Banana Bread with Walnuts

By Sheila Kealey

Banana bread can be a delicious pre-run treat that will provide your body with the carbohydrates it needs to go the distance.  Unfortunately, most banana bread recipes aren’t that healthy: the typical loaf is made with large amounts of sugar and oil/butter and refined flour, which contributes a high calorie count of not-so-healthy ingredients (a typical coffee shop banana bread has over 400 calories per piece).

Here’s a loaf that’s just as tasty, easy to make, and much more nutritious. As with most of my recipes, I’ve tinkered with the ingredients to maximize the amount of healthful ingredients, without sacrificing great flavour and texture. In this case, the bananas provide much of the rich taste and moistness, allowing me to reduce the fat and sugar that provide calories without protective nutrients. I have included a generous amount of walnuts – they add a nice crunch, flavour, and provide healthy fats and other beneficial nutrients. Whole wheat flour subs in for the traditional refined white flour, providing more fiber, potassium, protein, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Best of all, it’s a great tasting loaf.


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt (I used nonfat)
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil, melted butter, or trans fat-free margarine
  • 3 medium bananas, mashed (about 1.5 cups mashed banana)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts


1.     Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 8½ x 4½ x 2½-inch pan.

2.     In a medium-sized bowl or food processor, whisk together eggs, sugar, yogurt, and oil. Stir in mashed banana and vanilla.

3.     In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

4.     Add banana mixture to flour mixture, and stir to combine.

5.     Bake bread until golden brown on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean (about 45 minutes to 1 hour). Remove from pan and cool on rack.

Makes 12 Slices

Nutrition Per Slice

  • 195 calories
  • 5 g protein
  • 8 g fat (1 g sat)
  • 30 mg cholesterol
  • 28 g carbohydrate
  • 3 g fiber
  • 250 mg sodium
  • 228 mg potassium
  • Iron: 6 % Daily Value
  • Calcium: 7.5 % Daily Value

Sheila Kealey is a health promotion consultant, writer, and athlete passionate about encouraging lifestyle habits that promote good health.  She has a Masters’ degree in Public Health and has collaborated on many research studies related to diet and health. Sheila cross country ski races with XC Ottawa, and also competes in triathlons and running races (5k’s are her favourite, but she has gone the distance once, running a 2:57 marathon).  Sheila loves developing healthy recipes, and sharing advice on nutrition, physical activity, sports science, and tasty nourishing foods on Twitter and her website.