Food for Thought, Getting in Touch With Your Inner Chiquita Banana

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but bananas can do that and then some. An excellent source of Vitamin C, dietary fiber and potassium, bananas have been a favorite snack of Americans for years.

In fact, according to the International Banana Association, Americans consume 28 pounds of bananas per year making this golden delight the number one fruit here in the States. It’s certainly safe to say Americans have gone bananas, and rightfully so. Not only is this fruit delicious on its own as a snack, but it has excellent health benefits for those who suffer from anemia as well as morning sickness and heartburn. And of course, bananas are fun to cook with. Now that it is officially summer, mosey on into the kitchen and try these two recipes that would make Ms. Chiquita Banana quite proud.

Smoothies are a fantastic way to stay cool and can be a great pick-me-up during those sauna- like summer days. They’re even easier to carry for lunch and are surprisingly filling for a treat that is so low in fat.

Gone Bananas Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 container of vanilla yogurt
1 Banana (Feel free to put two)
1 Peach or a handful of Strawberries (*optional only if you want to give your smoothie more character*)
1/2 Cup of milk (whole, low-fat or Skim, whichever you prefer)
1/2 Cup of ice (feel free to add more or less ice to your liking)

Directions:

Pour ice, yogurt, fruit, and milk into the blender. First have it mix and then switch the function to puree. Use your best judgment to see the consistency you like, and then pour into a tall glass and enjoy!

For the cooler summer days when you wouldn’t mind turning on the oven to bake, Banana Bread is worth your trouble. Classic Banana Bread topped with a buttery cinnamon and sugar graham cracker topping makes for a fantastic dessert or can even accompany entrees at brunch.

Graham Cracker and Banana Love Affair

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cups of flour
3/4 Cup of sugar
1/4 Cup of cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 Cup of milk
1 Teaspoon of baking powder
1 Banana sliced thin
1 Package of graham crackers
1 1/2 Tablespoons of butter (I recommend using Smart Balance Butter. It is a healthy alternative and tastes just as good as or even better than "real" butter.)
Sugar (any amount you prefer)
Cinnamon (any amount you prefer)

Directions:

Beat eggs, sugar, cinnamon and milk in a large bowl. Slowly mix in flour. Once well mixed, add banana and mix. Pour into a small cake pan. Set aside. Crush graham crackers into a small pieces. Pour sugar and cinnamon over graham crackers and mix well. Set aside. Melt butter in microwave and pour melted butter over graham crackers. Mix well and then sprinkle the topping over the cake. Make sure the entire top of the cake is covered and then sprinkle some more sugar and cinnamon on top for some extra flavor. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees F.

Whether you need some extra brain power or are looking after your blood pressure, bananas have got you covered. Even if these summer days have you lounging poolside and not wanting to even lift a finger to press puree on your blender, make sure you go bananas; your body will be grateful for it. And that’s some food for thought.

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About the Author: Angelique Chielli