Trending Ingredient: Bananas

The sweet, versatile banana transforms into exciting new foods.

By Kara Nielsen

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News flash: Bananas are trendy! They are moving far beyond the fruit bowl, transforming into a host of healthful grocery products. While banana-scented baked goods and treats remain a constant, new beverages, snacks, frozen treats and even gluten-free flours show off the versatility of this beloved staple. Along for the ride are bananas’ luscious sweetness and nutrients like potassium, vitamins B6 and C, and even some protein and fiber.

The banana-magic trend launched in 2016 with Sir Bananas, a banana-flavored dairy milk from WhiteWave, made with real bananas to please kids and parents alike. The cheerfully packaged milks, in multi- and single-serving sizes, come in both regular and chocolate flavors. They have no artificial flavors, sweeteners or colors, and are also carrageenan-free. Sir Bananas provides 7 grams of protein, plus a handful of essential nutrients, per serving.

The banana’s natural sugars and unique texture make it well suited for dairy- and egg-free frozen desserts, a boon to vegans and allergy sufferers. Fronana is a “banana-based ice cream alternative,” with no added sugars and free of the top eight allergens. For those seeking a banana-split-sundae experience, Halo Top offers both regular and dairy-free pints of Chocolate Covered Banana flavor of its popular low-calorie, high-protein ice cream.

Turning a soft banana into a crunchy snack is quite a feat. Barnana makes thin and crispy Banana Brittle with upcycled bananas (those that can’t be sold but are still delicious). The crunchy, gluten-free brittle features nutritious oat and almond flours, coconut palm sugar, and coconut oil, and comes in four flavors: Gingersnap, Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Toasted Coconut.

On the horizon, look for gluten-free and high-fiber baked goods, and baking mixes made from green banana flour, an ingredient low in sugar and banana flavor yet high in resistant starch, a prebiotic fiber that feeds good bacteria in our gut.

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