bake) as it can help it to rise when combined with the baking powder
Try adding spices such as cinnamon. Cinnamon is wonderful not only for flavour but organic Ceylon cinnamon has been known to help balance blood sugars, helping you to stay fuller for longer, and help to reduce the incidence of Type 2 diabetes.
Finally, you can help reduce the amount of refined sugar by omitting the added sugar. Ripe bananas have enough sweetness in them, but if you are missing the sweeter bake, add in a few Medjool dates or if you really need, you can add coconut sugar. Coconut sugar has a lower GI than regular sugar so will cause a slower spike in insulin and blood sugars. Sugar is still sugar in her book so try limiting where possible, but it’s a great option if you can’t.
Healthy Banana Bread Subs Recipe by Mays Al-Ali
3 Medium Bananas (make sure they are very brown and spotty!)
2 1/2 cup gluten-free Rolled Oats, divided (not Instant) blended to make oat flour– can reduce to 2 cups and ½ cup raw cacao to make choc banana bread – can also use half buckwheat flour or almond flour – buckwheat makes it less fluffy more bread-like but its still yum
1/4 cup Coconut Sugar (can halve this or I omit it as I think bananas are sweet enough – or add 5 pitted dates)
1/4 cup Nut or Seed Butter
2 tbsp Ground Flax OR Ground Chia Seeds + 6 tbsp Water – or 2 eggs if not a vegan version
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tbsp organic Ceylon cinnamon (optional)
Learn more about Mays’, her nutrition therapy, yoga, and reiki workshops: https://www.healthymays.com/about
Cover photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash