Saturday, August 21, 2010

You might be a monkey if... swing on trees to get from here to there. speak "ooh ooh ah ah." nit pick. eat at least one banana every single day.

That last one gets me. I go bananas once a day. (Literally speaking, of course.) Which means that I might be a monkey. And while I realize that admission leaves me vulnerable to your jokes and jabs (dad), I remain proud of my monkeyness. Let me remind you, we're all part monkey.

Let me also remind you that bananas make an excellent addition to almost any diet. A small banana lacks saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium—but is a great source of fiber, vitamin C and potassium. Downfall? About 12 grams of sugar. But at least it's natural sugar, which means you can satisfy your sweet tooth without hitting the candy aisle. I found the bananas at left while driving the road to Hana on Maui. Bought 'em from a roadside stand and they were the best, sweetest, most delicious bananas I've ever tasted. Pretty sure we ate them all in one fell swoop!

Ever wonder why bananas are always available at post-race gatherings? Carbohydrates. One single banana has about 23 grams, which makes it a great source of energy. If you're at home, you should add protein to complete the snack. I like to spread some nut butter on a piece of whole wheat bread or a rice cake and then top it with sliced bananas. Or I throw a banana in my blender, add a dash of milk and some Greek yogurt, plus a spoonful of nut butter and enjoy.

I must, however, warn you against one banana concoction: banana splits from your local ice cream parlor can be major calorie bombs. If you're really craving bananas in this way, make the split at home with a few healthy tweaks. Choose Greek yogurt, or at the very least, the cleanest type of frozen yogurt you can find. Top with fresh fruit (don't forget the cherry) and chopped almonds, maybe even some dark chocolate shavings. Skip the whipped cream, though. Or at least make it yourself.

And just so you know, real monkeys peel from the bottom. Not the stem.

Question: Are you a real monkey? What's your favorite way to eat a banana?

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