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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

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Bananas are a nutrient-rich food choice for your diet

Bananas are a nutrient-rich food choice for your diet

(StatePoint) The average American eats 27 pounds of bananas every year -- and it’s no wonder, bananas not only taste great, they are also good for your health.

As an excellent source of dietary fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and other nutrients, bananas are low in calories, have no fat, sodium or cholesterol. So, incorporating them into your diet just makes sense.

While bananas on their own make a great snack, they can also be enjoyed in appetizers, desserts, salads, smoothies, and baked goods, too.

For a wholesome treat, try this recipe for Healthy Chiquita Banana-Pear Chewy Granola Bars, which relies on fresh fruit for its sweetness instead of refined sugar, making it a delicious, healthful choice.

• 2 cups large flake rolled oats
• 1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
• 3 medium, very ripe Chiquita bananas
• 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
• 2 Tbsp. honey
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp. allspice
• 1/4 tsp. sea salt
• 1/4 cup flaxseed
• 1 Barlett pear, peeled and diced
• 1/2 cup dried cranberries
• 1/2 cup dried blueberries

• Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on both long sides of the pan. Set aside.

• Spread the oats and almonds on a large baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the oats are just starting to brown. Cool slightly.

• In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Stir in the coconut oil, honey, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Fold in the flaxseed, pear, cranberries, blueberries, oats and almonds.

• Transfer mixture into the prepared pan, packing it down with a spatula. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until firm. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Lift out of pan and continue to cool completely.

• Cut into 12 bars.

When shopping, look for bananas that were farmed responsibly. For example, Chiquita is committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2020, recycles 2,000 metric tons of plastic bags and twine used on company farms annually, and is committed to reforestation efforts in the regions where they farm.

To take your banana love to the next level, celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Chiquita jingle, which at its peak, was played on radio stations across the United States 376 times a day.

Bananas are a great nutrient-dense power food, providing natural energy to fuel active lives. Pack a banana wherever you go and you'll always have a quick, convenient source of nutrition to pick you up and keep you going.