Ice cream is one of the most popular (and delicious) treats around, but unfortunately it is also loaded with sugar and calories. Furthermore, most commercial ice cream brands are packed full of artificial ingredients and (sometimes) hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats (trans fats).
Let’s take a look at the top ingredients in a commercial ice cream brand ingredient list:
Nonfat milk, polydextrose, peanuts, soybean oil, salt, partially hydrogenated canola, cottonseed, soybean oils, maltodextrin, sorbitol, whey, natural and artificial flavors.
Multiple forms of sugar, trans fats and artificial flavoring agents make up the majority of this product. While ice cream might be a tasty summer treat, this unfortunately has no place in a healthy diet.
The good news is, there are far healthier alternatives that you can make in your own kitchen. Banana ice cream is simple, quick and actually provides real nutrients from whole foods. Before getting to the recipe, let’s consider the health benefits of bananas.
Health Benefits of Bananas
Bananas sometimes get a bad rap because they are one of the starchier fruits, but they offer several impressive health benefits and can definitely be a regular addition to a healthy diet.
Balanced Blood Sugar
Even though bananas are high in carbohydrates, they are rich in a specific type of fiber called pectin, which gives bananas their structure and form. Pectin has been shown to regulate blood sugar levels after eating, by slowing digestion. Bananas also rank relatively low on the GI (glycemic index) scale, meaning they do not spike your blood sugar as quickly as many other foods after eating.
Ideally, bananas will be eaten alongside protein and healthy fats to moderate the blood sugar spiking effects that they do have, so try eating one paired with a small handful of almonds or an ounce of cheese.
Weight Loss Support
Bananas are considered a good food to include on a weight loss diet because they are filling, satisfying and (for some) seem to help prevent sugar and carb cravings. Also, thanks to their high fiber content, they can help boost weight loss, as fiber has been shown in many studies to lower body weight.
Improved Heart Health
Potassium is a critical nutrient for a healthy heart, and bananas are a great source. Studies have shown that adequate dietary intake of potassium helps to lower blood pressure, which is a primary risk factor for heart disease.
Packed Full of Antioxidants
Last but certainly not least, bananas are rich in antioxidants, which are essential in preventing excessive free radical damage in the body. Free radical damage has been linked to degenerative conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as cancer.
How Do I Make Banana Ice Cream?
Now that you’re convinced of the health benefits of bananas and willing to find a healthy replacement for commercial ice cream, check out this easy recipe that you can make at home. Your kids will love it, too! The amazing part is that banana ice cream requires very little time, nor does it call for fancy equipment.
Keep in mind that ripe bananas are really the only essential ingredient, and the rest you can get creative with.
Banana Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe
- 6 ripe bananas
- 3 tbsp dark chocolate, grated or finely chopped
- 3 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
- 3-4 tbsp chopped nuts
- chopped fruit for topping (berries are a great choice)
- First, peel and chop your bananas, placing them in a glass bowl. Put them in the freezer overnight (this part is key).
- The next day, place your frozen bananas in a food processor (a blender can work, too), and process until smooth. This part takes awhile, so make sure to process them until they are a creamy consistency.
- Now, put them back in the freezer for about an hour, then garnish with all of the above-listed toppings.
Simple as that! Banana ice cream is an extremely simple, delicious and healthy alternative to regular ice cream. Try it today for a tasty, summer treat.