Getting healthy is on everyone’s mind today. Whether your physician or personal trainer suggests making necessary changes to your diet, bananas will probably be high on their list of nutritional foods.
Why are bananas so good for you?
Bananas are an excellent source of nutrition for your body because they contain six essential minerals and vitamins so it’s a good idea to make this fruit a part of your daily diet. The only drawback to bananas is that they have a short life span, however, flash freezing bananas has been proven to retain all nutrients as well as keeping it fresh.
Potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, copper and manganese are crucial vitamins and minerals that bananas offer. In several different studies, these nutrients were found to stay intact for up to a year after being frozen. In fact, some bananas were found to have a higher level of antioxidants than fresh ones that had been exposed to air. Moisture in the fruit is a large part of keeping the water-soluble vitamins active. Once bananas ripen, these nutrients begin to dissipate.
Why freeze bananas?
Flash freezing is performed to hold the initial vitamins and minerals within the fruit until ready to use. Food processing companies often use liquid nitrogen to freeze food as quickly as possible before any nutrients have a chance to depreciate. However, you can also flash freeze your fruits and vegetables at home including bananas.
How do you freeze bananas?
You can either freeze a whole peeled banana or cut it into slices. Place the banana on wax paper and freeze. After two hours, remove and place in an air-tight zip-lock bag. Return it to the freezer until ready to use. Upon thawing a banana will turn soft, but this has no effect on nutrients or taste. Perfect for smoothies, shakes or baking, you will always have healthy food at your fingertips. If you don’t have time to flash freeze your bananas, there is also the option of bulk buying frozen bananas. This option is particularly useful if you own a cafe.
Many people have concerns about the flavour and consistency of frozen bananas. While it is true that bananas will lose their firmness when thawing takes place, the flavour and nutritional value will remain the same as fresh bananas. It is recommended that you keep both fresh and frozen bananas on hand to have the best of both worlds. If you see your bananas beginning to develop brown spots on the outside, flash freeze them to contain all the nutrients.
Healthy Banana Recipes
Now that you know how easy preparing frozen bananas are and your fruit won’t lose their nutritional value, how do you use them? Keep reading for some quick smoothie recipes and sweet tooth treats.
Banana Strawberry Smoothie
This is a mouth-watering treat for winter or summer. Your body will crave the flavour of fresh fruit and smooth texture.
What you will need:
1 fresh or flash frozen banana
2 cups fresh or flash frozen strawberries
1 cup milk (may substitute almond or coconut milk)
1 cup ice
Honey to taste
Combine all ingredients and pulse in a blender. If too thick, add more milk.
Vanilla Protein Shake with Banana
Take 5 minutes in the morning and make this refreshing breakfast shake that will give you a burst of energy.
What you will need:
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 frozen banana
Place your ingredients in blender and mix. Stir in ice chips and top with cinnamon.
Healthy Banana Bread
Every once in a while you just need something sweet and moist. Make a couple of loaves of this amazing banana bread and freeze one so you will always have a treat.
What you will need:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup honey 4 1/2 to 5 medium-sized bananas (or thawed frozen bananas) 2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups white whole wheat flour
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease loaf pan and set aside.
Melt butter in a large microwavable bowl and add honey and banana. Whisk to combine, then add eggs and whisk until smooth.
Add the baking soda, salt, cinnamon and vanilla to the bowl. Whisk until well combined.
Add the flour and mix with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Pour batter into the loaf pan and bake for 55 to 65 minutes.
Remove from oven and invert on wire rack. Allow to cool before slicing.
If your grocery store does not have a nice offering of fresh bananas, fall back on your supply in the freezer at home, or look to a distributor of frozen fruits to supply your needs. You can count on the same nutritional value as fresh bananas.