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Discounted bananas from the grocery store are perfect for smoothies! Stock up on those browning beauties and store them in the freezer until you're ready to blend. Mel Barber

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Before we wave goodbye to National Nutrition Month, let's take a gander at a couple of resources available year-round. 

EatRightPA.org and its parent, EatRight.org, are full of free tips and recipes for nutritious meals. 

One particularly versatile ingredient is the banana. When the grocery store panics about all those bananas starting to turn brown and dumps them into discount bags on a rack in the produce section, don't shy away. Snap those babies up! 

 

You can freeze bananas for several months and use them in many types of snacks and baked goods. The quickest method is to peel them, pop them into freezer-safe bags, and pull them out as needed. With a little more effort, you can slice them before freezing and lay them out on a cookie sheet in the freezer to chill for a couple of hours, then remove them from the freezer and drop the slices into freezer-safe bags before returning them to cold storage.  

With frozen bananas, you'll always have some on hand for quick breads, muffins, cookies, smoothies or faux ice cream. Don't worry about the brown-spotted outer layer; the bananas will stay yellow inside, and they'll be hidden in your dishes anyhow. 

Start off with something simple, such as this blueberry banana smoothie. You can hide all sorts of healthy additions in this breakfast treat. 

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

Serves: 1

  • 8 ounces milk (dairy, soy or nut milks are fine — use your favorite!)
  • 1/2 cup frozen banana slices
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries

Optional add-ins (choose one or more)

  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Honey, to taste
  • Cinnamon, to taste

Puree all ingredients using a blender (immersion or otherwise). Blend until smooth and serve immediately. For a thicker smoothie, add ice; for a thinner smoothie, add water. 

Nutrition information: 190 calories, 1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 105 mg sodium, 38 g total carbohydrates, 4 g dietary fiber, 27 g sugar, 10 g protein

Source: Dawn Jackson Blatner, EatRight.org

— Reach Mel Barber at mbarber@yorkdispatch.com.

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