Posts Tagged ‘banana’

Tasteful Banana Nut Muffins

image1(22) Bryee Shepard, M.S., R.D. | Tasteful Wisdom

Ok so here we are, almost at the end of January. And look, we survived the New Year’s resolution craze! … While most of us have probably ditched that resolution by now, this is the perfect time to consider making healthy choices and cooking/baking delicious things on the regular. Let’s forget about that extreme makeover, impossible expectation, set-up for major disappointment plan, and think about how we can take it easy and simply nourish ourselves to the best of our ability. (more…)

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Stop Drinking Your Smoothies!

Smoothie Bowl Resized

Super Smoothie bowls better    As we know, the “health trend” of the smoothie is absolutely out of control. I outlined in my previous post the unhealthy truths behind these drinks. I also gave tips to turn your smoothies into health elixirs, and I will share two recipes here. You will notice that these are not your average smoothie…they are in a bowl…and you will eat these with a spoon. Why? Because it is a better! Let me explain. There are two main reasons why you should “EAT” your smoothies, instead of “DRINKING” them:

  1. More complete digestion and absorption. Believe it or not, digestion starts in our mouths. Amylase, a digestive enzyme used to break down complex carbohydrates into more easily absorbed molecules, is produced in our salivary glands (and pancreas-but that’s another story). It is released into our saliva as we chew our food to kick off the digestive process. By starting digestion at this early stage, food is broken down and absorbed more easily as digestion progresses. When we blend up our healthy smoothies, we are obviously aiming for optimal absorption. This cannot be achieved if we completely bypass our mouths by gulping it down. Rather than gulping, we should be chewing. Weird? Yes…but the whole point of making smoothies rich in nutrients is to reap the benefits of the nutrient absorption. By eating your smoothies with a spoon and permitting your saliva to mix with the nutrient-rich elixir, you will allow for more complete absorption and digestion, and thus receive the full benefits from your smoothie. This will also cut down on the common complaint of bloating after drinking a smoothie. So CHEW your smoothies!
  2. Mind tricks. This may sound all too simple, but guess what- it works. Typically, we blend up our smoothie concoction, throw it into a glass or an environmentally-friendly plastic cup with a straw, and gulp (or chug) it down as we frantically run out the door or around the house like a crazy. There are definitely occasions for this type of ludicrous behavior, but this should NEVER be the norm. When you guzzle a smoothie, all it becomes is a drink….a thirst quencher. Not a meal. However, as I discussed in my prior post, there are quite often enough calories and macronutrients to call this “drink” a meal. So now you have successfully downed 400-500 calories without even noticing that you just ate breakfast. What happens next? You will be actively seeking out breakfast in 45 minutes to an hour at the office, or worse, contemplating the drive thru on your way in. Don’t do it. Slow down and eat your smoothie with a utensil. This is a meal! Treat it like one, and you will be surprised how far it gets you. Not to mention, straws have an evil side effect of eventual upper lip wrinkles (smoker’s lines around the mouth), as my mother-in-law so graciously brought to my attention. Since then I have effectively destroyed all environmentally-friendly straws in my possession-and I suggest you do too.

Here are two absolutely delicious, healthy, dietitian-approved smoothie bowls to start your day off right!

Classic Strawberry Banana

1 Banana, reserve ¼ for garnish

1 Cup Frozen Strawberries, reserve ¼ cup for garnish

¼ Cup Sunflower Seeds, reserve 1 Tablespoon for garnish  

2 Cups Baby Spinach

1 1/2 Cups Water

½ cup Ice

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Blend up banana, strawberry, sunflower seeds, spinach and water until smooth and creamy. Add ice and blend until incorporated. Pour into a bowl, top with reserved ingredients and enjoy!

 

 

3/4 Cup Frozen Mango Chunks, reserve ¼ cup for garnish

3/4 Cup Frozen Blueberries, reserve ¼ cup for garnish

½ Banana, garnish optional

2 Tablespoons Cup Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas), reserve 1 Teaspoon for garnish

3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Coconut Flakes, reserve 1 Teaspoon for garnish

2 Cups Chopped Kale

1 1/2 Cups Water

½ cup Ice

 

Blend up mango, blueberries, banana, pumpkin seeds, coconut, kale, and water until smooth and creamy. Add ice and blend until incorporated. Pour into a bowl, top with reserved ingredients and enjoy!

 

       

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Frozen Chocolate Covered Banana Sandwiches

banana pops framed

banana pops

Here in Florida, while the rest of the country is celebrating the ice melting, we are preparing for summer. With temperatures in the 90’s for the past two weeks, it is apparent that the heat index is going nowhere but up.  Growing up in Florida, this warm breeze meant school was coming to an end and the fun was about to begin! Summers were full of sunshine and sun showers, pool parties and long days at the beach. It brings a certain smell to the air. A familiar smell, that reminds me of firecrackers and barbecues and chlorine drenched hands picking up sandwiches and snacks before taking another jump in the pool. There is no better smell in the world.
As we rejoice in the heat, why not find solace with a cool frozen treat –  but rather than downing a frozen sugary juice, let’s  indulge in a cold snack that has protein, fiber, sweetness, and is filling enough to satisfy in one or two bites. Behold, Frozen Chocolate Covered Banana Sandwiches! These little babies are great to make for kids and adults alike. A healthy helping of almond butter sandwiched between two slices of bananas then covered in chocolate… How can you go wrong!? They are simple, fun, and the perfect sweet snack to cool off under the sun.
20140427-132447.jpg Make your banana sandwiches by placing roughly a teaspoon of almond butter in between two slices of banana. To skewer or not to skewer….I prefer to add a skewer to the sandwiches before freezing them. A Popsicle stick would work just fine, but it may be a bit on the large side. I purchased mini wood skewers and cut them down with a pair of craft scissors to about 4 inches. You can choose not to skewer and I promise they will be just as delicious! 20140427-132438.jpg
After assembling the sandwiches, place in the freezer for at least 2 hours (but no more than 12 hours to avoid freezer taste). Before taking them out of the freezer, prepare the chocolate. I like to use dark chocolate baking chips to up the antioxidant potential and decrease the cloying sweetness that semi-sweet chips can bring. Melting chocolate can be tricky because heating just a few seconds too long,  will leave you with a burnt mess. This is one of the few occasions that I prefer the microwave. I have burned chocolate one too many times in a double boiler and have never had a problem in the microwave. Add chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl and place in the microwave for 30 seconds. You will notice they have become slightly shiny as the melting has just begun. Give them a stir and place back in the microwave for 20 seconds. Again, remove and stir. Repeat this process usually about one or two more times until the chocolate is almost all melted. The heat from the bowl will melt the remaining chocolate as you stir. This will keep the chocolate from seizing. When the chocolate is smooth and creamy, dip each banana sandwich one by one. Use the back of a spoon or a small spatula to ensure that the chocolate completely coats the bananas. Place back in the freezer for an hour, and they are ready to serve! After the bananas are completely frozen, store them in a freezer bag to guarantee freshness for up to one month. Enjoy!
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