I have to admit, even I surprised myself with this banana bread. We all know that when we attempt to make things ‘healthy’, especially when it comes to cakes, we tend to lower our expectations to not be quite as indulgent. Well, prepare to be surprised! I definitely won’t be going back to the traditional banana bread from now on that’s for sure. Plus, it’s a one-bowl recipe. Oh yeah.
So what do I mean by healthier? Firstly, it is low in sugar whilst also being high in protein and fibre. This is a good combination because it means that we don’t get a big sugar spike (and as a consequence, a sugar low later on). This banana bread is free from refined flours, and instead is a mix of almond meal and whole wheat spelt flour, with some cacao nibs and walnuts thrown in for added crunch and decadence (and health benefits too, of course).
Banana’s and pregnancy leg cramps
But there’s a bonus to this banana bread. Banana’s are high in potassium and also contain magnesium, which help prevent those pregnancy leg cramps! Potassium is an important mineral for our cardiovascular system, as it helps regulate water and acid-base balance in our blood and tissues. Our bodies rely on a regular supply of potassium as it is unable to store this in our bodies for long. Not only that, but we naturally require a higher ratio of potassium to sodium (salt), though standard western diets provide the opposite. So if you’re getting leg cramps, other than eating this banana bread, reduce your salt intake. Of course, you could always just eat a banana, but that would be way less fun.
Did someone say chocolate?
Magnesium also helps with muscle relaxation and is therefore essential to reduce the occurrences of leg cramps. I’ve added cacao nibs to this recipe, which not only give it an indulgent, chocolaty crunch, but they are also high in magnesium and iron. So, basically, I’ve just given you a reason to go buy some chocolate (the raw, unprocessed kind, like cacao nibs). Your welcome!
On a side note, this banana bread is not as sweet as cake. That’s also what makes it healthy. I suggest you try it like this and should you need to sweeten it up a little serve it with some honey and butter.
Yields: 1 loaf Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
3 very ripe bananas
3 tablespoons coconut oil or butter (melted)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup (50g) brown sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (180ml) milk or nut mylk
1 ½ cups (150g) almond meal
2 cups (250g) whole wheat spelt flour
1/3 cup (40g) cacao nibs
¼ cup walnuts or pecans (roughly chopped)
1. Pre-heat your oven to 175C or 350F fan function.
2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas until almost smooth.
3. Add all the ingredients in the order that they are listed and mix when you get to the salt, again after the milk and lastly after you’ve added the walnuts or pecans.
4. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour 15min. Prick with a sharp knife in the centre, and when it comes out clean you know it’s done. You might need to cover it in tin foil half way through if you see it browning a lot on top.
5. Once it’s done remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 1 hour. You can then slice and freeze it for when you are in need of a snack or even have it for breakfast!