A Healthy Summer Treat: Banana "Ice Cream"

Monique Volz, from Ambitious Kitchen, joins us each Friday in May to recap her week in our Healthy Every Week Challenge.
By: Monique Volz
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Photo by: Picasa

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We’re hosting a Healthy Every Week Challenge for the month of May; a month-long initiative to develop healthy eating habits. The plan is to develop a manageable healthy habit each week that will carry through the new year. Join us here and share what you’re eating on Facebook and Twitter.

I’m here wrapping up the Healthy Eating Challenge, but secretly I am wishing it was continuing longer! The healthy habits I’ve practiced during the month of May have actually stuck with me. I mean, who knew that plotting out my bites would lead to money saving and weight loss? I certainly didn’t. Now eating breakfast every morning, preparing meals ahead of times, and thinking about the choices I make when I visit the grocery store helps me stay on track with healthy habits.

I think the hardest part of the challenge was trying to resist eating dessert. Summertime has me craving something cool and sweet. While buzzing around the internet, I found an incredible recipe for banana ‘ice cream’. Here’s the thing--this magical "ice cream" really isn’t ice cream at all -- it’s a one-ingredient, dairy-free treat that tastes like soft serve. Have you ever tried it?

One medium banana has about 105 calories, is loaded with potassium and vitamins, and is fat free. All you need to make this ice cream is a food processor and chunks of frozen bananas. When processed, the frozen bananas transform into a wonderfully sweet ice cream alternative that can save you a ton of calories.

The best part of this guilt-free treat? Adding fun mix-ins! I love mimicking my favorite candy bars. When I created mine (pictured above), I was thinking about Almond Joys (my favorite candy bar). I made my banana "ice cream" first and piled it into a cone then; then rolled it in toasted coconut, chopped almonds, and a few dark chocolate chips.

Here are some of my favorite fun mix ins:
• Banana cream pie: Crumble a graham cracker or vanilla wafers on top
• Sweet-n-salty: Crushed chocolate covered pretzels on top

• Peanut butter cup: Mix in 2 teaspoons of peanut butter and top with 1 teaspoon of chocolate chips

• Snickers: Top with 1 teaspoon peanuts, a few chocolate chips, and a drizzle of caramel

• Strawberries-n-cream: Add 1/3 cup chopped strawberries
• Nutella banana: Mix in 2 teaspoons of Nutella

For more fun toppings, check out Dana’s ideas here.

Now here’s how to make your own banana "ice cream":

Start with 2-4 ripe bananas. Peel your bananas and cut them into small chunks. Freeze for just 2-4 hours on a plate or in a plastic bag. Place into food processor and process (you can use a blender as well), making sure to scrape down the bowl when they stick. Again process the bananas until they create a creamy puree. Serve in a cold bowl or in a cone. Each banana will make ½ cup of "ice cream."

I hope you'll continue to keep up with healthy habits you've learned during the month of May, it's been so much fun! As always you can catch me over on my food blog Ambitious Kitchen.

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