Athletes’ favorite banana bread

2 weeks ago I ran the 20 km of Brussels for the second time. My first time was last year and it was so painful that I don’t understand how I could show up a second time at the starting line. Tired, lungs & legs on fire, blisters all over my feet…in fact, the only positive feeling I had was the fact that I never felt like I was out of energy..and this is where the “athlete’s banana bread” plays its part! Then this year here I was, and much better prepared than the previous.  But the banana bread helped me again, I am sure!

If you knew how much I had trained for the 2011 edition, you could say it was easy to do better : I had not been able to train AT ALL that time. I sprained my ankle a few weeks after subscribing to the race, and had started slowly jogging again a week before D day. But I though I might as well go, even if it meant walking the whole time, as people had told me the atmosphere was amazing (and it is true).

Once there though, I just felt like I needed to perform in some was a race, I could not just walk like I was visiting or something. So I spent the most painful hours of my life, but I finished running (sloooowly), not walking. And until now, I still believe that what kept me up, was this banana bread recipe packed with potassium and long lasting energy. I adapted it from a regular banana bread recipe that my ex-roommate used to make when I was living in Boston a few years ago (Kat, if our hear me, thanks for the deliciousness). I will post that version too one day.

Anyway, this year, the combination of this special bread and (more) intense training made me fly (or so I felt). I still got a lot of blisters though..if you found a cake recipe that can help, let me know!

How can this bread help before a long & intense effort?

Before exercise, you would need to have a relatively high-carbohydrate, moderate protein, low-fat meal …and this is exactly what this banana bread is about!

Slow-release sugar: In order to be able to keep on going for several hours, you will need some long lasting energy, thus slow-release sugar. This is why this bread is made with whole wheat flour rather than regular white flour. The bread is also sweetened with honey rather than sugar, as honey is metabolised a lot slower,  providing quick but sustained energy release.

Moderate protein : Protein are important to build muscle and repair the tissues. This cake contains eggs and vegetable protein from the whole wheat.

Low-fat : Low fat foods are better as they digest easier during exercise. Eating too fat would be heavy on your stomach and might make you feel unconfortable during the effort. Thanks to the ripe bananas, this cake stays moist, though it contains no butter and only a little oil.

Potassium :  Because of the exercise, you may need extra potassium to replace that lost from muscle during exercise. Low potassium can cause muscle cramping and cardiovascular irregularities, which can be prevented by eating foods high in potassium such as bananas, nuts or raisins (all in this cake).

So here is how you can make your own “sports bread”:


250 g whole wheat flour
3 ripe bananas (the more brown the better in my opinion)
80 g honey (or 120 ml maple syrup)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
20 ml milk soured with 3 teaspoons lemon juice
2 eggs (2 whites, 1 yolk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
20 ml colza oil
1/2 cup raisins or dates (optional)
1/2 cup nuts (optional)
1. In a large bowl, mash bananas, add vanilla and eggs to bananas.  The other ingredients will be added to this bowl eventually.
2. Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. Cream honey and butter and then add to banana mixture (Soften the butter a bit beforehand so it’s easier. If you don’t have a mixer with a Cream setting, I just use a fork to sort of squish the butter & sugar together).
4. Add flour, alternatively with the milk, ending with flour.
5. Add raisins and nuts, if desired.
6. Bake at 180°C for one hour. When toothpick comes out clean it is done. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, remove from pan, and enjoy preferably 3 hours before the effort.

4 thoughts on “Athletes’ favorite banana bread

  1. Thanks and thank you all for letting me know you liked this post! Most successful one so far…I am working on homemade granola bars now,watch out! Hope you will like them too


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