When it comes to quick and easy nutrition, it is hard to go past a banana – nutrient rich, sweet and tasty and packed in its own container, a banana is a popular snack option or quick meal on the run. A common misconception about this delicious nutrition boost is that it is high in sugar, and as such, not a great choice nutritionally. While bananas do contain naturally occurring sugars, like all fruit does, this does not mean it is a poor choice. Rather it comes down to what you eat them with, and what your overall nutritional plan looks like.
A medium banana contains 100-120 calories, 2-3g of fibre, 18-20g of total carbohydrate and a good dose of magnesium, potassium and a good dose of resistance starch, the type of fibre particular good for gut health. Compared to other popular breakfast choices including smoothies, juices, toast and muffins, a banana contains about 1/4-1/3 of the calories and 1/3 of the sugars. While bananas are often considered high in sugars, they are actually relatively low compared to other popular breakfast choices.
Grabbing a banana for breakfast rather than skipping the first meal of the day, or grabbing a high fat and high calorie option on the run is only a good thing nutritionally but a banana alone is a light breakfast option. This means that you will need to refuel 2-3 hours later to ensure you are full and satisfied until lunchtime. An even better option is to team a nutrient rich banana will another quick and easy breakfast option that is high in protein – a small milk coffee; tub of Greek style yoghurt; handful of nuts and seeds or a protein shake. This combo of nutrient rich carbs and proteins will help to keep your blood glucose levels controlled through the morning, helping you to keep full and satiated until lunchtime.
Another great way to use a banana as part of your overall nutrition plan is as a quick first breakfast before early morning starts or exercise sessions. Often early in the morning we do not feel like eating anything too substantial. It is though much better to have something small and carb rich early in the morning to get the metabolism going. Once you have eaten this you are then in a position to have a more substantial breakfast an hour or two later.
When it comes to good nutrition, you will never go wrong with fresh, natural foods. While some foods including dairy and fruit do have naturally occurring sugars, when they are consumed as part of an overall balanced diet, they will trump foods purchased away from the home every single time. So no need to stress about eating a nutrient rich banana for breakfast, you may simple need to pair it with something else to keep you fuelled and energised all morning.
*Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Australian Bananas. To learn more about the partnership, click here.