I’ve been getting requests lately for a not-so-sugary treat that kids can pack to school. This banana bread recipe, adapted from Rebecca Reilly’s book Gluten Free Baking, fills the bill.
If you know this book, you know it is definitely not Paleo, and that it’s full of delicious recipes from sweet (like, molten chocolate cakes that are grain free) to savory (salmon quiche) – all gluten free.
I love this book. My copy is very well worn! When my son was little, there were precious few gluten free products on store shelves, and they pretty much all tasted really, really terrible. This book helped me bake anything for any occasion. He was no longer left out of holidays, birthdays, or gatherings because of gluten intolerance. But, sugar is still not his friend, and this is true for virtually all the kids in my pediatric nutrition practice. Still, kids need to be kids and enjoy treats that work for them once in a while. This recipe works well with coconut sugar instead of cane sugar. Using very ripe bananas enhances both digestibility and sweetness, so save those black and bruised bananas for this – don’t use firm bananas here.
For the flour, you can either mix your own “Bette Hagman Blend” with brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch, or purchase a pre-blended gluten free flour like Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend. Note: Don’t use GF baking mixes, as these add xanthan gum, baking soda, salt or other ingredients not needed here. As always, use organic ingredients as much as possible.
Don’t like grains? There are grain free versions out there – I haven’t sampled this recipe, but if you’re looking for a Paleo-ish version of banana bread, it may be worth a try. It will not rise as much and may be more grainy in texture. Neither recipe is necessarily better in terms of nutrition; what is better is what your kid tolerates well and likes to eat! Many kids do fine on gluten free grains – as long as these aren’t 24/7 calorie sources in your kid’s diet. Both versions offer healthy supportive food in a not-too-sweet treat. For kids with tree nut allergies, skip the grain free version (which relies on almond flour) and go with this recipe below.