Two days before Christmas, my brother flew to Southern California to join us for the holiday. He texted us updates as he packed, drove to the airport, and waited for his flight to take off, but before he even left his apartment, he wrote me to ask if I wanted him to bring me the really ripe banana on his counter.
I’ve developed quite the reputation with my family… Everyone, including my grandma, knows I always leap at the chance to take ripe bananas off of their hands and bake with them… And Grandma will even leave bunches of them on my front porch!
On Christmas Eve, my brother walked the mile from Grandma’s where he and my parents were staying to my house, and he carefully carried the banana in his backpack, gingerly packing it on top so it wouldn’t get squished. When he arrived, he gave me a hug and presented me with the prized piece of fruit, and I motioned to him to sit at the kitchen island while I baked.
However, I saved the banana for another day… And instead, I whipped up two special Christmas desserts for my brother to enjoy! With his many allergies, it’s nearly impossible for him to find store-bought sweets that suit his dietary needs, so I told him I’d bake him anything he wanted.
He picked these cookies (literally our family’s all-time favorite cookies!) and a modified version of these brownies, and as I measured and mixed together the ingredients, we laughed and traded stories, filling each other in on everything that had happened in life since we last saw each other at Thanksgiving. My travels, his PhD work, new friends, holiday parties, two weddings… And as a result, our catch-up time absolutely flew by!
After a jam-packed Christmas Day, including presents and holiday movies and those special desserts for our simple holiday feast, the rest of my family felt a little exhausted and planned a low-key schedule for the following day with “naps” as the main item on their agendas. So during that time, I headed back into my own kitchen to turn my brother’s ripe banana into…
This Healthy One-Bowl Chocolate Chip Banana Bread! It’s relatively quick and really simple to make (no mixer and only one bowl required!), and it’s incredibly moist and tender… Almost like cake!
This easy banana bread is also full of natural sweet fruit flavor, which pairs perfectly with the abundance of rich chocolate morsels. You know me… I’m a huge chocoholic (I even wrote a chocolate cookbook!) and always include it as part of my healthy diet! 😉 And each slice is 130 calories!
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST HEALTHY ONE-BOWL CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BREAD
Let’s go over how to make this healthy one-bowl chocolate chip banana bread!
As the recipe title suggests, you’ll start with one bowl! And in that one bowl, you’ll whisk together a teensy bit of melted coconut oil or butter (just a smidge!), some egg whites, and a pinch of salt. The small amount of coconut oil or butter, a mere ½ tablespoon, really helps keep your healthy chocolate chip banana bread low calorie and low fat!
As for the egg whites, their protein helps with the texture and structure of your banana bread. After the loaf rises in the oven, the protein in the egg whites ensures your healthy chocolate chip banana bread doesn’t collapse while cooling and also has a beautifully moist and tender texture!
Next comes the banana! You can mash it ahead of time, or you can add the banana chunks to your one big mixing bowl and mash it there. Both will work, but regardless of which option you choose…
Make sure your bananas are really ripe! As in… So ripe that they’re basically pure brown or black. These ripe — or borderline overripe — bananas contain a lot more natural sweetness than the pure yellow ones, which means you won’t need to add very much additional sweetener to your batter. They also have a stronger flavor and softer texture, both of which help create the best healthy chocolate chip banana bread imaginable!
To boost that natural sweetness, you’ll use one of my favorite ingredients: liquid stevia. Stevia is a plant-based, no-calorie sweetener that contains nothing refined or artificial (aka it’s clean eating friendly!). It’s also really concentrated. You just need 1 teaspoon for this entire loaf of healthy chocolate chip banana bread!
Hint: Many stevia brands and products have slightly different sweetness levels, so I recommend using the same one that I did for the best results. I buy it online here because that’s the best price I’ve found (I also don’t notice any strange aftertastes with it like with some other stevia products!), and you’ll use it in all of these recipes of mine too!
In addition to the mashed banana, you’ll also stir Greek yogurt into your batter. The two of these both add the same moisture as extra butter or oil but for a fraction of the calories, and the Greek yogurt also gives your healthy chocolate chip banana bread a protein boost!
And now for a secret ingredient… It sounds strange, but hear me out, okay? That secret ingredient is…
Plain white vinegar! Here’s the nerdy reason why it’s such a key component to this healthy one-bowl chocolate chip banana bread… The vinegar (an acid) reacts with the baking soda (a base — you’ll add that in a moment!). When these two ingredients react, they create air bubbles (carbon dioxide air bubbles, in case you were wondering!). Those air bubbles help your banana bread rise, and they also create a more tender texture. However, all of the vinegar reacts during the baking process, so you can’t taste it at all in your finished loaf of banana bread!
Baking science is pretty cool, isn’t it?? 😉
After stirring in some milk, it’s time to add the remaining dry ingredients: white whole wheat flour, baking soda, and baking powder. If you’ve browsed through my recipes before, you’ve probably heard seen me say this…
White whole wheat flour does exist, and it’s not just a combination of white (aka all-purpose) flour and regular whole wheat flour! Instead, it’s made by finely grinding a special type of soft white wheat (hence the name!), whereas regular whole wheat flour comes from a heartier variety of red wheat. They both have the same health benefits (like extra fiber!), but white whole wheat flour has a lighter taste and texture… Which lets the sweet flavor and moist texture of your healthy chocolate chip banana bread really shine!
However, do NOT just dump these three ingredients straight into your big mixing bowl! First, add the flour in a fairly even layer. Then sprinkle the baking soda and baking powder evenly across the top of the flour. Sprinkling helps prevent clumps, which means your healthy chocolate chip banana bread will rise properly and have the best texture imaginable!
Of course, it’s impossible to make this recipe without the chocolate chips, right?? 😉 I love using these mini chocolate chips because they taste so rich, they turn melty and gooey in the oven, and their small size ensures that every bite of banana bread contains at least one morsel of chocolate (if not more)!
HOW TO BAKE THE BEST HEALTHY CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BREAD
Before adding the batter to the pan, I highly recommend lining your loaf pan with foil or parchment paper! Otherwise, you’ll need to invert it to get your banana bread out of the pan… And that means you’ll squish and smear the chocolate chips on top of the loaf. If you line your pan, you can simply lift your healthy chocolate chip banana bread out and slide it onto your cooling rack!
But before you pop that pan in the oven, cover the top with foil! I like to rip off a really big piece of foil so I can “bump” up the center to look like a circus tent. This way, the top of my healthy one-bowl chocolate chip banana bread doesn’t touch the foil while it rises in the oven!
The foil actually acts as a shield. It prevents the top of your banana bread from burning or browning too quickly, while still allowing the center to bake through evenly. It usually creates a prettier top too; I’ve found that my loaves of banana bread don’t crack as much in the center when I use foil! Then partway through the baking time, you’ll quickly and carefully remove the foil tent and slide your loaf pan back in the oven so your healthy one-bowl chocolate chip banana bread can finish baking and get that nice beautiful golden color on top.
Then all that’s left to do is wait for it to cool to room temperature (pure torture, I know!), and…
Cut yourself a slice to enjoy! 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 one-bowl chocolate chip banana bread!
Healthy One-Bowl Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- ½ tbsp (7g) unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup (260g) mashed banana (about 2 medium – see Notes!)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp liquid stevia
- ¼ cup (60g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp (30mL) plain white vinegar
- 6 tbsp (90mL) nonfat milk
- 2 ¼ cups (270g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ¼ cup (56g) miniature chocolate chips, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9x5” loaf pan with foil, and coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, egg whites, and salt. Add the banana* (see Notes!), stirring until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla, stevia, and Greek yogurt, stirring until no lumps remain. Stir in the vinegar until fully incorporated. Stir in the milk. Pour the flour evenly over the top of the batter, and evenly sprinkle the baking soda and baking powder on top of the flour. Stir until the flour is just incorporated. Gently fold in 3 ½ tablespoons of chocolate chips.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Gently press the remaining chocolate chips on 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.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Brownies
♡ Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Oatmeal Cookies
♡ Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Scones
♡ Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
♡ Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins
♡ Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy banana recipes!