What Is Low-Fat Banana Bread?

Emily Pate

Low-fat banana bread is a sweet quick bread made from a mixture of this fruit and various substitutes for several of the ingredients found in the traditional version. The banana itself provides most of the flavor and sweetness for this bread and is best used this way when overripe. High-fat ingredients like butter and eggs are replaced with a variety of items like plain yogurt, fruit purees, and oils, among others. Low-fat banana bread tends to have other healthy ingredients that, while they may not lower its fat content, add fiber, texture, or nutritional value. The food is prepared like its traditional counterpart, with perhaps a temperature adjustment if liquid sweeteners are used.

Bunch of bananas.
Bunch of bananas.

Bananas are a tropical fruit with a thick, creamy flesh. The sweet fruit is found inside a tough, inedible skin, most often yellow in color, though red, pink, and black versions can be found depending on location. They ripen after being picked from the tree, and s ripe banana has a firm flesh that yields slightly when pressed. While the bright yellow ones are best for eating fresh, low-fat banana bread calls for overripe, blackened fruit because of their higher sugar content, making for a sweeter, moister finished product.

Applesauce is often used as a substitute for fat in banana bread.
Applesauce is often used as a substitute for fat in banana bread.

Traditional banana bread includes relatively high-fat ingredients like butter, eggs, and sugar. While sugar has no fat directly, it's easily converted and stored in the body as such. Certain sugars convert to fat more easily than others, like high fructose corn syrup.

Low-fat banana bread replaces some ingredients with healthier options that still can still produce a moist, flavorful baked good. Butter can be cut or eliminated with a variety of substitutes, including plain low-fat yogurt, applesauce, and additional bananas. Replacing the butter with certain cooking oils is sometimes desired to replace trans and saturated fats. Eggs may also be substituted with commercial substitutes or fruit puree, or the yolks may be left out, since they contain all of the fat. Avocado provides a less common substitute which, while still high in fat, is considered healthier than butter.

Additional ingredient substitutes may be present in low-fat banana bread. Whole grain flours may be used to increase the amount of fiber and produce a denser, richer treat. Additions like flax, germ, or bran do the same while adding texture. Like traditional banana bread, the low-fat version usually contains nuts of some kind, which offer healthy fats. They may be left out, however, for a very low or no-fat bread. Sugar may be replaced with sweet fruit like dates, or raw honey may be used to add moisture and nutrients.

A low-fat banana bread is prepared like the traditional version, with the dry ingredients being sifted together and the wet binders being creamed with a beater or processor. Dry ingredients are gradually stirred into the wet, and nuts are stirred in right before baking in a loaf or cake pan. If honey or syrupy sweeteners are used, baking temperature should be reduced slightly.

Yogurt and vegetable oil may be used to make low-fat banana bread.
Yogurt and vegetable oil may be used to make low-fat banana bread.

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