Bananas are one of the world’s most powerful foods. At a cheap price and readily available, bananas are a staple in any kitchen. From kids to adults, bananas are a beloved sweet snack. Beyond being accessible and easy on the go, bananas offer extreme health benefits that most of us don’t even realize. Bananas are high in potassium and iron which help lower blood pressure and protect the body against anemia. They are also full of calcium promoting bone strength, pectin which helps regulate digestion, and tryptophan which helps combat depression and stress.

Bananas are best to eaten when very ripe- yellow and brown is a good signal. Green bananas and ripe bananas are both beneficial, they just have different health properties. Have no fear for the overripe banana, these too can be transformed. A helpful hint for peeling bananas: start peeling from the bottom! I can guarantee this tip with always lead to a clean peel- after all, that’s how monkeys do it! After that, use the peel to sooth bug bites, warts, or even as a shoe shine. The uses of bananas are endless. So it’s time to go bananas for bananas! With unlimited health benefits of this fruit, here are some awesome ways to incorporate bananas into your food, making your life and your diet a whole lot happier.

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Throw in a Smoothie

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Every smoothie lover loves an abundance of bananas. Because they are inexpensive, buying a lot at one time is a great option. Bananas are easy to freeze and can be stored for months. Throw these frozen bananas into fresh smoothies for an easy fix. This will add a creamy texture to your smoothie, and also give it some volume. The flavor of banana goes well with almost any other fruit you can put in a smoothie. Try adding berries, nut butters, or protein powders to balance the flavors out. If you’re feeling a little more indulgent, go for rich non-dairy milks, or even add some chocolate in there.

Snack Time

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Bananas make an excellent anytime snack. They are the perfect sized fruit to satisfy hunger in between meals. This comes from its high fiber and high levels of Vitamin B-6. These can help control blood sugar and help sustain a healthy weight at the same time when consumed in moderation. Bananas are great for grabbing and going as they are extremely easy to transport, making them a good choice to pair with lunch. They also make an energizing pre-workout snack because of their complex carbohydrates. Post-workout, they can help your body recover due to easy digestion and glycogen replenishment. Unsweetened (plain) banana chips also make a great dehydrated snack that pair well with trail mix or other dried fruit.

Sweet Treats

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While naturally sweet alone, bananas are an even sweeter treat when incorporated into a dessert. For a quick sweet snack pair a banana with some nut butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Freezing bananas and dipping them into dark chocolate will also satisfy that sugar craving. The options for banana desserts stem way beyond these, however. For a vegan, healthy indulgence try out making banana ice cream. Perfect as a  soft serve alternative, this ice cream will give you way more nutrients than normal dairy treats. Plus, you can add anything you want in it- fruit, nuts, sprinkles or chocolate!

To enjoy your banana ice cream even more, pair it with a luxurious cake. A delicious and classic banana dessert is banana bread. Easily made vegan without eggs or milk, this is the perfect dessert for using up those overripe bananas. It’s also a great dessert to give as a gift and to share with family and friends. If you’re feeling more adventurous with your culinary aspirations, go for a raw dessert. A classic dessert made vegan  is banana cream pie. With nuts, coconut, cacao and bananas, this pie will leave you beaming.

Morning Fuel

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Starting your day off with a banana will fuel your body for the day. Eating one for breakfast is a quick option for those on the go and will hold you over until lunch time. Bananas can also be added into other breakfast foods such as oatmeal and whole grain cereal. For an easy and new breakfast sandwich try making these breakfast tortillas. Warm bananas with caramelized sauce provides a more indulgent weekend brunch meal and can be added to dishes in replace of butter and eggs. All the rage in the health scene these days is low calorie, high protein pancakes. Typically made with eggs and bananas, this vegan version of these powerhouse pancakes will get your body rockin’ and rollin’ for the day.

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So grab, blend, cook, and get your hands on this magical fruit! No matter what time of day, bananas will always serve the body well.  Check out these recipes for more creative banana ideas!

Lead Image Source: Raw Chocolate Banana Pie With Whipped Coconut Cream