Any recipe that calls for “very ripe bananas” is a challenge in my kitchen, since my three little monkeys gobble them up faster than you can say Chiquita. We often buy 3 large bunches in one week, yet, they never seem to make it to the spotty brown phase that is so perfect for smoothies, baked goods and ice cream. I’ve been known to break off a few, chop them into pieces and freeze them as a way to make them last. The kids are pretty good about sharing their toys, but when it comes to bananas, all bets are off.
When Miles was a toddler, he was a bit delayed in his speech. But one of his earliest phrases (and one that was repeated over and over and over again) was “milk-and-nana.” I’ll never forget how he’d cry out from his high chair for his favorite snack, sometimes stuffing his mouth so full of banana I’d worry he’d choke. He still loves his bananas, only now he can help himself to the fruit bowl, and often takes two or three at a time!
Bananas are one of the world’s superfoods, known for their high potassium value as well as vitamins A, C and B6. They are high in fiber and can replace electrolytes after an intense workout (or after too many adult beverages!).
Some of our favorite ways to enjoy bananas are:
1. Smoothies: I drink a green smoothie every day for breakfast, and a banana is essential. They go well with anything, adding a creamy texture and masking the taste of kale or spinach with their sweetness. Try mixing a banana with 1 cup of coconut milk, 1 cup kale, 1/2 cup each of mango and pineapple for a tropical treat. Or, for a real energy boost, try it with 1 cup almond milk, (kale optional) and 2 Tbsp each of nut butter, flax seeds and raw cacao powder.
2. Energy Bites: Kids love making and eating this three-ingredient recipe. We make them for a quick breakfast or a after school snack. You’ll need three bananas, approximately 1/2 cup of nut butter and 1 cup of crispy rice cereal, as well as some toothpicks. Slice each banana into 1/2-inch rounds. Spread 1 teaspoon of nut butter on one side of each. Dip nut butter side into a bowl of rice cereal, then secure with a toothpick. Fast, fun and healthy!
3. Banana “Ice Cream:” I devoted an entire post to this one before, but it’s worth repeating. For this ice cream loving family, this recipe has saved us from thousands of calories and hundreds of grams of fat! It’s simply amazing to think you can make a tasty, ice cream substitute from only one ingredient – bananas!
As you can tell, we love our bananas. What fun ways do you or your kids enjoy them?