Go Bananas – an Ideal Snack for Kids

by Parents for Health Team on July 13, 2011

Healthy Bananas

Bananas are the worlds most popular fruit - available all year round, they always taste great and are full of healthy potassium

We should all try to eat as much fruit and veg as possible – according to the experts we should be eating roughly nine portions per day.

The good news is that one banana counts as a portion!

Most of us believe that bananas grow on trees, but they’re actually the worlds largest herb – related to the lily and the orchid. The banana “tree” grows up to 25 feet tall and the bananas grow in clusters or hands of between 10 and 20 fruits. Each individual fruit is known in the trade as a finger.

Bananas are technically a berry – they contain many tiny seeds inside a fleshy pulp.

Great as a Travel Snack

Aside from all these interesting facts, bananas are a fantastic snack for kids – they even come in their own compostable packaging!

They’re convenient when you’re out and about –  they don’t need to be washed, and they won’t leave your kids sticky.

Bananas as a Super Food

Bananas contain healthy complex carbohydrates that release energy slowly – they fill your kids up and leave them feeling fuller for longer. Bananas are:

  • Full of fibre – one banana provides one third of the dietary fibre needed by a 7 year old
  • High in potassium – potassium rich foods help lower blood pressure and help build muscle
  • High in vitamin C which helps your body heal itself and absorb iron

Choosing, Storing & Ripening

Bananas are picked before they’re ripe – they actually start to ripen as soon as they’re cut from the tree. Bananas start off green, gradually turning yellow as they ripen.

When buying bananas it is basically a matter of taste which ones you choose – the more yellow the banana, the sweeter it will taste as the starch inside it gradually turns to sugar. To ripen green bananas, put them into a paper bag with a tomato or an apple.

Go Bananas – Some Ideas!

  • Bananas are a great addition to breakfast – try slicing them on to porridge or breakfast cereal
  • Mash them on to some wholemeal toast with a little honey, or make a toasted banana and honey sandwich (use wholemeal bread for extra healthy fibre!)
  • Try them on the BBQ! Just grill them until the skin is blackened, and peel carefully when done
  • Bake them and add a little cinnamon and brown sugar

If your bananas are starting to look a bit too brown and your kids won’t eat them, try adding them to smoothies. If you aren’t in the mood for a smoothie, peel the banana, chop it into chunks and freeze –  you can use it for baking or for making a smoothie another day.

So next time you’re in the supermarket head to the fruit section and stock up on bananas for a nutritious, delicious snack.

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