My kids ask for ice cream for dinner all the time. Finally I got tired of saying no... "OK, let's make ice cream!".... Banana ice cream!
Pick your battles, right?
This is one I'm happy to lose. Because nutritionally it beats just about anything else they'd choose. And we can skip the whole part where I make some mixed vegetables and then throw away said mixed vegetables...
Plus it feels like a fun summer treat. Something special. Ice cream for dinner!! (Don't you dare tell them it's just fruit....)
Now, let me tell you, some nights after they eat the banana ice cream, then they decide they're ready to eat some real food. This is great and all when I have something planned. When I don't though, I just throw in a couple dollops of peanut or almond butter (recipe below) for some protein and satiety.
If I'm feeling daring I'll do a bit of greens powder too (add at the very end and blend again) and we call it a night.
I'll warn you, ya gotta be careful with the greens though. Too much too fast and they can ruin a really good thing here. If you dare, I recommend starting small, maybe a 1/4 tsp and working your way up as their palettes get used to it.
Bringin' Bananas Back
For years I approached bananas with caution. You know,... the sugar.
I believed and followed all that. All the: "they're too high in sugar." "No more than a half in a smoothie." And the very latest: "sub banana for cauliflower!"
Nothing against cauliflower. It's great and all. Hardly a fair trade though, if you ask me.
Bananas are delicious, sweet and flavorful. They're nature's on-to-go energy bomb of a snack perfectly portioned, packaged and ready to eat.
This makes them the perfect fuel for when we're our most active - think before or after a workout, or a snack between chasing kids around this summer.
They're loaded with potassium, which works as an electrolyte in the body and is critical for balancing the sodium that we get nearly everywhere else (are you gonna finish those fries?).
They're a good source of fiber (keep it movin'!), B6 (energy), magnesium (those leg cramps), vitamin C (hello, glowing skin), manganese (strong bones) and a variety of other vitamins and minerals in lower quantities.
Now get this.... Have you ever noticed when you turn a banana on it's side and it's a smiley face?
Bananas contain critical amino acids that help facilitate the regulation of our "happy hormones" like serotonin and dopamine. Maintaining healthy levels of these hormones helps prevent mood disorders like anxiety and depression. So you could say, bananas help make you smile and keep you happy.
No wonder when you consider it's yellow fruit that looks like a smiley face and has it's own sense of humor.... fitting, right?
Jump back on the banana bandwagon with me.
The one caveat I'll throw in here just in case is that if you have diabetes, pre-diabetes or problems managing blood sugar, maybe don't go bananas on bananas.
One banana is probably more than fine especially taking into consideration your overall diet and sugar intake for the day. Also eating it with some sort of fat and/or protein like almond butter, coconut or protein powder in a smoothie will slow the absorption of sugar even more.
Above all, just use common sense. If having a banana is going to satisfy that sweet craving and keep you from having actual ice cream. Just have the banana.... or one of these banana ice creams.
Banana Ice Cream Flavors
Elvis' Ice Cream
*Look for a nut butter made with only raw or roasted nuts. No added sugars, oils, etc.
Raspberries n' Cream
3 bananas, peeled, cut into chunks and frozen
2 cups frozen raspberries
1/4 cup coconut milk (canned, full fat)
Chocolate Dipped Banana
Place all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add more milk as needed to blend but be careful not to add too much to maintain a thick, ice cream-like consistency.
Pro tip: Let the frozen bananas sit out for 15 minutes or more to thaw so they blend more easily.
Serve immediately and store leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer.
40+ Healthy Kids Snack Ideas for Summer
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