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Bananas About Ice Cream!

By Cristina F. Toscano, RD

Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and Vitamin B6, both of which are linked to cardiovascular health. They are a good source of Vitamin C, an important antioxidant that helps increase the body’s absorption of iron and may play a role in the immune function. Eating bananas can also help you reach the MyPlate goal of having 1-2 cups of fruit per day.

Ice cream, on the other hand, is full of added sugar and saturated fat. It is not a good source of any vitamins or minerals. While it is usually okay to enjoy on occasion, it is not the best choice for an everyday treat. Luckily, there is an alternative- Banana Nice Cream!

Banana Nice Cream is the perfect warm day treat. It has no added sugar, no fat, and about half the calories of traditional ice cream. It’s easy to make, and can be customized based on your flavor preferences. Best of all, it’s delicious!

Step one of making your own Banana Nice Cream is to freeze a banana. To make things easier, peel the banana while it is still at room temperature, break it into a few smaller pieces, and place it in the freezer. Step two is blending the frozen banana until it has a smooth texture, just like ice cream. If your blender or food processor has trouble blending the banana, you can add a few drops of milk or milk alternative. Don’t add too much or you’ll end up with a smoothie!

Now comes the fun part: experiment! If you like strawberry ice cream, add 2-3 strawberries to the mixture and pulse until they are dispersed through the ice cream. If you like snickerdoodle, add a few shakes of ground cinnamon to your banana and blend until it is evenly mixed. If you prefer chocolate ice cream, add a few teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa. For chocolate peanut butter, add a tablespoon of peanut butter along with the cocoa. For caramelized banana pecan ice cream, caramelize the banana before freezing it. You can do this by sauteing the banana in a few teaspoons of canola oil at a low temperature for approximately 10 minutes. Once the banana is sticky and smells extra sweet, it’s ready to be frozen. When your banana is frozen, blend until smooth. Then, add about 5 walnuts and pulse until they are mixed evenly. There are so many delicious and healthy combinations to try- the possibilities are endless!

This article is written for those following a general healthy diet. If you have diabetes, kidney disease or another chronic health condition, speak with a dietitian to see if this recipe can be part of your diet.

For more information, please visit:

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/eathealthy/fruits

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/bananas/

https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-C#role-in-immunity

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-b6/

Cristina is a Registered Dietitian, Diabetes and Family Health Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Family Health and Wellness Program. She can be reached at cft36@cornell.edu

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