Finding low-carb desserts and pastries can be challenging if you have dietary restrictions. Cakes, cookies, and breads often have too much sugar for those watching their intake. However, you can make low-carb, low-glycemic banana bread at home and satisfy your nutritional needs without negatively impacting your health.
Modern recipes let you make the best keto banana bread, sugar-free banana bread, and other twists that still taste delicious. Here’s a guide on healthy banana bread recipes and what you need to make them.
Why Try This Banana Bread Recipe
A low-carb banana bread recipe with real bananas still tastes like someone’s grandmother made it. While this banana bread has some carbs, creating a low-calorie, low-glycemic bread is possible. You only need a few ingredient swaps to ensure this sweet treat fits your needs.
Low-carb dishes are preferable if you want to focus on weight management while still eating your favorite foods. A Nutrients study in 2020 found that low-carb diets effectively improve weight loss and health when combined with cholesterol mitigation.1 Your low-carb diet should include about 130g of carbs daily, which could decrease depending on your dietary needs.
Ingredients to Make Keto Banana Bread
You may think baking bread is complicated and time-consuming, but this keto banana bread is simple with easy-to-find ingredients. Here are the ingredients low-carb banana bread calls for:
- Two Medium Bananas: Bananas are the central ingredient in banana bread. Is a banana classified as keto, considering its sugar content? Those on a keto diet may say no. However, it’s important to remember you’ll use two or three bananas spread out over an entire loaf. One medium banana contains about 28g of carbs and 15g of sugar.2 This recipe will use two bananas.
- Two Cups Almond Flour: Almond flour is a popular alternative to traditional flour because it’s low in carbs, high in fiber, and gluten-free. This healthy alternative also lowers the risk of cognitive diseases and improves digestive health.3 Banana bread with almond flour is denser than traditional banana bread and provides a nutty flavor.
- 1 Tsp Baking Soda: You need the banana bread to rise, so add a teaspoon of baking soda. Ensure your baking soda is fresh, as it alleviates some of the density in banana bread with almond flour. Baking powder can be used as a substitute, but the leavening power is less strong than baking soda. For a fluffier bread, using baking soda is optimal.
- 2 Tbsp of Sweetener: Banana bread recipes typically call for honey. However, replacing it with stevia or other alternatives makes sugar-free banana bread. Stevia is an excellent sweetener because it has zero calories and is less likely to cause blood sugar spikes.4 Other sweeteners that could be used include monk fruit and erythritol.
- Three Large Eggs: Eggs are crucial because they’re your primary binder. Plus, they give your low-carb banana bread a moist texture and compensate for the denseness of almond flour. Eggs are a solid source of protein and fit well into keto diets.
- ¼ Cup Olive Oil or Coconut Oil: A fat source and oil is crucial to making the bread tender and easy to slice.
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts: While walnuts are optional, they’re a terrific addition to banana nut bread. Walnuts, macadamia nuts, and pecans are suitable for keto banana bread because they’re high in fat and protein without adding carbs. A half-cup of walnuts provides about 9g of protein and 4g of fiber.5
- 2 Tsp Cinnamon: Cinnamon adds warmth and extra flavor to banana bread. A little bit of this spice goes a long way, but don’t be afraid to use it liberally if you enjoy the flavor.
- 1/4 Tsp Salt: Banana bread may be too sweet for some, so you need a quarter teaspoon of salt to balance the flavors. Salt also enhances the texture by making your low-carb banana bread fluffier and assists in preservation.
Banana Bread Alternatives to This Recipe
Low-carb banana bread is flexible because you can easily swap and add ingredients. Here are a few adjustments you can make to give your healthy banana bread a different taste.
Almond flour banana bread can be denser; add milk to moisten it. Use plant-based milk, such as unsweetened almond or cashew milk, to make banana bread more keto-friendly, dairy-free, and vegan. About 44% of consumers drink plant-based milk over dairy milk, so this swap makes banana bread more inclusive.6
Eggs are suitable if you want keto banana bread with real bananas. However, you may wish for a vegan alternative. Flax eggs are suitable and easy to make. One tablespoon of flax seed and three tablespoons of water equals one egg, so this recipe will need three tablespoons of flax seed and nine tablespoons of water.
Allergies, taste, or dietary restrictions may prevent you from using almond flour. Instead, try baking banana bread with coconut flour for a similar taste. Coconut has a strong flavor, so you’ll taste hints of it in banana bread. The flour it makes only has about 4.5g of carbs per tablespoon, making it a solid keto banana bread option.7
Bananas are complex carbohydrates that digest slowly and are a solid option in low-carb diets. However, you can eliminate bananas from the recipe and use banana extract instead. The banana extract reduces the carbohydrate amount, making your bread more keto-friendly. You could substitute vanilla extract instead of banana flavoring for a milder taste.
Some people don't like bananas, either the actual fruit or the extract. You can substitute the bananas for mashed sweet potatoes, pumpkin puree, unsweetened applesauce, or zucchini.
While banana bread is typically simple, you can add some of your favorite ingredients while keeping it low-carb. Berries are an excellent option for additional fiber and sweetness. Other choices include sugar-free chocolate chips, nutmeg, Nutella, or dried fruit.
How to Make Low-Carb, Low-Glycemic Banana Bread
Once you have your ingredients, you can make your low-carb banana bread. Follow these simple steps for a tasty baked good.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent overcooking.8
- Put parchment paper in your loaf pan and spray it well to avoid sticking.
- Combine the wet ingredients — the sweetener, oil, mashed bananas, and eggs — in a large mixing bowl.
- Mix your dry ingredients — almond flour, salt, and cinnamon — in a separate bowl before adding your baking soda.
- Combine the dry ingredients and the banana-egg mixture in a large bowl. Don’t overmix, or the bread will be too coarse.9
- If you have them, mix in your chopped nuts and other add-ins (like dark chocolate chips).
- Transfer the mixture to your loaf pan and ensure it’s even throughout.
- Bake for about 40 minutes, then check the bread with a toothpick. It's ready when the toothpick comes out clean.
- Let the bread cool before serving. Keto banana bread with real bananas tastes incredible with low-carb cocktails, such as the spicy paloma or the lemon ginger zing.
- Serve one-inch slices of banana bread.10
Serving size: 1-inch slice (56 grams)
Carbohydrates: 25g (Net carbs: 24g; Fiber: 1g)
Make the Best Low Carb Banana Bread With These Tips
Banana bread can be challenging for beginners, so here are a few tips to ensure your low-carb version comes out as it should:
- Bananas: Surprisingly, the ripeness of a banana can impact its overall sugar content. Green, underripe bananas contain less sugar, whereas yellow bananas contain less resistant starch, which can lead to blood sugar spikes.11 Overripe bananas can contain even more sugar. When selecting a banana, aim for a yellow-green fruit that does not have runny insides or white spots.
- Cooking Time: If you use only one or two bananas, you may only need 30 minutes to cook the bread thoroughly. Check with a toothpick at this point.
- Loaf Pan: Use a small loaf pan to ensure the banana bread is tall and thick.
- Aluminum Foil: Almond flour may reduce the bread’s moisture, so consider covering your banana bread with aluminum foil while cooking to lock in the moisture.12
- Room Temperature: For best results, ensure your ingredients are room temperature because they’ll mix better.
How to Store Your Banana Bread
Banana bread is tasty to snack on throughout the week, so how can you store it?
Low-carb banana bread should follow a similar protocol to regular bread. Store your loaf in an airtight container to maximize freshness and reduce mold growth.
Homemade bread lasts about three or four days at room temperature, but you can extend its shelf life by storing it in the fridge or freezer.13 Frozen banana bread lasts indefinitely, but you should consume it within six months to ensure its wonderful taste and health benefits.
Learn about multigrain bread and its glycemic index analysis from a registered dietitian.
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Topics discussed in this article:
- Chawla, Shreya, et al. (2020). The Effect of Low-Fat and Low-Carbohydrate Diets on Weight Loss and Lipid Levels: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients, 12(12), 3774. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12123774
- Bananas. Harvard School of Public Health. Retrieved November 10, 2023, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/bananas/
- WebMD Editorial Contributors. Health Benefits of Almond Flour. Retrieved November 10, 2023, from https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-almond-flour
- Nichols, Hannah. (2018). What is stevia? Medical News Today. Retrieved November 10, 2023, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287251
- University of Rochester Health Encyclopedia Search Results: Walnuts. Retrieved November 10, 2023, from https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=76&contentid=12155-1
- Plant-Based Dairy Alternatives — Industry Insights. BevSource. Retrieved November 10, 2023, from https://www.bevsource.com/news/plant-based-dairy-alternatives-industry-insights
- Fooddata Central Search Results: Coconut Flour. (2019, April 1). Retrieved November 10, 2023, from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/583168/nutrients
- Mannon, Grace. (2023). The Scientific Reason Why We Always Preheat the Oven to 350°. Retrieved November 10, 2023, from https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/the-scientific-reason-we-always-preheat-the-oven-to-350-when-we-bake/
- Pellicano, Laurie Ellen. (2023). Why Does Overmixing Matter in Baking and How Do I Avoid It? Retrieved November 10, 2023, from https://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/why-does-overmixing-matter-in-baking
- Eat This Much Search Results: Banana Bread. Retrieved November 10, 2023, from https://www.eatthismuch.com/food/nutrition/banana-bread,90120/
- Villazon, Luis. Why do bananas get sweeter as they ripen? Retrieved November 10, 2023, from https://www.sciencefocus.com/nature/why-do-bananas-get-sweeter-as-they-ripen
- Almond Flour vs. All-Purpose Flour: A Flour Comparison. Retrieved November 10, 2023, from https://www.masterclass.com/articles/almond-flour-vs-all-purpose-flour
- Panoff, Lauren. (2019). How Long Does Bread Last? Retrieved November 10, 2023, from https://www.masterclass.com/articles/almond-flour-vs-all-purpose-flour