Who doesn’t love a banana?

They’re a nicely portable, tasty fruit that comes ready-to-eat in a convenient disposable wrapper. Yes, they’re not so pleasant when squashed in a school bag but that shouldn’t deter us from adding them to our kids’ daily diet.

Creative and tasty lunchbox options become more difficult to create as the school-year goes on, not to mention the ever-present need to be healthy. Boo.

Never fear, bananas to the rescue.

Carnarvon Bananas: The Sweeter Banana

Carnarvon was the first place in Australia where bananas were grown, way back in the 1840’s, and is now recognised as the place where the tastiest and sweetest bananas are grown in Australia.

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The Sweeter Banana Co-operative was formed in 1993, and is owned and operated by 25 farmers from family-run farms on the banks of the Gascoyne River. The co-operative invented the “Original Lunchbox Banana” as a way of differentiating its bananas from Tropical North Queensland bananas.

Carnarvon’s unique climate and growing conditions are perfect for producing a sweeter banana. Because of the arid desert climate, bananas need to be grown close together which protects them from harsh summer heat, keeps in the moisture and creates a humid microclimate, keeps them warmer in winter and protects them from sea breezes in summer.

Learn more about Sweeter Bananas here.

The health benefits of bananas

A wide variety of health benefits are associated with our favourite curvy fruit. They’re high in potassium and fiber, and a good source of magnesium, antioxidants and vitamins C and B6. They’re known to help us in the following areas:

  • Heart health – high potassium and low sodium content helps to protect your cardiovascular system against high blood pressure
  • Depression and mood – bananas have high levels of tryptophan which the body converts to serotonin which helps with mood and sleep. Vitamin B6 also helps you sleep and magnesium helps muscles relax.
  • Digestion – bananas are high in fiber which helps keep you regular; just one banana can provide 10% of your daily fiber needs. The starch in bananas helps to keep your tummy bacteria happy.
  • Exercise – bananas can be more effective than sports drinks for replenishing energy and electrolytes.
  • Vision – bananas contain vitamin A, essential for protecting your eyes.
  • Bones – bananas contain special carbohydrates that enhance the body’s ability to absorb calcium, helping to keep bones strong.

Bananas are one of the healthiest fruits for kids, and I’ll be feeding them to my baby boy when he starts on solids in a few months’ time.

So what can you make with bananas?

Banana bread

A Perth café staple, you can find banana bread made with Sweeter Bananas in the shops but it’s also easy to make at home. It’s best made with over-ripe bananas so never throw them away!

See here for a simple guide to making your own banana bread.

Banana smoothies

Simply throw some bananas in a blender with milk and a drizzle of honey and you’ve got a delicious, healthy meal in a glass. Keep it simple or invent a new creation by adding other fruits and ingredients – the choice is yours.

Find over 50 different banana smoothie recipes here.

Banana sandwiches

Bananas may not seem a traditional sandwich filling, but they have been popular throughout history. Even Elvis Presley famously loved a peanut butter and banana toastie.

Sprinkle with sugar, add some bacon, cover with Nutella…the possibilities are endless, although perhaps stay away from the South American delicacy that adds mayonnaise.

Banana muffins

The perfect snack for morning tea or breakfast on the run, muffins are usually an easy one-bowl recipe that the kids can help you make.

Find more banana muffin recipes than you can make in a year here.

Blended frozen bananas

Here’s a neat trick. Freeze some banana chunks. Throw them into a food processor. Enjoy.

Don’t believe me? See here. 

I’ll just leave this here.

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Martin Eade
Martin has left his IT career behind to focus on his true passions of writing, photography and food. His Perth-based food blog, Morsels, covers many areas including cafe & restaurant reviews, coffee and fast food.