When it comes to the most popular fruit we eat, bananas are No. 1. Banana calories and sugars are low, so they make a great snack.
“The banana is the most popular fruit, available all year long and packed with good nutrition,” said Chrisanne Urban, a Marshfield Clinic Health System dietitian. “On average, Americans eat 27 pounds of bananas a year, so that’s a lot of bananas.”
“After rice, wheat and corn, bananas are the fourth most popular dietary staple food,” Urban explained, “and are known as the fruit of the wise man. There is no season for bananas, like other fruits, since they’re available all year. What makes them so available is that six months after planting, bananas are ready to harvest because they’re grown in warmer, more tropical climates. India is the top producer of bananas, followed by Uganda, China and the Philippines. The only state in our country that produces bananas is Hawaii.”
The banana plant, considered an herb like lilies, orchids and palm, is actually classified as a berry and has 100 varieties.
Banana calories and nutrition benefits
Bananas are a really convenient snack food and are fat- and cholesterol-free and rich in potassium, providing 10 percent of your recommended potassium for the day. Additionally, they are loaded with essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Considered mainly a carbohydrate, one medium-size banana has roughly 89 calories, 1.1g of protein, 22.8g of carbs, .3g of fat and 2.6g of fiber; and 75 percent of a banana, like most fruits, is water.
“As a dietitian, one question I get many times is ‘can I eat bananas because they raise blood sugars?’” Urban said. “My response is that you can include bananas in your diet in moderation because they are a low-glycemic index food. Monitor your intake and don’t go bananas on them!”
Urban has also learned there’s a better way to peel a banana. Hold it from the stem and peel from the bottom up. “If you peel it that way, you avoid the strings,” she advised.
Additional banana tips include:
- Wrapping the stem ends in plastic wrap since that could help preserve them three to five days longer.
- Putting them in the refrigerator, but don’t worry about the skin turning brown since colder temps won’t affect the fruit.
- Considering when to purchase bananas, because it takes several days for them to ripen since they’re picked green.
Urban suggested that when you’re in the mood for a different twist on bananas, try this fun, easy smoothie recipe.
Cinnamon Strawberry Smoothie
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 1 small ripe banana
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 6-ounce container vanilla nonfat Greek-style yogurt
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Place all ingredients in blender container; cover. Blend on high speed until smooth.
Pour into glasses. Garnish with sliced strawberries, if desired.
Each serving contains about 196 calories; 0g total fat; 0mg cholesterol; 40mg sodium; 40g carbohydrates; 3g fiber; and 9g protein.
Source: McCormickPrint recipe