Whole wheat banana loaf, sliced

How do you make a banana loaf a little healthier? First thing, don’t follow the original recipe. Let’s try reducing the added sugar.

The original recipe had 175g of added caster sugar. This was on top of a couple of ripe bananas, typically 180g of natural sugar. We had a total 350g of sugar in a 700g loaf; no wonder the kids love it. The original recipe has around 25g of total sugar per typical 50g serving of loaf.

Making this healthier

As an experiment, we baked a loaf with half the added sugar taking the recipe down to 80g of added sugar, giving an overall sugar content of 260g. This now gives us 18g of total sugar per typical serving of around 50g.

Did the kids notice the change?

No they didn’t, they still love it. So much so, we are looking at cutting down the added sugar to 40g and see what happens. The aim is to slowly wean them off added sugar completely, leaving just the fruit sugar from the bananas. We would then be down to 12g of total sugar per typical 50g serving of loaf.

Here is the recipe

100g Softened Butter
80g Caster Sugar (reduced from the original 175g)
2 Large Eggs
2 Ripe Bananas (mashed)
225g Self Raising Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
2 tbsp. Milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180C / Fan 160C / Gas 4.
2. Lightly grease a 2lb loaf tin, then line the base and sides with baking parchment
3. Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix for about 2 minutes, until well blended.
4. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the surface
5. Bake in the oven for about 1 hour, until the loaf has risen and golden brown.  Stick a metal skewer into the centre and it should come out clean if the loaf is ready.
6. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then leave it to cool on a wire rack after removing the baking parchment.

What five things did we learn from this?

  • Don’t follow recipes blindly. Think about reducing the bad stuff.
  • The original recipe was sugar loaded from added sugar and sugar from the bananas, but this is something you can change.
  • Reducing added sugar by as much as 50% in an already sweet recipe is not that noticeable
  • You can wean you kids off added sugar if you really try
  • Take action to make recipes more healthy by adjusting sugar content

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