No Bake Choconut Banana Bites

Have you ever baked with banana flour?  Maybe the better question is, have you ever heard of it?  I was recently asked to provide a list of high satiety foods for a Prevention magazine article and started to do research on unripe bananas, specifically green banana flour.  The nutritional profile is pretty incredible and I’ll be the first to admit that even as a dietitian, I really wasn’t fully aware of the potential health benefits of underripe bananas until recently.    Here is what I’ve learned about banana flour that is backed by research.  But first, what exactly is banana flour?

Yes, it’s made from bananas but if you’re like me, I had many questions about how it’s made.  In a nutshell, young, green bananas are picked and peeled before most of their starch has had a chance to ripen into sugar.  Next, the bananas are dried slow enough to maintains vitamins, nutrients and resistant starch (which I’ll talk about below) and ground into flour.  That’s about it!

In general, underripe bananas are naturally high in resistant starch (which they start to lose as they ripen), a type of starch that resists digestion in the small intestine, which has been shown to increase satiety, reduce feelings of hunger and may lead to lower energy intake in subsequent meals.  A 2016 Journal of Functional Foods study showed that adding unripe banana flour (5g resistant starch/serving) to non-daily consumption of soup for 6 weeks promoted higher satiety, lower ghrelin (hunger hormone) and high peptide YY release (a hormone which helps to reduce appetite and limit food intake).  How’s that for some gluten-free flour?!  I was quite impressed with the previous and even more recent research on banana flour.  In fact, back in 2011, banana flour was touted as one of the most exciting nutritional breakthroughs.  Resistant starch has been suggested to help your body’s ability to burn fat while keeping you fuller, longer.  Studies have also shown that it improves blood sugar control, boosts immunity, and may even reduce your cancer risk.   This is an excellent option for just about anyone to try especially those with a gluten allergy or intolerance or anyone who is avoiding grains. 

According to Let’s Do…Organic, when replacing grain flour with banana flour in baking, use 25% less green banana flour (example: your recipe calls for 1 cup of wheat flour, so use 3/4 cup of green banana flour). No extra eggs or liquid ingredients are needed.

This recipe is adapted from Alison’s No Bake Banana Flour Banana Balls by Let’s Do…Organic.  When I first saw this recipe, I had to make it, especially since it included two of my favorite words “NO BAKE”!!  The main difference in my recipe is that I added in rolled oats for a boost of fiber and texture and vanilla extract for flavor.  With the addition of cocoa powder,  no refined sugar and solely sweetened with maple syrup, these balls of goodness will satisfy your sweet tooth without giving you a toothache!   This is a treat you can totally feel good about giving your kids too.  My boys (and husband) gobbled these up and asked for seconds! Let’s just say they didn’t last more than one day.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons Let’s Do…Organic banana flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 3 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Let’s Do…Organic shredded coconut

Directions:

  1. Line a plate with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients (except coconut and oats) and mix well.
  3. Slowly add in the oats and continue mixing until texture thickens enough to form balls.
  4. Take about one tablespoon of the batter and roll into balls, then roll in the shredded coconut and place on the parchment lined plate.
  5. Place the plate in the freezer and freeze for about 20 minutes and enjoy!

 

 

 

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