I didn’t set out to create a banana bread muffin recipe. Pinterest is full of them, and I certainly never want to make more work for myself! But after a quick dive into the available recipes online, I was disappointed to see how much sugar so many of them contained.
Now as you hopefully know by now, I am not anti-sugar. My kids both had their first taste of sugar before they even turned one and I firmly believe that NOT outlawing products with actual white sugar is important element of raising kids with a healthy attitude towards sweets.
So, we regularly enjoy ice cream, candy and donuts in moderation. But because I know that my kids will be consuming added sugar from these foods, I think it’s especially important to watch their sugar intake from from other food sources, things like muffins and yogurt that often do contain added sugar but don’t necessarily need it (in my book).
And besides, bananas are such a delicious source of natural sweetness, so why mask that with tons of added sugar?
This recipe contains just a third of a cup of sugar and makes 24 muffins, which breaks down to about 2.5 grams of sugar per muffin. That’s less than the amount of sugar in a serving of frozen whole wheat waffles, which are also a food I serve for breakfast regularly! All of which is to say these muffins are A-okay as a regular breakfast food in my book.
You might be wondering why use sugar at all…can’t you make muffins that are ONLY sweetened by bananas? Well for one thing, I already have a recipe like that, although I no longer make them due to my daughter’s nut allergy. It’s definitely possible, I just find that it takes a little more planning in terms of getting your bananas really ripe. And since 2.5 teaspoons of sugar is pretty typical for the other breakfasts we enjoy, like waffles or even my homemade sunflower seed butter recipe, I just don’t worry about it.
Or maybe you’re wondering why these aren’t made with maple syrup or honey or coconut sugar. Aren’t those better options than processed white sugar? In my view, they are perhaps minutely better due to the additional minerals they contain, but our bodies process them very similarly and they’re generally more expensive. Absolutely use them if you prefer, but again, when we’re talking about such a small amount of sugar I don’t think it’s a very big deal.
Will you be trying these? Having a batch on hand has really improved our mornings. I love being able to just hand one to each kid along with some fruit without worrying about burning their toast, turning on the stove for eggs, or the kids smearing yogurt everywhere!
Oh yeah, and about the chocolate chips. You might notice that I’ve only sprinkled them on top and don’t suggest mixing them into the batter. This actually has nothing to do with keeping them low sugar…it’s about keeping them low-mess! I can’t deal with multiple outfit changes on a busy weekday morning and from past experiences with chocolate chip muffins, they’re simply a no-go. But my kids are excited to see a few chips sprinkled on top of their muffins and generally pick them off to eat right away, so it’s a way to keep these muffins less messy but still fun.
Low-Sugar Banana Bread Muffins
- 3 ripe bananas
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt*
- 1/3 cup milk*
- *OR 2/3 cup regular plain yogurt use in place of both the Greek yogurt and milk
- 1/3 cup coconut oil or butter melted
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Mini chocolate chips for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat oven to 375Lightly grease two 12-cup muffin trays or line with muffin liners.
Mash the bananas in a small bowl. Add the egg, milk, yogurt, melted butter or coconut oil and vanilla and mix well. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the cinnamon, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the wet mixture and stir until combined, being careful not to over mix.
Fill the muffin cups about halfway full. This will result in a small muffin that does not puff out over the top of the cup, which I find is a good size for young kids.
Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips, if using.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Store in a sealed container on the counter for 2-3 days or freeze. (I like to freeze about half the batch and store the rest on the counter)
If you don’t have a nut allergy in your home, I think these would be fabulous with 1/2 – 1 cup of chopped walnuts mixed in. I haven’t tried it of course, but let me know if you do!