Loving the BITE: Go Bananas For This Energy Bar
This bar is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S. And for good reason…athletes love bananas (sweeping generalization, I know). Some are fanatical, as in 30-bananas-a-day (there’s a whole site about this). Others simply consider them just a go-to for pre-training, during-the-ride, and recovery. For Training Nutrition, my only issue with them is that they can get squashed in my pack, and they are big in volume for the amount of calories and carbs they provide – this comes from being a long-distance, no-support-car, pack-and-carry all your own stuff into the mountains athlete. But this week, I’ve solved my problems, and hopefully yours too. Our energy bar recipe keeps the bananas compact, un-squashable, and tasty. Oh yeah….
Recipe of the Week: Banana Energy Bar
- 1 cup golden raisins, or 15 pitted, chopped dates
- 2 medium banana
- 1 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 2 Tsbp organic coconut oil
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
- Slice bananas into thin slices. Lay slices in single layer on greased baking sheet.
- Cook banana in oven or dehydrator at 175F for 2-3 hours until dry. Allow to cool.
- Place banana chips, raisins, almonds, and salt in food processor and process for 1-2 minutes, until almost smooth but still a little chunky, and not quite a paste (technical terms – obviously, this doesn’t need to be exact).
- Press into a greased bread loaf pan (if it’s sticky, you can use wax paper to press).
- Place in freezer 1 hour, or in refrigerator until firm. Cut into 8 equal bars or squares. Store in refrigerator – wrap in plastic wrap to take with you.
Nutrition Values: Calories: 266.4, Sodium: 74mg – 148.1 mg, Total Carbs: 26.5 g, Dietary Fiber: 4.5 g, Protein: 6.5 g, Potassium: 447 mg
The humble banana has received lots of flack in the past several years. Mostly, since it’s one of the sweeter tropical fruits, those wanting to minimize carbs and sugars have cast them aside. And, it’s true…there’s lots of carbs in this natural energy food. In fact, just ½ of a medium banana is one serving of carbs, the same as 1 whole orange. And there’s very little fiber. Problem? Not so much…these aspects make bananas perfect for Training Nutrition. Before, during, and after training, bananas offer quick absorbing carbs with very little fiber to slow it down. And now that the smash-factor has been eliminated (with our bars), they travel well. And, it’s more than just carbs, by using bananas as your Training Fuel, or a small portion as some whole-food carbs in Daily Nutrition, you’ll get:
- Potassium for Cardiovascular Health: There’s a whopping 467 mg of potassium in just one banana. This mineral is required for the normalization of blood pressure and protection against atherosclerosis (artery plagues). For athletes, it is also vital to replenish potassium during and after intense training. What’s more, potassium can reduce the amount of calcium lost from bones year after year.
- Stomach Protection – Bananas are known as natural antacid remedies and protection against stomach ulcers and ulcer damage…this effect is appreciated on-the-bike. If you find that your stomach feels too acidic when riding, try bananas – they can decrease acid in the stomach and even help eliminate bacteria in the stomach that have been pinpointed as a primary cause of stomach ulcers.
- Protect Your Eyesight – While most all antioxidants are important to protecting cells year after year, it appears that fruits specifically, like bananas, are protective against macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults. In fact, three servings of fruit per day seems to be a protective amount, and one easily obtained with bananas as a Fueling food.
- Lower Gut Health – Heard of fructooligosaccharide (FOS)? Your healthy gut bacteria has, as it’s a favorite food for them, keeping them healthy and growing so they can keep your gut and body healthy. FOS are prebitotics that feed probiotics. And, it just so happens bananas are full of FOS.
- Antioxidants – Bananas are a good source of vitamin C and vitamin B. Furthermore, some banana types are also rich in provitamin A carotenoids. These antioxidants protect against chronic disease, including certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Which bananas contain the most carotenoids? The brighter the color of the edible fruit, the more carotenoids.
Mix ½ medium banana, 1 Tbsp peanut butter, ½ cup Greek yogurt (or ½ scoop protein powder), 1 Tbsp organic coconut oil, and 1 tsp honey in a blender or food processor. Mix until desired consistency, adding water and/or ice as needed.
Are you bananas for bananas? If you’re looking for some natural, whole food nutrition on-the-bike, you should be. This week, a Banana Energy Bar will provide carbs, lytes, stomach relief, and much more!