Bunch of Healthy Recipes for Banana Lover’s Day

Happy Banana Lover’s Day!  I really NEED to celebrate this “a-peeling” food holiday – my potassium levels need a boost thanks (or no thanks) to all this hot weather running. In addition to keeping muscle cramps away, I think bananas are just a great all-around fruit. Not only are they cheap and tasty, but bananas are filled with fiber, antioxidents and other nutrients needed for optimal health.  Bananas are also a great source of tryptophan which the body converts into serotonin to get you in a good mood!

So, let’s peel a banana and get happy! Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy bananas:

banana milk and cereal

Eat a banana on or with your cereal. Better yet, pour banana-flavored Core Power over healthy cereal for an extra punch of protein.

banana peach smoothie with cinnamon

Cinnamon Banana Peach Protein SmoothieAdd ½ frozen banana ,frozen peach slices and a sprinkling of cinnamon to your choice of milk (almond, soy, Core Power) and blend with ice until smooth.  It’s the cinnamon and natural sugars that help with alertness and brain function.

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Grilled Chocolate Raspberry Banana Boats  – Say goodbye to the end of summer grilling with these warm and gooey sweet treats – kinda like s’mores, but so much better!

banana protein balls

Baked Banana Protein Donut Holes – Take one step out of the morning rush by baking a batch of these mini-bites the night before – just grab a coffee along and you’ve got a decent breakfast to eat on the go.jennifer fisher -thefitfork.com - multigrain pb banana muffins

Multi-Grain Peanut Butter Banana Muffins The kids love to discover these moist muffins in their lunch boxes and often request them as an afternoon snack –I like to eat mine as a refueling reward after a workout. So delicious and they freeze well, too!

honey granola with chocolate, almonds and banana protein

Not So Chunky Monkey Granola This healthy granola recipe uses mashed banana as the binder and is speckled with freeze-dried banana chunks and chocolate chips – yum!

banana foster parfait

Bananas Foster Parfait  Check out this scrumptious yet sensible treat from CookingLight.com made with Greek yogurt, pecans and bananas — I won’t even tell if you use rum! If you don’t have enough BANANA INSPIRATION yet, check out this collection of 75 Banana Recipes!

Wrap crown of banana bunch with plastic wrap to delay over-ripening.

Wrap crown of banana bunch with plastic wrap to delay over-ripening.

Did you know if you put plastic wrap around the crown of bananas, the bunch will keep for 3 – 5 days longer. I learned that fruit-lovers fact, along with some other really freakin’ awesome ways to keep produce fresher longer, from fellow Fitfluential Ambassador Jill Conyers.   Also keep in mind that bananas produce more ethelyne gas than any other fruit; so, you’ll want to keep them alone in their own area on the counter to maximize freshness – not in a mixed fruit bowl!

So, how many bananas do you eat a week? What is your favorite banana recipe?

Muffin Mania | Multi-Grain Peanut Butter Banana Muffin Recipe

jennifer fisher -thefitfork.com - multigrain pb banana muffins

It’s midnight muffin-making mania! Once again, I have stayed up way to late, but this time it is for the sake of having a healthy breakfast in the morning – after all, it’s still Better Breakfast Month! Two of my kids take a brown-bag breakfast to school to eat after sports practice. I often feel bad that they’re missing a hot meal at home (yes, I often scramble eggs, but that’s all I’m capable of at 5:45 in the morning). I feel even worse when I send them off with a meal where everything comes out of a wrapper – the protein bar, the fruit bar, the juice pouch and so on. New rule, only ONE wrapper per meal!

For this super yummy Multi-Grain Peanut Butter Banana Muffins, I tweaked a few recipes to make a new and improved muffin experience. In terms of baking concepts, I cut some of the oil and replaced it with a natural peanut butter – you could use any nut butter you like. I reduced a great deal of the white processed flour by substituting in whole wheat flour, bran cereal and flax seed.  There’s a whole lot of whole-grainy goodness going on in these morning, afternoon and night muffins. Another muffin recipe of mine you should try is the Berry Cheesecake Power Muffins, it has a totally different consistency (yet amazing taste) while these muffins today have a traditional texture.

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If you haven’t put flax seed into baked goods before, you really should. There are three healthy benefits from sneaking a little flax seed into this muffin recipe. First, it adds extra fiber to the muffins, each tablespoon of flax seed has 8 grams of fiber. Second, flax seed is a plant-based source for omega-3, an essential fatty acid that provides and anti-inflammatory role in the body. Third, flax seed contains lignans, a compound that helps our body metabolize estrogen in a safer way. Studies have shown that consuming lignin may reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer. Remember to use your flax seed in a ground state, that’s how you reap all the nutritional benefits.

I also have two cooking tips to share for this recipe. First, I used a little in-a-pinch baking solution my grandmother taught me. A great substitution for buttermilk  (which is so good in most muffin recipe but always ends up going bad in the fridge because who really uses it for anything else), is to sour your regular milk (even low-fat milk) by adding 1 teaspoon of white vinegar to 1 cup of milk. Let it sit for a few minutes to get to the right consistency.   The other tip is new to me tonight – and that is to spray muffin papers with cooking spray before pouring in the batter. This seemed like a weird thing to do, but I gave it a try – wow, the muffins didn’t stick at all inside the baking liners.

Next up in my Better Breakfast Month rotation, one of the quick and easy recipes from the gallery of Cooking Light’s Grab and Go Quick Breakfast ideas.  Fig, Applesauce and Almond Loaf (below) immediately caught my eye , but there are tons of other speedy and satisfying recipes on the site that will help make mornings easier.


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Multi-Grain Peanut Butter Banana Muffins Recipe

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup natural style peanut butter
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup bran cereal
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½  cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For Streusel Topping:

  • ¼  cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil


Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Line muffin cups with paper baking cups and lightly spray with cooking spray.

In large bowl, combine oil and peanut butter together with a whisk or electric mixer. Add brown sugar, stirring until combined. Next add egg, cereal, mashed banana, Greek yogurt, and vanilla, stir until just combined (will be a bit lumpy).

In non-reactive small bowl, add milk and vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes to sour, will look slightly curdled. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together flours, baking powder, flaxseed meal, and nutmeg.   Stir this dry mixture into wet mixture alternating with soured milk. Repeat until ingredients are combined, but not over-mixed.  Pour batter into prepared muffin cups approximately two-thirds full.

In medium bowl, add streusel ingredients. Mix together until combined but crumbly. Sprinkle streusel on top of muffin batter.

Bake in 375 F degree oven for approximately 20 – 22 minutes or until top lightly browned and toothpick pulls clean when inserted into the middle.

Cool on wire rack.

Makes 20 muffins.

“Nutrish” Caramelized Banana Bread Recipe

You’re going to love this delicious recipe I adapted from Cooking Light magazine; it’s been “chimped out” to be even more healthy and nutritious. Relying on the sweetness of super, ultra ripe bananas, I reduced the sugar by a third, cut out some of the butter in the caramelizing process, used part whole eggs/part egg white, and substituted whole-wheat flour and ground flax seed for half of the all-purpose flour. Oh, and I skipped the buttery sugar glaze. But that’s okay because this makeover banana bread recipe is delicious, moist and just sweet enough; gunking it up with icing is totally unnecessary.  Another tweak; I doubled the recipe, because in my book, when you’re baking banana bread it’s a must to  whip up at least two loaves at a time – one loaf for today, one loaf for tomorrow (it’s always better the next day).  At 145 calories per slice (compared to 190 for the original recipe), this recipe also has 1.5 grams less fat and double the dietary fiber.

“Nutrish” Caramelized Banana Bread

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 6 medium very ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup fat-free buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • ¼ cup amber or gold rum
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup egg white
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ ground flax seed
  • 1 ½  teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Baking spray with flour (such as Baker’s Joy)


Preheat oven to 350°. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and bananas; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool 10 minutes (so that eggs don’t “cook” when you mix them in later.” Place banana mixture in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

Combine buttermilk, oil, rum, whole eggs and egg whites. Combine all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, ground flax seed, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately to banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat at low speed just until combined. Split batter evenly between two 9 x 5-inch metal loaf pans coated with baking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan, and cool on wire rack.

Each loaf serves 16 (32 total servings)