Skinny Frozen Banana Pops

20190326_114118Imagine for a moment that you’re passing through your kitchen and you notice a bunch of bananas becoming overly ripe. What do you do? Do you try to eat as many as you can before they go bad? Do you whip up some banana bread? Do you slice them up and freeze for smoothies? Or would you just simply toss them out? As you can see, there are many options for salvaging bananas, so hopefully your answer was not to just toss them out. I personally love bread and muffins, and if it was still fall or winter I would have made some. However, since we have officially hit spring, I thought it was time for a new way to prevent banana waste that would compliment the warming temperatures. So I did a little research, ran a few tests, & viola, these frozen banana pops were born.

IMG_20190322_170845_932As a foodie that’s doing my best to stay fit, I’m always on the hunt for foods I can give a cleaner, more nutritious makeover to. After a recent visit to the amusement park, I was reminded of my previous love for frozen, chocolate-covered bananas. Instead of giving up on these sweet treats altogether, I thought I’d try to make them healthier. With that said, bananas on their own are a rather healthy snack option. Containing both potassium and manganese, they pack a mineral punch. Potassium is an important nutrient because it helps keep your blood pressure regulated, while manganese is needed for the body to produce collagen. A protein found in skin, bones, tendons, and connective tissue, collagen is most known for improving the health of our skin, hair, and nails. Beyond keeping us youthful, collagen can also help relieve joint pain, prevent bone loss, and boost muscle mass.

20190326_114259With all the benefits a regular banana provides for the body, it honestly doesn’t take much to clean up a frozen banana pop. Therefore, I started my process by stripping the banana back down to its roots, before adding toppings that contain more nutritional value than chocolate alone. Dark chocolate, chopped nuts, and unsweetened shredded coconut all add nutritional value while making the banana feel more decadent. I also refrained from submerging the entire banana in melted chocolate and opted for sprinkles of chopped dark chocolate instead. To make the toppings adhere to the banana while providing a bit of protein and sweetness, I mixed a blend of unsweetened almond milk, all-natural peanut butter, and pure maple syrup. Once assembled, my version is only 169 calories a pop and are without all the harmful processed ingredients you’d find in store-bought frozen bananas.

20190326_114221So the next time you need to keep hunger at bay without ruining your diet, give these nutty and chocolaty frozen banana pops a try. They will satisfy your sweet tooth without feeling any of the guilt!

 

Skinny Frozen Banana Pops

(Yield: 8 Servings)

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 large Bananas; peeled & cut in half crosswise
  • 5 tbsp. Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk
  • ¼ cup Natural Creamy Unsalted Peanut Butter
  • 1 tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
  • ¼ cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • ¼ cup Finely Chopped Dark Chocolate
  • ¼ cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts
  • 8 Wooden Pop Sticks

 

Preparation:

  1. Line a large sheet tray with parchment paper. Pour toppings (coconut, dark chocolate, chopped nuts) onto a large plate. Set aside.
  2. Gently push a wooden stick into the cut end of each banana. Place on prepared sheet tray & set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine almond milk, peanut butter, and maple syrup until smooth. Holding one banana pop over the bowl, spoon peanut butter mixture over the banana, making sure to cover all sides. Allow excess to drip back into the bowl.
  4. Over the plate of toppings, hold the covered banana and evenly sprinkle with shredded coconut, dark chocolate, and nuts. Lay the completed banana pop on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining bananas.
  5. Cover prepared bananas and freeze until firm, or at least 4 hours. Transfer to a zip-top freezer bag or container and store for up to 2 months.

 

Nutrients Per Serving: 1 Banana Pop

Calories: 169 Calories, Protein: 4 g.,

Total Fat: 9 g., Sat. Fat: 3 g.,

Fiber: 3 g., Sodium: 11 mg.,

Sugars: 12 g., Carbs: 21 g.,

Cholesterol: 0 mg

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: C. LYONS
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

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