November 27, 2012 | Home >Healthy Kids >Banana Bread Makeover Recipe

Banana Bread Makeover Recipe

We actually don’t make banana bread very often, because we never have over ripe bananas. My kids can literally polish off every single banana I purchase, long before they go bad.

But, last weekend I attended a nutrition conference, sponsored by Dole where we were able to attend a recipe makeover class and testing to see if we could taste the difference between the classic banana bread recipe, and a healthy banana bread.  They eliminated the margarine, added greek yogurt, and lowered the amount of sugar to make the healthier banana bread.  While there was a slight difference in bread, it was impossible for me to tell which one I liked better. They were both good!  So, I decided to put the taste test to my own kids.  Unfortunately, I had to use regular ripe bananas, instead of over ripe bananas! But both breads still turned out good.

Banana Bread Makeover Recipe. This makeover is healthier than the original, and actually tastes better! Banana Bread Makeover Recipe. This makeover is healthier than the original, and actually tastes better!

 The Classic Banana Bread Recipe:

  • 2 extra-ripe, large DOLE® Bananas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup margarine
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts

Puree bananas in blender (1-1/4 cups).  Cream margarine with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in bananas and eggs.  Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Add dry ingredients alternately in thirds with buttermilk, blending well after each addition.  Stir in nuts.  Pour into greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.  Bake in 350 F oven 50 to 60 minutes until tests done.  Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes.  Turn out onto rack to complete cooling.  Makes 1 loaf,  (24 servings).

Banana Bread Makeover Recipe. This makeover is healthier than the original, and actually tastes better!

The Healthy Banana Bread Makeover Recipe

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 5 extra ripe DOLE® Bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds or walnuts, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine flours, baking powder, and baking soda in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk agave syrup, Greek yogurt and egg in medium bowl.  Beat in bananas and vanilla until blended.  Stir in flour mixture; beat until just blended.  Stir in nuts.  Pour into 9 x 5-inch baking pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.

Banana Bread Makeover Recipe. This makeover is healthier than the original, and actually tastes better!

And to my delight, the Healthy version actually won with my kids!  It was so much more moist than the classic version.  Sometimes when you make a healthy version of something, it tastes: healthified!  It’s not something you would be excited about bringing to a neighbor. This one is different! The healthy version is just as good, if not better, than the classic!

Banana Bread Makeover Recipe. This makeover is healthier than the original, and actually tastes better! Banana Bread Makeover Recipe. This makeover is healthier than the original, and actually tastes better!

I had my kids do a blind test and didn’t tell them which was the healthier one.  Yet, they each preferred the healthier one!  I loved that the sugar was reduced by almost 20 grams and the fat was reduced by 24 grams!

While in California at the Dole Event, I was able to connect with some talented bloggers.  I met in real life:

This is me with Food Fresh

Kelly Davis, Foodie Fresh, @foodiefresh

This is a grocery trip we took to learn about shopping for healthier food. (me with Yum Yucky)

Josie Maurer, Yum Yucky, @yumyucky

I have always been a big fan of Dole because their products make it easy to eat fruits and vegetables without adding sugar, chemicals, or other things.  I’ve always tried to promote that the best way to get your kids to get over their picky eating is to serve fruits and vegetables in a variety of ways.  Fresh, frozen, canned, dried, juiced, pureed, etc.  This helps them to discover new tastes and textures and to expand their palate   Dole has fruits and vegetables in all these varieties without adding sugar and other fillers.  Their  canned fruits are packed in juice, rather than syrup.  Their juices are 100% real juice.  They have a huge line of frozen fruits that are only fruit, and of course they have fresh fruits and vegetables, like bagged salads!

DOLE 100% Juice

Banana Bread Makeover Recipe

Banana Bread Makeover Recipe
Serves: 8
Prep Time: 15 m
Cook Time: 55 m


  • 1 cup – flour, whole wheat
  • 1 cup – flour, all-purpose
  • 1/2 teaspoon – baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon – baking powder
  • 1/4 cup – honey
  • 1/2 cup – Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 large – egg
  • 5 medium – banana
  • 1/2 teaspoon – vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup – walnuts, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine flours, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Whisk honey, Greek yogurt and egg in a separate bowl.
  4. Mash ripe bananas, and add to the honey mixture along with the vanilla. Mix well.
  5. Stir in flour mixture; beat just until blended.  Stir in nuts.
  6. Pour into 9 x 5-inch baking pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Sprinkle extra walnuts on top, if desired, before baking.
  7. Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutrition Facts

  • Nutrition per serving % daily value
  • Calories: 276 14%
  • Fat: 6 g 9%
  • Carb: 50 g 17%
  • Fiber: 4 g 16%
  • Protein: 7 g 14%
  • Sugar: 18 g
written by
Amy Roskelley

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Colleen says:

I have a healthy one similar to this….and I add flax seed….theyvdont even know its in there! Vand that stuff is super healthy! 🙂

Kendra says:

This looks delicious! Do you know if honey will work rather than agave? 🙂 thanks!

Amy says:

Love that Colleen! Plus, the dark flecks would blend in beautifully with the colors in banana bread!
Kendra- If you try it, let me know! We didn’t have enough honey to try it ourselves.. next time I get some, I’ll try too.

Yum Yucky says:

Is it so wrong that I want BOTH loves of naner bread? You can send me my loaves through the food teleporter.

Sats says:

I love love your recipes. Can I use only whole wheat pastry flour? Would I need to add more liquid? How much flax seed do you add?
Thanks for all the yummy recipes and love your new site!

Amy says:

Thanks! I did use whole wheat pastry flour- no extra liquid needed.
And, we didn’t add flax seed to this one, but it’s a great idea!

Monica Tores says:

Banana bread actually became one of my favorite things to eat ever since I first tasted it. It’s an awesome idea!

Monica Castillo says:

The healthy banana bread recipe is to die for! I just made it yesterday and it is soooo moist and yummy! I have tried several recipes and this one is by far the best and my go to banana bread recipe from now on. I used chopped pecans instead of walnuts or almonds though.


Thanks for both recipes. I particularly loved that you mentioned Dole ; I’ve been a huge fan of them for a while now. My question : can I use pecan nuts instead of almonds or walnuts? I also like to add a dash of rose water as a sweetener in my pastries. Just thought you could try that out next time. Happy New Year in advance!


Amy says:

Thanks Jessica. Pecans would work great.
Where do you find rose water?

You can find it in your local health food store, or on Amazon – there’s a great brand on there, but I don’t quite remember its name(all I know is that it has great ratings). Just head on to Amazon and look for rose water. Thanks!

edit : just found it ; Cortas. Let me know how it goes!

Wenn says:

Amy: We LOVE banana bread in our household.
My UBER picky son who eats NOTHING at all will gobble up slices of banana bread. What I did was I combined both your banana recipes into one mega delicious one plus i made a few changes in addition.
I used whole wheat and all purpose flour, added 4T of butter, used less than 1/2C of honey+ agave sweetener mixture. Added 1/2 C of 2% Fage Yogurt, 2 eggs, 3 Super ripe bananas and 1/2 C grated carrots, 1/2tsp Vanilla extract and 3/4 C of mixed finely chopped nuts plus the baking powder and baking soda. It was a HUGE hit! Thank you! My son now eats protein packed ‘treat’ without even realising it!

Amy says:

I love it! Thanks for sharing your changes!!

You can also find it in Middle Eastern food stores and sometimes in that section of a big grocery.

Brooke says:

We used pure maple syrup instead!

Rachel says:

I don’t keep as much Whole Wheat Pastry Flour on hand because it’s more expensive. Could I use 2 cups of Whole Wheat Flour instead or would it turn out too heavy?

Kate s says:

Can’t wait to try this recipe. Please be cautious with Dole. Many of their products are from China.

Kate S says:

I can’t wait for my bananas to ripen and make this yummy bread. Please be cautious of Dole (they are not the only one) many of their products are from China

Amy says:

Yes Rachel, I use regular flour and whole wheat flour all the time!

Aqiyl Aniys says:

You had me at banana! I love banana anything!

Amber says:

Thanks for the recipe for the healthier banana bread, I am eager to try it. Kids are always the best judge of taste. I’d encourage you though to rethink your opinion on Dole produce. I provided a few links which can explain concerns better than I in this space. Happy Baking. 🙂

susanna says:

i love your recipes however most of these recipes contain nuts and im allergic to nuts. do you have anything for healthy snacks/meals that don’t contain nuts. plus most schools now a days are nut free.

Amy says:

Great idea for a category! I only put one recipe in it, but we’ll have to go back through and find more. I know we have lot’s!

your mom says:

the recipe was amaze balls! loved it cx

Kirstin Smith says:

I decided to make this delicious sounding healthy banana bread for my 15 month old but 1 hour and 40 minutes later I’m still waiting for the inside to cook! I use an oven thermometer which states 350. Any idea why?

Erin says:

Could you use honey instead of the agave .

Amy says:

@Kristin- That does not seem right! I don’t know what to tell you about that= ours only took an hour and it was all cooked through.
Erin- you could, but watch the cooking. Honey browns/burns faster than agave.

Laura says:

I am having same problem as Kristin, I have tried 3 times and every time the inside is still so wet its inedible hour.. Hour and half.. Two hours in oven, it just does not cook properly and im quite upset at all the ingredients I have wasted :'( I follow the recipe exactly..
Have tried loads of your recipes this is only one to fail big style. Any tips much appreciated..

Amy says:

Hey Laura-
of all “my” recipes, this one should actually be the most fool proof, because it was designed in the Dole test kitchens. ha ha.. other recipes have just been done in my personal kitchen.
Bummer though, I wish I knew what was happening..

Laura says:

No worries 🙂 its odd its so dense and weighty.
Will get trying other recipes instead! Maybe come back to it . Thanks anyway, love the site.

Jody says:

Any way of making this version gluten free?

SP says:

Prefer the first recipe if margerine was replaced with grass fed butter. Agave is not at all healthy:-(

DK says:

Can you tell me how many cups of pureed banana would that be? Bananas are all different shapes and I have about 10 in my freezer to be used right away and they are large in size. So a weight or cup measurement would much help. Thank u so much

Yvette says:

This looks yummy…. but no way would one loaf be cut into 24 servings!! ??. Maybe 10. Maybe. Even the way your picture shows is definitely not 24 slices. I’ll try it in mini-muffin pans for self control.

Good call Yvette! You are so right- I was just copying from the original recipe from Dole!

Debbie says:

What is the measurement for bananas? 5 small 5 medium? If it was a per cup measurement it would turn out ok for everyone. I think those with issues of undercooked middle loads may be using too much banana

Cristina says:

I was wondering the same as others…a cup measurement on the bananas would be super helpful

Angela says:

I made these as muffins and they turned out great! I halved the receipe and made about a dozen muffins at 350 for 35 mins.

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