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The Healthiest Sugar Free Banana Bread (No Artificial Sweeteners)



Picture of banana bread sitting on marble cutting board
Sugar free banana bread

In my years of helping individuals embrace healthier lifestyles, I can say for sure that finding balance is the key to sustainable change. It's not about depriving ourselves of the joys of eating but rather finding creative ways to enjoy our favorite foods while nourishing our bodies. This sugar-free banana bread recipe does precisely that! It’ll fill your kitchen with the smell of warming spices while filling your belly with nutritious ingredients. It has everything you want and nothing you don’t (including no added sugar, artificial sweeteners,  other sugar substitutes).


Good news, I’ve finally mastered a no added sugar banana bread recipe, and it is gluten-free without compromising on the original flavor, texture, and taste that we all know and love! What is the secret to making a healthy banana bread recipe…keep reading to find out! And be sure to scroll to the full recipe toward the bottom of this post.


Ingredients

The answer to making banana bread without sugar is Medjool dates and over-ripe bananas! There are a few varieties of dates out there, so be sure to get Medjool dates, which are plump and sweet. Medjool dates are great in baked goods with their natural caramel-like taste and nutritious load (think fiber, potassium, copper, and magnesium). The secret here is also using over-ripe bananas to amplify the sweetness, making this a winning sugar-free banana bread.



We are using gluten-free flours to make this a fully gluten-free banana bread, so it’s suitable for many different eating styles as the recipe doesn’t contain any gluten or dairy.  


To make this sugar free banana bread, you’ll need: 


Date Caramel

  • 4-6 pitted dates 

  • 1 cup boiling water 

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Wet ingredients

  • 4 ripe bananas

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted


Dry ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups almond flour 

  • ½ cup coconut flour (or all-purpose gluten free flour)

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

  • Pinch of sea salt

  • ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped (optional)

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions


You will find the full recipe with detailed instructions below, however, here are some steps with pictures to help you visualize what each entails. 


First things first, preheat the oven and line a bread pan with parchment paper. 


Soak the Medjool dates in boiling water. Then, blend the Medjool dates with the soaking water and vanilla extract in a high-powered blender until a creamy and smooth caramel sauce forms. 



Medjool dates and water in a glass bowl
Medjool dates soaking

In a mixing bowl, add mashed banana, eggs, coconut oil, and vanilla extract and whisk together. 


image of wet ingredients in a mixing bowl with a wire whisk
Wet ingredients

Pour the date caramel sauce into the wet ingredients and stir through. 


picture of white bowl with wet ingredeints including date caramel sauce
Wet ingredients with date caramel sauce

In a separate large mixing bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, chopped walnuts, and salt. Mix until well combined.


White bowl with dry ingredients, including walnuts and cinnamon
Dry ingredients


Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently fold to combine. 


Image of white bowl with wet ingredients and white spatula
Wet ingredients

Pour the batter into the lined bread tin. Make sure the batter is spread out evenly. 


image of sugar free banana bread batter in lined bread tin
Sugar free banana bread batter in lined bread tin

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean when pricked into the center. 


image of baked loaf of banana bread on marble cutting board
The healthiest sugar free banana bread

What’s the benefit of sugar-free banana bread?

The more obvious benefit of sugar-free banana bread is that it contains no added sugar, a major plus for our health. But what I want to highlight is that I haven’t replaced sugar with any sugar substitutes either. 


While sugar substitutes, like stevia and monk fruit extract, are good options to lower added sugar intake, they still come with potential health risks like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and weight gain over time. And if they are easy to avoid without noticing much of an impact, then that’s what I’m going to do! 


Changing your mindset to using naturally sweetened ingredients instead of sugar is easier if you understand the why. So why do you want to use ingredients like bananas and dates or other fruit? Sugar itself doesn’t contribute any nutritional value apart from carbohydrates, which are easy to come by elsewhere. On the other hand, the nutrient density of Medjool dates and bananas far exceeds their carb load. They contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Think of it as your nutrient bank–you want to focus on eating food that fills it up with all the good stuff, and sugar doesn’t add to the bank. 


Not only that, but eating too much sugar has been associated with sleep problems, heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, skin issues, and poorer gut health. A sugary diet also raises chronic inflammation that’s at the root of many long-term health problems. 



Frequently asked questions

Can you use frozen bananas? 

Yes, you can absolutely freeze bananas. If you see a banana on your counter that’s starting to look brown and spotty, cut it up, and pop it in the freezer for a later day. When you’re ready to bake, you’ll want to thaw your bananas in the refrigerator overnight. To prevent your banana bread from being dense and heavy, drain the liquid that forms when you thaw the bananas and discard it. 


Side note: Peel your bananas before freezing because peeled bananas thaw faster. 


Can you substitute another flour?

By using almond flour and coconut flour, this recipe is gluten free. If you want to keep it gluten free, you can substitute the coconut flour with gluten free all purpose flour. However, if gluten free isn’t an issue for you, use regular all-purpose flour. That said, you won’t get the health-promoting nutrients found in almond flour and coconut flour. All-purpose flour is a heavily processed refined grain.


Can I use something instead of dates?

If you don’t have dates or you just don’t enjoy them, you can leave them out. If you’re using over-ripe bananas, your bread should be sweet enough without the dates. If you want to replace the dates with another dried fruit, dried prunes would work just as well. 


What are some other mix-ins I could use?

Other nutritious ingredients that would be tasty additions (without adding any sugar) are:

  • Chopped nuts: Walnuts or pecans are great additions

  • Nut butter: Almond butter or peanut butter. Be sure to get nut butter without added sugar. The only ingredients should be nuts and salt. However, you can also buy unsalted nut butter.

  • Seeds: Chia seeds are a great addition and add extra protein and fiber 

  • Spices: Get creative by adding other spices like pumpkin spice, nutmeg, or allspice. 

  • Cacao powder: To make a chocolatey version, add a tablespoon or two of cacao powder. This hack allows you to get the chocolatey vibes while avoiding the added sugar if you were to use chocolate chips. 


Can I freeze sugar-free banana bread?

You sure can! After baking, allow the banana bread to cool fully, cut it into slices, and wrap each slice individually in plastic wrap. It is quicker to thaw individual slices, and you can take out just the number of slices you need without having to thaw the whole loaf.


Can this recipe make muffins?

Sugar-free banana muffins - YUM! So to answer your question, yes, you can absolutely make no added sugar muffins using this recipe. Divide the batter equally between the muffin tray holders. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 


Other low-sugar recipes you’ll love 

Here are some of my favorite low-sugar recipes for you to try: 


Recipe


To make this sugar free banana bread, you’ll need: 


Date Caramel

  • 4-6 pitted dates 

  • 1 cup boiling water 

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Wet ingredients

  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted


Dry ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups almond flour 

  • ½ cup coconut flour (or all purpose gluten free flour)

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

  • Pinch of sea salt

  • ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped (optional)


Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

  2. Line a bread loaf pan with parchment paper. Grease with coconut oil. Set aside.

  3. In a glass bowl, cover pitted Medjool dates with boiling water. Soak for 15 minutes. 

  4. In a high powered blender, place soaked dates with half the soaking water and vanilla extract. Blend until a smooth caramel forms. If the mixture is too thick, add more water until you reach the desired consistency. 

  5. In a bowl, combine the wet ingredients with the date caramel, mixing until well combined. 

  6. Fold in the dry ingredients. 

  7. Add in the chopped walnuts (optional). 

  8. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when pricked into the center. 



More Low-Sugar Ideas

If you’re looking for other ways to lower your added sugar intake without compromising on taste or convenience, check out these posts:


For more great advice, be sure to follow me on Instagram: @nutritionistsam. Hope you enjoy the recipe! Drop me a note if you try it!

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