Frugal Real Food Tip: Sweeten with Bananas

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If you want to save money cooking healthy food, it’s a good idea to sweeten with bananas. They’re more frugal than other whole food sweeteners, and they taste delicious!


One of the financial challenges of a real food diet is the cost of whole food sweeteners. I do a lot of baking because I like to know exactly what’s going into the snacks my family eats. I tend to cut back on the amount of sweetener found in traditional recipes, but I do use my fair share of sweeteners because we go through a lot of muffins, snack bars, and other healthy sweet treats around here.

I rely on maple syrup and honey in many recipes because they’re less processed than white sugar. They contain trace amounts of minerals, they’re minimally processed, and I have access to local versions of both.

However, the price of both maple syrup and honey can be steep. I get maple syrup for about $40 a gallon when I visit relatives in Vermont, which is nearly half the price I find at the grocery stores here in Massachusetts. It comes out to about $2.50 for a cup of maple syrup. I haven’t found a great price for high quality honey either, so I pay about $2.40 a cup for honey. With prices like these, I need other sweet sources in my baking.

Sweeten with Bananas

That’s where bananas come in. I love the fact that I can mash up a banana and put it in all sorts of different baked goods. It adds sweetness and moisture to the recipe, and it costs much less than honey or maple syrup.

I can get organic bananas for $.29 each at Trader Joe’s. It takes about 4 of these bananas to generate a cup of mashed bananas, for a total of $1.16. This is much less than the $2.56 a cup I pay for maple syrup. That’s why I often throw a mashed banana or two into my baked goods so I can cut back even further on the added sweeteners.

Baking with Bananas

Here are some baked goods that include bananas in their ingredient lists:

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

Dairy-Free Banana Bread

Apple Cinnamon Bread

Gluten-Free Waffles


Chewy Blueberry Banana Oat Bars

Blueberry Banana Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you’re looking to make your baked goods healthier, try using half a cup of mashed ripe banana in place of half a cup of sugar or other sweetener. You may be surprised by how much better they taste!


  1. Such great advice! I love baking too and it would be nice to cut down on sugar. Bananas are a perfect answer!

  2. I love the idea of using bananas in baked good recipes. I do it once in awhile, but realize I should do it more often!

    1. Thanks, Jill. It’s a great little trick, and if anyone in your house doesn’t love bananas, you can just use a little bit and they won’t even notice it.

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