With its moist, dense texture and natural sweetness, banana bread is the ultimate comfort food. It's also a no-go if you're eating low-carb and low-fat, because most banana breads have an abundance of both. You can make low-carb and low-fat banana bread, as long as you don't mind a few differences in taste and texture. Or ditch the bread entirely and go for low-carb, low-fat recipes featuring banana bread-inspired flavor.
The Carbs, Calories and Fat in Banana Bread
Sure, banana bread is rich, moist and delicious -- but low-carb? Not so much. While the exact nutrition info for banana bread depends on the recipe you use, many varieties boast hundreds of calories and tons of carbs and fat per serving. One commercially sold cafe banana bread, for example, has 420 calories per serving -- about 4.5 ounces. Each slice has a whopping 52 grams of carbohydrates -- with only 2 grams coming from fiber, leaving 50 grams of digestible "net" carbs -- and 22 grams of fat, which is more than one-third of the suggested fat intake limit if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet. Many of these carbs are from the flour and sugar used to make the bread, while much of the fat comes from oil added to infuse the bread with moisture.
Use Coconut Flour for a Low-Carb, Low-Fat Bread
Making lower-carb banana bread means cutting out or reducing ingredients rich in starch and sugar. First on the chopping block? All-purpose white flour. Each cup of all-purpose flour has roughly 92 grams of carbohydrates, so each serving of bread has quite a few grams of carbs thanks to the flour. Switch it out for coconut flour, which has just 24 grams of net carbs per cup. Coconut flour also supplies lots of dietary fiber -- a nutrient that boosts satiety -- so your slice of banana bread will be more filling.
While coconut meat is typically filled with fat, coconut flour undergoes a defatting process to remove most of the oil. As a result, the flour has just 16 grams of fat per cup.
Use Applesauce to Make Your Bread Low-Fat and Low-Carb
You can also reduce the carbs in your bread by lowering its sugar content. While some sugar is unavoidable -- the star ingredient, bananas, have 24 grams of net carbs per medium banana -- you can cut out the added sugar used to sweeten most banana breads. Replace the sugar with applesauce, which has about 13 grams of net carbs per 1/2 cup.
Applesauce also helps you make a great-tasting bread that's lower in fat. The sauce itself is virtually fat-free -- a whole cup has less than a gram of fat -- but provides essential moisture to make up for the lack of oil in the bread.
Try Banana Bread-Inspired Treats Too
Let's be honest -- you don't get something for nothing, and that goes for low-fat and low-carb cooking. Removing most of the carbs and fat from banana bread will significantly change its flavor and texture. And even though a low-carb and low-fat banana bread can still taste delicious, it's probably not going to resemble your fat-laden coffee shop favorite.
If you don't enjoy the taste or texture of low-carb low-fat banana bread, try a few healthy banana bread-inspired dishes instead. Blend up a smoothie using unsweetened vanilla almond milk, vanilla protein powder, Greek yogurt, cinnamon and banana extract for a "banana bread" smoothie. Or make banana bread protein pancakes with a batter made from a tablespoon of banana powder -- which has about 5 grams of net carbs -- plus vanilla protein powder, cinnamon and egg.