Bananas make the perfect snack; they’re filling, highly nutritious, and they also happen to be a 0 SmartPoints food. Let’s take a closer look at this versatile fruit and explore all the different ways you can make bananas a regular part of your eating plan.
What makes bananas so nutritious?
Bananas are a good source of fibre, vitamins C and B6, potassium, and manganese. Potassium is an important nutrient that helps with balancing fluid in the body (in both blood and tissue) as well as helping with blood pressure regulation. Manganese is a trace mineral that the human body needs to help with nutrient absorption, bone development, and the immune system. Bananas are relatively high in carbohydrates, which makes them a good fuel choice before or during an intense workout.
Buying and storing bananas
Try to buy bananas that are still slightly green around the stem, they’ll last longer and you’ll be able to keep them on your counter for a longer time before they become overripe. To quickly ripen bananas, place them in a paper bag for a day or two (you can also speed up the ripening process for other fruits and vegetables by placing them in the bag with the bananas). Bananas that have turned black are ideal for quick breads and muffins. If you have blackened bananas but aren’t planning on doing any baking in the near future break the bananas into small chunks and freeze in a single layer for ice cream and smoothies.
How to include bananas in your diet
On their own: Whether you prefer a slightly underripe banana or are a fan of super-sweet overripe bananas, this is one tropical fruit that’s satisfyingly tasty on its own.
As a frozen treat: Using either whole or cut-up bananas, dip the fruit in dark chocolate or yogurt and sprinkle with coconut or crushed nuts. Arrange the embellished bananas on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid.
Make a naturally sweetened pudding: In a food processor, blend an overripe banana with a ripe avocado and 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder until smooth. Chill for at least an hour before serving.
Use a banana as a vegan egg replacement: If you’re making something chewy like oatmeal cookies or brownies, you can substitute 1 mashed up banana for every egg the recipe calls for.
Add them to your oatmeal: For a breakfast treat that will keep you feeling full for hours, bananas can either be mashed into the oats as they’re being cooked or they can be thinly sliced and added towards the end.
Make banana ice cream: All you need to make a basic banana ice cream are bananas and a food processor. Cream the frozen bananas together in the food processor, adding flavourings such as Greek yogurt, frozen fruit, nut butter, and unsweetened cocoa powder. Check out our recipe for Banana Ice Cream Five Ways here!
Sweeten up a spicy curry: Although it might seem strange, bananas regularly make an appearance in South East Asian curry recipes. Spicy coconut milk sauces are tempered by slices of sweet banana in the same way a mango or peach chutney would.
- Make banana pancakes: Add a mashed-up banana to your next batch of pancakes (like our Banana Bread Protein Pancake recipe here) for a special weekend breakfast treat, you might even find yourself skipping the maple syrup!