Bananas for bananas

Bananas are one of my very favorite foods. I have been eating them since I was a kid. Now I buy them for my family and they enjoy them too. Although we have bananas available to us all year round, their peak season is March. The peak season simply means that they are available in the states and are sold at their lowest price. When a food is not in season, it is usually more expensive and imported from other parts of the world, where the season might be different. Bananas are very inexpensive, usually running $0.59 per pound, they are naturally gluten free and they are filling. Lately, they have received much hype as one of the foods with high amounts of resistant starch, a healthy carbohydrate that fills you up and helps to boost your metabolism. Just before its peak ripeness, a medium size banana has 12.5 grams of resistant starch. In addition, 100 grams of banana provide 467 mg of potassium, 5 mg of calcium, 8.7 mg of Vitamin C and 4 grams of fiber at only 100 calories per serving. Their fiber content is significant and a high fiber diet is linked to lower incidence of heart disease and Type II Diabetes. They also provide 16% of the recommended Vitamin C and 20% of the recommended Vitamin B6. Bananas, consequently are one of the highest natural sources of Vitamin B6, which helps make hemoglobin and antibodies for the immune response. In addition, the benefits of high levels of potassium ensures not only a healthy heart and muscle function, but also healthy bones, due to an increase in calcium absorption. One of my favorite facts about bananas is that they contain a chemical called tryptophan. Have you ever heard of the ‘turkey induced coma’ after Thanksgiving dinner? Well, technically, tryptophan helps the body to produce serotonin, which has a calming effect on the brain and acts as a mild sedative. And since our body cannot make tryptophan, eating bananas is an easy way to get it. Well, bananas can do the same thing, and is one of my top choices for a bed time snack if my girls need one. Bananas are also part of the BRAT diet ( Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) and are recommended when recovering from gastrointestinal illnesses. The recipes one can create using bananas are endless. From breads, to puddings, to pies, to smoothies, to salsas to ice cream, bananas are great to have on hand. Whenever I get bananas that go bad, I stick a batch in the freezer in groups of three bananas. Then pull them out when I need them for a recipe. I also like to chop them up, roll them in carob powder (I am sure this will work for sweetened cocoa as well) and freeze them for a tasty, lowfat dessert any time of day. There are actually two kinds of bananas found in your produce section: sweet bananas that are yellow and we can eat raw and Plantains that are a starchy banana that needs to be cooked before eaten. I do not have much experience with the latter, but I have heard that fried plantains are really yummy. One of my favorite recipes that I made last year was these monkey bars. I was not sure how I was going to play with the recipe. My oldest daughter likes banana flavor in her desserts and my younger one likes pumpkin. But, I made them with bananas in that I thought it would be appropriate since they are called ‘monkey’ bars. And why do monkeys EAT bananas anyway? Monkeys are lucky in that they live in tropical, warm climates and that is where bananas are grown!

Monkey Bars
Ingredients:
1 2/3 cups ripe mashed bananas
¾ cup light-brown sugar
¼ cup grapeseed oil
¼ cup rice milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 ¾ cup Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 cup Carob Chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with olive oil greased tin foil.
Whisk mashed bananas, sugar, oil, milk, eggs, vanilla, soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add flour and xanthan gum. Mix in chips.
Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes.
Cut into 40 bars and enjoy!

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4 Responses to Bananas for bananas

  1. Denise says:

    Hey Lisa!

    Next time we’re up your way I’ll be sure to bring some “platanos” as we say in Spanish (plantains in Ingles!) There are 2 very yummy ways that I can show you how to make them! Best to the fam!

    Denise

  2. Dani says:

    YUM! Think it will work for us flour eating types? 🙂 Keep up the yummy info.

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