A deliciously moist and dense banana bread that is free of added sugar as it is naturally sweetened with bananas and dates.
Sugar, honey and maple syrup are simple sugars, quickly absorbed by the body. Simple sugar is fine, nutritionally, in a balanced diet.
I acknowledge there is much confusing and conflicting information about sugar. However, you don’t need to avoid it or feel guilty for eating it. Nor do you need to go on a sugar detox. If you’re unsure, see my blog Sweet relief from sugar detoxing.
However, when possible and still enjoyable, it can be more nourishing to switch added and free sugars with intrinsic sugars.
What are intrinsic sugars?
Intrinsic sugars are sugars encapsulated by a plant cell wall or part of the food structure. They are the sugars naturally present in fruit and vegetables, and milk. Intrinsic sugars require our bodies to unlock the sugars. They also come packed with other essential nutrients.
We don’t need to avoid intrinsic sugars. It is saddening that some popular diets encourage us to cut back on bananas!
The thing is, most people don’t eat enough fruit. And no food is absolutely bad. It’s all about balance.
Switch free sugars with intrinsic sugars in fruit and vegetable purées and pastes
Although sugar can be part of a balanced diet, there are potential nutritional and health benefits of cutting back on free sugars and switching them with intrinsic sugars; when it doesn’t affect taste and enjoyment. I believe it is more important that you enjoy what you eat and don’t feel deprived, as this can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food.
Great ways to incorporate more intrinsic sugars into your diet is to swap out free sugars such as sugar, honey and maple syrup with intrinsic sugars such as:
- mashed banana
- fruit purées i.e. date paste and apple sauce
- stewed fruits
- sweet vegetables such as beetroot, carrot, pumpkin and parsnips
Sugar-free banana bread recipe
In this banana bread recipe, there are no added sugars or free sugar substitutes such as maple syrup or honey. All the sweetness comes from the intrinsic sugars of mashed bananas and dates. You’re welcome!
Sugar-Free Banana Bread
- ½ cup flour such as wholemeal, spelt, or buckwheat for a gluten-free option
- ½ cup almond meal, blanched or unblanched
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger or ginger powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup milk, choice of dairy or any alternative milk
- 3 medium ripe bananas
- 8 dates, finely chopped or puréed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 180oC and line a loaf or slice tin with baking paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, oil and milk. Add bananas and mash into the wet mixture with a fork, leaving a few chunky banana pieces. Combine dates.
- Then add wet mixture into dry mixture. Fold through until just combined. Pour the mixture into prepared tin. Place tin on the bottom shelf of oven.
- Cook for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. It may be necessary to cover with foil if over-browning on top.
- Once cooked through, allow the loaf to cool slightly before removing from the tin.
- Cut into thick slices. Serve warm with a little butter or cold as is or with a little ricotta and honey. Yummo!
- Try decorating it with sliced banana, shredded coconut, or chopped walnuts or pecans.
- Chocolate Banana Bread, anyone? Try adding ½ cup chopped walnuts, pecans, raisins or chocolate chips to change up the flavour and texture.
- Try adding 2 teaspoons of lemon or orange zest for a varied flavour.
- Try increasing the protein content by adding 2 tablespoons of protein powder of your choice.
Have you tried this sugar-free banana bread recipe?
Have you tried this recipe for banana bread or have other suggestions for sugar substitutes? I’d love to know. Share in the comments below.