Loving the BITE: Go Bananas For This Energy Bar

09
Aug
2012

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Instructions:

  1. Slice bananas into thin slices. Lay slices in single layer on greased baking sheet.
  2. Cook banana in oven or dehydrator at 175F for 2-3 hours until dry. Allow to cool.
  3. 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).
  4. Press into a greased bread loaf pan (if it’s sticky, you can use wax paper to press).
  5. 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

Comments:

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.

Bonus Recipe: Chunky Monkey Recovery Smoothie:

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.

A couple more ways to be Loving the Bananas: Banana Coconut Milk Ice-Cream and Dairy-Free Attune Probiotic Smoothie.

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! 

Enjoy Your Ride
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8 Responses to “ Loving the BITE: Go Bananas For This Energy Bar ”

  1. Brian Mull on September 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    By the way, in step 3 above, you forgot to say to add the coconut oil as well. I’m assuming that’s when you add it.

  2. Brian Mull on September 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Just made these today. Super. Trying to make it easier and more energy efficient, I bought a bag of banana chips. Watch out for those. Lots of saturated fats there due to additional stuff like veggie oil. Might have to invest in an inexpensive dehydrator. Very tasty. Might have to make a batch to hand out to my teammates before my MS ride next month. How long are they good for after removed from the fridge? Do they tend to keep their form in the heat? I’m a southerner, so heat is the order of the day.

  3. Darryl is Loving the Bike on August 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Thanks for another great one, Kelli. I’ve had an on again – off again relationship with bananas, but it’s hard to deny how easy they are to find and use. I had never thought of a banana based energy bar before and like Anthony said, it’s nice to have one without grains.

    • Kelli Jennings on August 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      You’re very welcome, Darryl. I haven’t always carried them on rides b/c, again, too much bulk and smash. But they do seem to work very well for many athletes, and I certainly appreciate the ease-of-digestion of bananas. They’ve long been a remedy for all kinds of digestion issues among old-wives’ tales. I’m enjoying these bars a little too much right now…better save some for weekend rides:)

  4. Anthony Lussier on August 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    LOVE the fact that there are NO grains in your bar! Thank you for this post :)

    • Kelli Jennings on August 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      Me too, Anthony. If you’re interested, you can also find grainless recipes for a lemon energy bar, chocolately-orange bar, and KIND-ish bar on this site. Enjoy!

  5. Tom Zaccario on August 9, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    To the store I go.. Time for a new batch of Bananas. I think I may even just dehydrate some to use as in a snack bag with some granola and raisns. YUM

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Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.

Answer:

Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

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Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to www.apexnutritionllc.com.

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