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On a Budget? Go Bananas about Bananas!

Here are three easy, healthy and very inexpensive family-friendly recipes using one of our favorite popular fruits.

Bananas! They are cheap and downright delicious.

Chock full of good, fast energy, bananas contain a good source of fiber and potassium, as well as Vitamin C. Bananas release energy slowly, so they help the brain stay alert for longer. Their high potassium levels also energize the brain, which makes us more alert and receptive to learning, while their magnesium improves focus. Bananas provide a lot of benefits for us in a tasty little naturally-wrapped package- more than you may realize!

When you’re ready for a snack, reach for the speckled bananas first, not the slightly green ones, since bananas have higher levels of antioxidants as they ripen. One interesting fact about fully ripened bananas is that they produce a substance called TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor). This means that ripe bananas have anti-cancer qualities as they combat abnormal cells. The more dark patches a banana has, the higher its immunity enhancement quality will be. Stock up on those discounted overripe bananas languishing on a lonely shelf at the grocery store and put them away for a later use. Be prepared by peeling and slicing them to freeze in plastic bags or containers.

All three of these recipes can be glorified snacks or part of a meal when you feel you are stuck in a rut with your food preparations. Our kids enjoy new food ideas just as much as we do!

Banana Pancakes

Serves 2-3
Gluten, dairy, and nut free recipe that kids love!

2 bananas
4 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 tbs coconut oil
1 tbs butter (optional if you are avoiding dairy, replace with more coconut oil)

Heat a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet to medium. Add bananas and eggs to a blender with the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth. Add half of your butter and coconut oil to your skillet, reserving some to add halfway through when needed and the skillet is dry. When fats are bubbling, add batter by pouring from spout of blender or use a ladle. Make small 3” diameter pancakes. Larger pancakes are harder to flip as these have no flour to bind them. Cook 1-2 minutes per side. Serve warm with sliced fresh fruit or a bit of jam.

banana pancakes with a side of strawberries

Easy banana pancakes

Banana Nice Cream

Serves 3-4
This is a fun and healthy treat for a hot day.

3 large frozen bananas
1 tbs nut butter of choice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1 cup milk of choice (we use oat or almond milk, but whole cow’s milk or any other nut milk will work)

Chop frozen bananas into quarters. Place into food processor with nut butter and vanilla extract. Puree, turning off the motor and stirring the mixture two or three times. Add milk slowly until desired consistency is reached. Optional: sprinkle with mini chocolate chips on top! Variations: add a teaspoon or two of cocoa powder or a couple of pieces of an alternative frozen fruit such as mango, strawberry or cherry.

Prepared bananas for sautéing
Sautéed Bananas*

Serves 2-3
Warm and cozy bedtime snacks can set the mood for a peaceful transition to quiet time.

2 bananas sliced in half length-wise and then in half again to create 4 long pieces each.
1 tbs butter
1 tbs coconut oil

Heat butter and/or coconut oil in well-seasoned cast iron skillet until sizzling, medium heat. Add banana slices. Cook for 2 minutes per side or until lightly golden. Sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon, if desired, and serve warm.

*You can also try this recipe with ripe plantains if you want to try a slightly different type of banana. Plantains are sweet when the peel is turning black. Before that, when they are green, you can peel them and fry them for a savory snack.

Are you feeling a bit more adventurous with ingredients?

This simple recipe for “smacaroons” is hands down my favorite healthy cookie recipe to feed my family. They disappear really fast every time I make them! Once cooled, I store mine in a sealed container in the fridge. We even sneak these for breakfast on a busy morning since they are filled with protein, omega 3s, and good fat! The banana provides the right amount of sweetness. If you are not accustomed to unsweetened chocolate you can use mini dark chocolate chips.

Do you have a favorite use for the beloved banana? Share below, we’d love to hear your ideas!

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