Quarantine got you going bananas?
Why is it that when I buy bananas, no one wants to eat them, but when they are not there, everyone wants a banana? I really hate wasting and throwing out food. So I tend to stick foods in the freezer for later use. After three or four months, I find a have quite a big collection of random, single bananas in there. The intention is always to make banana bread. As we went into quarantine, I didn't really know how often we could go out and what would be available for us. My thinking again was: stock up on bananas. And my kids again decided they didn't want to eat them.
That is when I decided that I had to write a blog post about bananas. I've got three great uses for those overripe bananas that no one wants to eat. The good news is that they will definitely want to eat them these three ways!
Save them for smoothies and protein shakes
The first quick tip I have for you is to create little bundles of fresh fruits and sliced bananas to have on hand for a healthy smoothie for protein shake. This makes an easy, delicious, and nutritious breakfast, afternoon or post workout snack.
Especially when berries are in season in the summer, I will buy them in bulk and freeze them for later use. One of my favorite ways is in a smoothly and bananas work perfectly for this. You can combine a bit of banana with other red fruits to get a wide variety of vitamins and antioxidants and limit the sugar at the time.
Make Banana "Ice Cream"
This is such a fun and easy recipe that the kids will love, especially as the weather starts to warm up. Place frozen banana slices onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put bananas in the freezer and leave until completely frozen. Tip the frozen banana slices into the bowl of a food processor and whiz until it becomes creamy and "ice cream-like." Eat plain or use in place of ice cream and top with your favorite sundae toppings. The kids will really love to get involved making this one and you can feel good about them having a healthy, whole foods treat!
Bake banana bread
Just the smell of this banana bread in the oven will get them running to the kitchen. My grandma used to make the *best* banana bread. There was a lot of butter, sugar, and love in that bread. Delicious, absolutely! But health-wise, I knew I could do better. When developing a healthy recipe alternative, it will almost never tick all the boxes of an original recipe. My goal when I do healthier recipe development is to at least tick most of the boxes.
This is my go-to recipe for banana bread. I adapted the recipe from an app called Caveman Feast, a paleo recipe app. I trimmed it down a bit, replacing the almond butter, which I did not think added anything but a lot of calories to the overall taste and texture, with Greek or plain yogurt. This banana bread has no added sugar and is gluten free, yet it is very flavorful and moist; just what a nice banana bread should be. I change the recipe up a bit, too. Sometimes I add in chocolate chips or blueberries or raspberries. As with all my recipes, you can really take this one and make it your own. Using thawed bananas for this recipe works really well. You may just have to add a bit more flour, as they will add more liquid into the recipe. If you'd like to make this recipe and your bananas are not yet ripe, just peel them and microwave them for 30 seconds to one minute. It will bring out the flavor a bit more. Enjoy!
Healthy(ier) Banana Bread
4 ripe bananas
4 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil
1 pot (125g/4oz/ 1/2 cup Greek or plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of buckwheat or coconut flour
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp maple syrup (optional if bananas are not ripe)
1. Preheat the oven 180C/350F. Prepare a bread loaf pan: butter or oil it and cover the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside
3. In a large bowl, mash the peeled bananas with a fork or potato masher
4. Add in all wet ingredients: eggs, butter or coconut oil, and yogurt
5. With a whisk, beat the wet ingredients until well incorporate (alternatively, you can also use an electric hand mixer OR prepare the batter with a food processor)
6. Fold in dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
7. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Test with a tooth pick. When the inserted tooth pick comes out clean, the banana bread is ready.
8. Let cool in the pan, on a raised wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a small sharp knife around the edges of the pan. Invert onto a sheet pan and then invert again onto a serving plate.
9. Enjoy with the whole family!