When my mom, my brother, and I met up with our aunt and cousins for our Disneyland vacation this past spring, we all stayed at the same hotel, almost directly across the street from Target. On the evening before our first day at the theme park, we headed across the street and stocked up on snacks.
We wanted to go on as many rides as possible… Which meant we wanted to avoid as many long concession stand lines as possible, too!
My brother packed nuts and peanut butter-filled pretzel bites in his backpack, my aunt grabbed granola bars to carry with her, and Mom and I both tucked squares of dark chocolate into our purses. Thank goodness the weather cooperated and stayed relatively cool (at least for our California spring standards!) so our chocolate didn’t melt!
I also brought along a piece of fruit each day. I opted for a big juicy orange on our first two days, but since I forgot to buy a third for our final day, I gently tucked a yellow banana into the top of my purse on that last morning.
After riding multiple roller coasters (my brother’s favorite rides and mine, too!), including the Matterhorn, Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Space Mountain, I opened my purse and reached for my banana snack…
But instead of the bright yellow, perfectly ripe banana I expected, I pulled out one that was completely brown, bruised, and mushy. It must have gotten squashed while rattling about on the floor in between my feet during those roller coaster rides!
Since the banana mush looked perfect for baking banana bread — but definitely not eating (I’d need a spoon for that!) — I laughed, pitched it, and reached back into my purse for a square of chocolate instead.
While cleaning up my computer files last week, I stumbled across the folder with hundreds of photos from our Disneyland trip. I smiled as I scrolled through them, happy memories floating through my mind… And then chuckled aloud when I spotted the pictures from mid-morning on our last day where I realized just how mushy my banana was.
That same afternoon, I remembered I had a couple of extremely ripe bananas currently sitting on my counter…
So I decided to turn them into this Healthy Chocolate Banana Bread! It’s incredibly moist and has a delicious balance of rich chocolate and sweet fruit flavors (a tribute to the two snacks I brought along on that final day in Disneyland!).
This chocolate banana bread recipe is also easy to make — no mixer required! And even with decadent morsels of mini chocolate chips sprinkled throughout every bite (and an optional but highly recommended chocolate drizzle on top!), each slice is 115 calories!
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD
Let’s go over how to make this healthy chocolate banana bread! I may be a little biased… But it’s definitely the BEST chocolate banana bread I’ve ever had. Even better, it’s fairly simple and straightforward to make!
You’ll start with white whole wheat flour and unsweetened cocoa powder. Just the regular kind of unsweetened cocoa powder! Although it may be tempting to reach for Dutch or special dark cocoa powder, those actually have a different acidity level, and they don’t taste nearly as rich or decadent in this particular recipe. Since you’re using ¾ cup of regular unsweetened cocoa powder, I promise your healthy chocolate banana bread will taste incredibly chocolaty and delicious!
And in case you haven’t heard of it before… White whole wheat flour actually exists, and it’s not just a combination of white (aka all-purpose) flour and whole wheat flour! Instead, white whole wheat flour is made by finely grinding a special type of soft white wheat. Regular whole wheat flour comes from a heartier variety of red wheat, but both of these flours have the same health benefits (like extra fiber!).
Because white wheat is softer, white whole wheat flour has a lighter taste and texture compared to red wheat. That makes it perfect for this banana bread; it lets the sweet banana and rich chocolate flavors truly shine!
Unlike more traditional banana bread recipes that call for ¼ to ½ cup of oil or butter, you just need ½ tablespoon for this recipe. That really helps keep your healthy chocolate banana bread low calorie and low fat!
Then the rest of its tender texture comes from two other ingredients. If you’ve browsed through my recipes before, then you can probably guess what those are!
If you said bananas and Greek yogurt, then you’re right! I love using Greek yogurt in my healthy baking recipes because it adds the same moisture as extra butter or oil but for a fraction of the calories. It also gives your healthy chocolate banana bread a little protein boost!
As for the bananas, they’re overachievers (kind of like me…) and actually play three roles! In this recipe, they provide the fruit flavor (obvious, I’m sure!), moisture, and natural sweetness. Because of this, I highly recommend that you use the ripest and spottiest bananas possible!
The ones that are more brown than yellow — or almost pure black — are perfect. These extremely ripe (and borderline overripe!) bananas contain more natural sweetness than the pure yellow ones, and they also have a much stronger flavor. Since chocolate’s taste can be quite powerful, that stronger banana flavor really helps you taste the fruit in every bite!
To boost this healthy chocolate banana bread’s sweetness level, I also added a bit of liquid stevia and erythritol. Both of these are plant-based, no-calorie sweeteners that contain nothing refined or artificial (aka they’re clean eating friendly!). Although you can find them in many health-oriented stores, I buy both of them online! Here for the liquid stevia and here for the erythritol.
Next comes the secret ingredient… A little bit of plain white vinegar! No, I haven’t gone completely crazy… At least not quite yet. 😉
The vinegar (an acid) reacts with the baking soda (a base) in this recipe. When those two ingredients react, they create air bubbles. Those air bubbles help your healthy chocolate banana bread rise, and they also create a more tender texture. Because all of the vinegar completely reacts during the baking process, you can’t taste the vinegar in your fully baked banana bread — I promise!
Because I’m a huge chocoholic (I even wrote a cookbook called Healthier Chocolate Treats!), cocoa powder just wasn’t enough for me… I wanted another source of chocolate! So I also mixed some of my favorite mini chocolate chips into the batter. I love that their smaller size ensures that every bite contains at least one chocolate chip. That definitely makes for the best chocolate banana bread, right??
Of course, if you’re as big of a chocoholic as I am… Then you can also add a chocolate drizzle on top of your healthy chocolate banana bread once it has fully cooled! Sometimes I’m lazy (or impatient) and skip it, but no matter how you slice and serve it, this yummy breakfast quick bread will still taste delicious!
Plus… I’m always a little more motivated to hop out of bed in the morning when I know I have an extra chocolaty breakfast waiting for me! 😉 And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy chocolate banana bread!
Healthy Chocolate Banana Bread
- 1 ½ cups (180g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- ¾ cup (60g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tbsp (7g) unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp liquid stevia
- 2 tbsp (18g) confectioners’ style erythritol
- ¼ cup (60g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup (260g) mashed banana (about 2 medium – see Notes!)
- 1 tbsp (15mL) plain white vinegar
- 6 tbsp (90mL) nonfat milk
- ¼ cup (56g) miniature chocolate chips, divided
- optional: chocolate drizzle, for serving (see Notes!)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9x5” loaf pan with foil, and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg whites, vanilla extract, and liquid stevia. Stir in the erythritol. Add in the Greek yogurt, stirring until no large lumps remain. Stir in the mashed banana. Stir in the vinegar. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and stirring just until incorporated. (For best results, add the flour mixture in 4 equal parts.) Gently fold in 3 ½ tablespoons of miniature chocolate chips.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Gently press the remaining miniature chocolate chips into the top. Cover the top with foil, crimping the edges around the pan’s rim to seal, and try to push up the foil in the center to ensure it doesn’t touch the batter while baking. Bake covered at 350°F for 35 minutes. Acting very quickly, remove the pan from the oven, and carefully remove the foil. Immediately put the pan back in the oven, and continue baking the banana bread for an additional 30-35 minutes (for a total of 65-70 minutes) or until the top feels firm to the touch and looks golden or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before carefully lifting out and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Once completely cool, top with the chocolate drizzle, if using.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Chocolate Chip Zucchini Banana Bread
♡ Healthy Chocolate Drizzled Raspberry Banana Bread
♡ Healthy Strawberry Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
♡ Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins
♡ Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Brownies
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy banana recipes and healthy chocolate recipes!