Go Bananas!

By Ashton Jackson, RDN, LDN

One of the most popular fruits in the grocery store seems to be facing quite a bruised reputation.  Chances are high that you have come across an internet ad or overheard a conversation claiming that bananas are akin to candy bars and that they must be avoided should you desire to lose weight or control your blood sugar.  I suspect that the war on sugar and excess carbohydrates in our diets is to blame for the defamation of this portable, peel-and-eat snack.  I cannot, however, allow it to continue without a rebuttal.  So, here are a few reasons to consider adding the beloved banana back to your grocery list:

Carbohydrate counts of properly portioned bananas are not excessive.
If you use the exchange system, an extra small banana contributes the same amount of carbohydrate as 1 small apple, 1 cup of berries or ½ of a grapefruit.  Beware: extra small bananas are hard to come bySimply stick to half of a large banana instead!

Bananas are naturally sweet!
For those who suffer from a sweet tooth, bananas are a nutritious alternative to refined sugar.  Top a low-sugar cereal or oatmeal with a banana and you won’t need a sprinkle from the sugar bowl.  Overripe bananas are an excellent swap for sugar (and even eggs) in your favorite baked goods.  These banana pancakes will be a family favorite!

They pack a “nutrition-punch” that a candy bar can’t touch!
A nutrition label on a medium banana would reveal that it’s an excellent source of nutrients like potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C and dietary fiber!  Active individuals should take note that the carbohydrate and electrolyte content of bananas make them a great alternative to expensive sport beverages for fueling a workout.

Pair them properly and have no fear.
Food pairings are important when it comes to blood sugar and appetite control; that is the case for any carbohydrate-rich food.  Luckily, bananas taste great with peanut butter for a dose of healthy fat or a protein-packed cup of Greek yogurt.

It’s important to note that dietary recommendations are not one-size-fits all.  If you have concerns about getting the right balance of foods and nutrients for your unique needs, consider arranging an appointment with one of the providers at Lifestyle Medical Centers.