A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Monday, March 28, 2011

That's Bananas!!!!

Curved yellow fruit, aka bananas, are good and good for you.  Bananas offer the ability to please people that have different tastes.  Some may just them firm with a hint of green for easy slicing over cereal or as a healthy grab and go option.  Others may enjoy the softer, spotty kinds with a higher sugar content.  Then others may only want them super soft and mostly brown skin to mash and use in baking.  Of course, a person could enjoy all of these options as they are all superb choices.  Try buying bananas at different stages of ripeness to enjoy the variety of ways to use these "curved yellow fruit."
Bananas on FoodistaBananas
If you've been led to believe bananas are just unhealthy sugar torpedos, check out this list of 10 reasons to think otherwise (info obtained from this site):

1. Ulcers: Bananas are one of the few foods ulcer patients can eat without suffering setbacks and pain. Bananas lower the levels of acid in gastric juices in the stomach, and build a protective coating inside the stomach.

2. Minor burns: Yes, bananas can provide pain relief from minor burns and other wounds. The best way to accomplish this is to mash up the inside of a banana, then wrap it in a cloth or paper towel and place it on the burnt area. Pain relief should follow shortly thereafter.

3. Acne: The potassium in bananas suffocates bacteria and clears pores. Make a mask by mashing a banana, apply to affected areas, and allow it to dry for 20 minutes.

4. Anemia: The high amount iron in bananas helps stimulate the growth of hemoglobin in the body, which can help with anemia.

5. Blood pressure: The potassium in bananas helps to combat sodium, which is a big no-no for those with heart conditions and high blood pressure.

6. PMS: The high levels of vitamin B6 in bananas help to regulate blood glucose levels, which affects the moods and pains of women suffering PMS. – Men, feed your significant others a banana to maintain happiness!!

7. Cramping: All the potassium in bananas is good for cramping, allowing the body’s muscles to more freely contract and expand. This is especially important for the athletes.

8. Constipation: Bananas are a natural, light laxative, allowing the body to deal with constipation without turning to diarrhea. The fiber provided by bananas is the reason for this….obviously.

9. Depression: Believe it or not, bananas are great for lifting ones mood. Bananas contain tryptophan, a mood leveling protein also found in turkey. And like chocolate, bananas contain norepinephrine and serotonin, which can help one relax. Also, the vitamin B in bananas helps to calm the nervous system.

10. Smoking: The combination of vitamins A1, C, B6 and B12 in bananas, along with potassium, helps those who are trying to quit smoking from nicotine withdrawal.

So, now you have some good reasons to incorporate bananas in your diet. Don't feel like just peeling and eating a banana by itself every day?  You're not alone!  I demand excitement from my food and always look for new and interesting ways it can be used. 
 
Here are a few ideas for more variety:
  • Use ripe bananas (soft with a lot of brown spots), to make a healthy banana bread or muffins.  Allrecipes.com has a lot of different recipes, I like the ones that use yogurt, applesauce and mashed bananas in place of the usual oil....here's a good one to follow.
  • Peel and place in freezer for few hours.  Once frozen, you can blend bananas with a little milk to make a quick, healthy, banana ice cream.  Try adding some peanut butter or other nuts when blending for some great crunch and flavor.
  • You can also put a popsicle stick into a half banana, wrap in plastic, and freeze for a quick banana-pop.  Dip in chocolate and roll in crushed cereal or nuts for a special treat for both kids and adults.
  • Be creative, I used homemade chocolate protein pancakes
    for my sandwich!
  • Make a peanut (or other nut) butter, banana, and honey sandwich or wrap.  Just slice a firm banana and place with nut butter between whole wheat bread or whole wheat wrap; add honey to taste.  If you have a soft, ripe banana, mash it and use it as a spread on the sandwich.  Try tossing whole or crushed nuts for a crunchy sandwich.  Combining the healthy fats and protein from PB with the high quality carbs from bananas is a good option for the insulin sensitive. The reasoning is two fold; one, it tastes awesome, and two, the protein and fats help slow down the speed at which the sugars enter your body keeping insulin steady.
  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add a touch of butter to the pan and saute banana slices for a few minutes.  The natural sugars will carmelize and make a for a tasty treat alone, on ice cream, yogurt, or on a sandwich with peanut butter.

Don't limit yourself to just banana bread, you can use ripe, mashed bananas to replace at least half of the oil called for in many recipes which will make your creation sweeter and healthier.  Remember, you do not need to add as much sugar if using bananas.  Check out this site for 100 ways to use a banana.

It's not shown here, but a dollop of greek yogurt really helps the flavor and protein content.
With the plentiful options available to use a banana, one of my favorites is wrapping 1Tbs peanut butter, half a banana, a drizzle of honey, and some vanilla protein powder in a whole wheat wrap (I like FlatOut Bread).  Then wrapping that in foil and placing in the freezer.  Then there is a quick breakfast waiting for you when in a hurry or a nice treat any time of day.



Hope this motivates you to use bananas and have fun at the same time.  If you don't like them ripe, store in the fridge to slow the process down.  On the other hand, place in a paper bag to speed the ripening process along.

4 comments:

  1. I like this one a lot, I remember staying with you and Kelley and you made us breakfast with pancakes and the bananas cooked in the skillet. It was so yummy. I made it for Taylor one morning and her picky self didn't like it, but that was one of the best breakfast I have had.
    I love reading your blog. Keep it up.

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  2. Glad to hear you liked it that much, Steph! I need to make that more often. Making this post really had me craving some peanut butter and banana. Keep on reading, I try to post as much as possible!

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  3. Your post got me craving bananas so i went to Central Market and bought some bananas and this morning I had oatmeal with raisins and bananas so yummy. Now I am craving bananas and peanut butter. Guess I will be making another stop to the CM tomorrow for some healthy peanut butter.

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  4. Awesome! That's not a bad craving to have, I think I wake up with the craving every day. Check out CM's peanut butter grinder in the bulk section. Just fresh ground peanuts, nothing more......soo good.

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