Healthy High Protein Banana Bread Recipe and Why You Should Enjoy It
Banana bread is like most baked items—where it falls on the health vs. harm spectrum depends on the quality of its ingredients. If it’s stuffed with saturated fat and added sugar, any nutritious benefits from the bananas are snuffed out. But if it’s made wisely, like Amino Co’s high protein banana bread recipe, it can be celebrated for both taste and nutritional value.
Let’s take a look at each of the nutrients in our Healthy High Protein Banana Bread, including the featured ingredient Heal, a vanilla-flavored protein supplement that helps you meet your daily protein requirements and tame inflammation to boot!
Bananas are the key ingredient in this dessert recipe, so we’ll start there.
Bananas for Heart Health and Blood Pressure Control
Cavendish bananas, the most popular dessert banana, are even sweeter when ripe, and ripe is exactly what we want for a banana bread recipe. The riper the better!
Bananas aren’t particularly high in protein—and that’s okay because we’re getting our protein from our scoop of vanilla protein powder—but they are high in fiber, antioxidants, and essential minerals like potassium and magnesium. The nutrition facts of 1 medium banana are as follows:
- 3.1 grams of fiber
- 1.3 grams of protein
- 0.4 grams of fat
- 24 grams of net carbs
- 14% of your RDI for manganese
- 11% of your RDI for vitamin C
- 10% of your RDI for copper
- 9% of your RDI for potassium
- 8% of your RDI for magnesium
Ripe bananas contain pectin fiber that has been proven to help stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you feeling fuller for longer because it slows stomach emptying. Ripe bananas rank medium on the glycemic index with a GI between 51-60, another boon for blood sugar control.
Potassium and magnesium in bananas are known heart protectors and exert a blood-pressure-lowering effect. One study showed that people with sufficient potassium intake are 27% less likely to develop heart disease (1).
Of course, there are also the exercise benefits. Banana gets props for helping to fuel workouts, balance electrolytes, and ease cramps and post-workout muscle soreness.
But it can get boring eating bananas the same ole peel-and-eat way, which is why banana bread is a terrific occasional treat, especially the high protein variety!
Green Banana Flour for Fiber and Blood Sugar Control
Banana bread loses points when it’s made with white flour, which is what makes up most commercial banana breads. White flour is manufactured from refined wheat and is high on the glycemic index, so you can count on it spiking your blood sugar levels.
That’s why we make our Healthy High Protein Banana Bread with green banana flour, high in fiber and a great blood sugar balancer. Green banana flour is made from Brazilian bananas that have been peeled, sliced, dehydrated, and milled.
This naturally gluten-free flour is high in vitamin E, zinc, manganese, magnesium, and potassium and has been blessed with cholesterol-lowering properties. You only need a half-cup of green banana flour for this banana bread recipe, but you can use it to make pastas, breads, muffins, and cakes so it’s a versatile addition to your baking supplies.
Quinoa Flour for Extra Protein and Fiber
Quinoa is enjoyed as a grain-based food even though it’s technically a seed, and quinoa flour is made from ground quinoa grains.
This plant-based complete protein contains all the essential amino acids, and this high protein content carries over to quinoa flour. It has the nutritional profile of whole wheat flour beat, especially in the essential amino acid department, and is also high in fiber and ranked low on the glycemic index.
You get a ton of bang for your buck with this all-purpose flour replacement; however, it’s best to use it in combination with other flour alternatives, like green banana flour, coconut flour, and oat flour.
EVOO for Heart Health and Antioxidants
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) replaces butter in this high protein banana bread recipe. We opted for EVOO over coconut oil because it is low in saturated fat and high in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, making EVOO a heart-healthy staple known to help lower cholesterol.
Antioxidant-rich EVOO contains two extraordinary phenolic compounds: oleocanthal, which has anti-inflammatory properties on par with ibuprofen, and oleuropein, which defends LDL cholesterol against oxidation. And you’re also getting a nice dose of vitamins E and K in every tablespoon.
Honey for Prebiotic Benefits
Unlike other banana breads that feature maple syrup or coconut sugar for sweetener, we chose one of nature’s most potent medicinals to sweeten up our banana bread. Honey is highly concentrated in disease-fighting phytonutrients and heals and protects with antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Honey gets extra credit because it contains prebiotics that nourish the beneficial bacteria in your gut and help treat digestive problems like diarrhea.
We prefer raw honey, which, because it is not processed, retains more of its beneficial nutrients. As for the leftovers, mix it with some ginger and hot water to ease a sore throat and boost immunity.
Cinnamon for Immunity and Metabolism
Cinnamon gives this Healthy High Protein Banana Bread a rich and warm twist and offers up antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support that helps protect against chronic disease. We’re including half a teaspoon for an extra immunity and metabolism boost.
Cinnamon adds to the heart-healthy benefits of this banana bread recipe by helping to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. It’s also a great spice to help keep blood sugar levels low in the face of sweeteners like honey.
Baking Soda for Leavening
Baking soda is our leavening agent that allows our banana bread to rise. If you’re used to yeast be forewarned that baking soda produces gas nearly instantly, so long proofing times are unnecessary.
When mixing, we recommend using the batter immediately because if you let the batter set it may overflow. It is best to bake or griddle recipes with baking soda as soon as possible!
Sea Salt for Trace Minerals
Sea salt isn’t just for added flavor. It holds its own as a nutritional powerhouse. Made from salt-water evaporation, sea salt contains more than 75 health-promoting trace minerals. As an alkaline substance it provides electrolytes and helps increase nutrient absorption. There is also evidence that sea salt can help support thyroid function, adrenal function, and immune health.
A little goes a long way and half a teaspoon is all you need to liven up your banana bread.
Lemon Juice for Vitamins
Lemon juice is high in vitamin C, vitamin B6, copper, iron, thiamine, calcium, and fiber. We also appreciate its phytonutrient profile, which helps to boost the immune system, protect against cancer, regulate hormones, and decrease inflammation and oxidative stress. Lemons also help increase iron absorption and keep bacteria at bay.
So as not to overpower the sweetness of banana bread, keep the lemon juice at 1 teaspoon or under.
Eggs for Protein and Choline
As complete of a protein as you can get, eggs also deliver 11 vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Let’s check out the RDI of the most noteworthy nutrients in the 2 large eggs you will be using to bake banana bread.
- 46% of the RDI of selenium
- 28% of the RDI of riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- 22% of the RDI of thiamin (vitamin B12)
- 20% of the RDI of phosphorus
- 14% of the RDI of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
- 12% of the RDI of folate
- 10% of the RDI of vitamin A
- 10% of the RDI of iron
- 8% of the RDI of vitamin D
But eggs don’t stop there. They are also highly concentrated in choline, an essential nutrient that supports cell functioning, forms the membranes that surround our cells, and helps regulate memory, mood, and muscle control.
Walnuts for Inflammation Defense
We love walnuts not just for the mildly tangy flavor and crunchy texture, but because they’re plentiful in omega-3s for heart health and inflammation control. Walnuts help keep your brain healthy well into your golden years and help protect against oxidative stress that can promote the hardening of LDL cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease.
There’s also evidence that walnuts exhibit anti-cancer activity alongside type 2 diabetes protection. We advocate adding in some walnuts to any recipe that calls for some extra crunch. If you’re partial to a different type of nut, like pecans, then those will do nicely as well!
Greek Yogurt for Probiotics and Iodine
No need for baking powder in this banana bread. Greek yogurt infuses this Healthy High Protein Banana Bread with a mild tanginess while adding moisture. In addition to 22 grams of protein, one-fourth cup of Greek yogurt is packed with probiotics for gut health and immunity.
Calcium may be the most well-known mineral in yogurt, but iodine deserves a shoutout too. Your body cannot make iodine, an essential nutrient that the thyroid gland needs to produce enough thyroid hormone. Up to one-third of the global population is deficient in iodine, and Greek yogurt can help shore up any nutritional gaps.
Cacao Nibs for Anti-Cancer Antioxidants
We’re substituting in chocolate chips for the real deal—cacao nibs!
Made from crushed cocoa beans, cacao nibs are rich, chocolatey and packed with vitamins and antioxidants. They are also low in sugar and high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber, which is why we’re sprinkling them into our delicious banana bread recipe.
Health benefits include heart health, digestive health, blood sugar control, and anti-cancer properties. But you probably don’t need us to sell you on these chocolate treats, do you?
Heal for Protein and Muscle Health
Three scoops of Heal Vanilla Protein Powder delivers nearly 23 grams of essential amino acids that stimulate muscle growth, promote recovery, and protect against inflammation.
Appropriate for a range of dietary restrictions, Heal is gluten free, Non-GMO, free of soy, vegetarian, halal, and keto friendly. It outperforms whey protein powders and takes the place of vanilla extract found in more traditional banana bread recipes.
To purchase Heal for your healthy banana bread recipe, click here.
Without further ado, here’s your healthy recipe!
Healthy High Protein Banana Bread Recipe
This easy recipe for protein-packed banana bread takes some time to cook up but is worth the wait! It’s also paleo approved and low-carb compared to other banana bread recipes that are packed with additional sugar.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 80 mins
- 1 1/4 cups quinoa flour
- 1/2 cup green banana flour
- 3 very ripe bananas, peeled
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup raw honey (or stevia if you’d rather go more sugar free)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (fresh)
- 2 eggs, large
- 1/3 cup walnut
- 1/3 cup cacao nibs
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 3 scoops Vanilla Heal
- Heat the oven to 350 °F.
- Toast the walnuts for 10 minutes while the oven is preheating.
- Line an 8x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
- Starting with the wet ingredients, pour the extra virgin olive oil into a large bowl. Crack the eggs, egg whites and yolk, into the bowl and whisk.
- Add the Greek Yogurt and 3 scoops of Heal and whisk the batter until smooth.
- Peel your ripe bananas and add them to the batter. Using a fork or whisk, mash until smooth. If you like banana chunks in your banana bread, then leave some lumps.
- Add the precise measurements of green banana flour, quinoa flour, baking soda, lemon juice, cinnamon, honey, and salt into the bowl with the mashed banana. Stir with a spatula until well mixed and no dry flour is visible.
- For the last of the dry ingredients, sprinkle in the walnuts and cacao nibs.
- Pour the batter into the pan. Scrape the batter from the bowl with a spatula and smooth out the top.
- Bake for 50 to 65 minutes. The top of the cake should caramelize dark brown. Insert a toothpick or cake tester into the middle at 50-65 minutes. When it comes out clean, your banana bread is ready!
- Let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack so that the loaf can solidify and you can easily remove from the pan.
- Remove from the pan and let cool another 10 minutes before slicing and digging in!