Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffins

My family loves banana bread. Who doesn’t? Lately we have been going through bananas so quickly that we never end up with any over ripened ones to actually make banana bread. My 15-month old absolutely love bananas. He could eat 2 a day without any complaints…maybe even 3. Traditional banana bread is known as a quick bread because it doesn’t require any yeast. There are many variations, but many of the recipes contain quite a bit of oil and added sugars which make the bread not all that healthy for having a fruit in the name.


Substitute Whole Grains

Many recipes can be made healthier by substituting whole grains for all or part of the refined grains in a recipe. It is a good rule of thumb to substitute only half of the all-purpose flour for whole grain flour. I find that using whole grains adds a nuttier flavor and it also makes the end product more filling and satisfying.

Whole Grain KernelWhat is a Whole Grain?

Whole grains contain the whole grain kernel, whereas a refined or enriched grain has been stripped of the germ and bran layer. The refining process removes fiber, iron and many B vitamins. An enriched grain has had some of those nutrients added back in during processing but the fiber is typically not added back.

Why Refine Grains?

The milling process or refining process is done to make a more tender product. When baking a cake or croissants for example, you want a refined flour so that the end product is light and tender. A whole grain wouldn’t give you quite the same texture. Refined grains definitely serve a purpose, but in our overall diets we should strive to make at least half of the grains we eat, whole grains.

Examples of Whole Grains

Some common whole grains that you can easily start incorporating into your meals and snacks are:

Whole wheat flour
Whole wheat bread and crackers
Whole wheat pasta
Whole wheat tortillas
Whole grain cereals (toasted O’s, whole wheat flakes)
Bulgur/Cracked Wheat

Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffins

I found this great recipe from Harvard’s School of Public Health. They did a muffin makeover with dietitians and chefs to make some of our favorite muffins healthier. This is the base recipe that I used for the muffins featured in this blog, however, I made a few changes to work within my daughter’s egg allergy and what we had on hand in the kitchen. The recipe calls for walnuts, which are an excellent source of omega-3 (ALA) fatty acids.

Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffins
Recipe type: Quick bread, muffin
Cuisine: breakfast, snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
Delicious and satisfying egg-free whole wheat banana nut muffins. Great with a glass of milk or cup of yogurt for breakfast.
  • 1½ cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 5 TBSP canola oil
  • 1 TBSP walnut oil (add an extra TBSP of canola oil if you don't have walnut oil on hand)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 flax egg (1 TBSP ground flax seed with 3 TBSP water; may use a real egg, but this a great substitute for those with an egg allergy.)
  • ½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup plain applesauce (omit if you have 5 ripe bananas)
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. When the oven is preheated, place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and chop.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl combine the oil, brown sugar, flax egg, and yogurt. Whisk to combine, and then stir in the mashed banana and the toasted, chopped walnuts.
  4. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Use a ¼ cup measuring cup to portion out the batter into the 18 lined muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins are nicely browned.
  7. Cool in a wire rack.

More Kid Friendly Whole Grain Recipes from food.unl.edu

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