What is the best eating schedule? Three meals, many meals or even fasting? Reviewing common diet patterns and what may work best for YOU.

Question

It seems the “experts” are always changing their minds on what and when we should eat. Eat this. Don’t eat that. Stop eating that thing we told you to eat last year and eat this instead. Eat 3 meals a day. Eat 6 meals a day. Fast one day a week. Do intermittent fasting 3 times a week. Never eat after 5pm. Don’t skip breakfast. Actually it’s ok to skip breakfast. But don’t forget, breakfast is the most important meal of the day! My goodness, it’s enough to make your head spin.

A recent study (see link below) suggests eating within a 10-hour window each day may be ideal for reducing weight and metabolic disease. They don’t talk about the pattern within that window, but simply limiting the hours in which calories may be consumed. Interesting.

This adds to the piles of research and opinions around when to eat. Are you confused about the ideal eating pattern for you? Are you confused by all this talk of meal timing and intermittent fasting? If so, read on to break down some of these common suggestions. Hopefully you can come to an understanding of what sort of meal schedule will optimize your health and allow you to reach your goals, whether that’s weight loss, balanced blood sugar, improved mood, etc.

schedule

First of all, there is no ideal pattern for everyone. Let’s get that straight. The ideal eating times for you are those that work with your schedule and lifestyle. I’ve seen many eating patterns that work for people, from the regular 3 meals a day to 2 meals per day + snack, or 6 small meals, etc. The only reason to change a pattern is if it isn’t working for you or is clearly an unhealthy one (which usually you know if that’s you).

Before we even get too far, let me say up front I am not a fan of the 6 small meal per day sort of schedule. First of all it’s often quite stressful for people to be able to remember to eat as many time as they need do. Say you have a small breakfast before work but can’t take a break to eat 2 hours later because of a big meeting? Now you are starving and prone to make poor choices later in the day.

Also, blood sugar rhythms tend to follow a 3-4 hour cycle. When you eat a meal, typically, your blood sugar peaks about 1-2 hours later. Then it slowly comes down over the following couple hours and you gradually become hungry again. Now, if we are constantly fueling every two hours, our blood sugar is never given a chance to return as low as it should between meals. Granted a smaller meal is going to have a smaller blood glucose rise, but the point is that we aren’t following the natural rhythm of our glucose cycles.

Additionally, longer spaces between meals are really great for our digestion. I know I have written about this before, but we have this wonderful process in our small intestine called the migrating motor complex, or the MMC, for short. It’s role is to sweep clear the small intestine and increase motility, allowing things to move along and digest as they should. Thing is, this process only takes place about 60-90 minutes after eating, in a semi-fasted state. And it needs some time to work. If we are eating every two hours, we keep shutting this process down. For some, this sets them up for indigestion and bloating, and can even lead to microbial imbalances. Better meal spacing can help support the MMC and keep our digestion plugging along as it should.

Lastly, many of my clients who have tried the 6 mini-meal schedule are in actuality just snacking all day. Yes, it’s all small stuff, but it becomes a nonstop snack party. Many of those “snacks” are a lot higher in calories than one thinks, and instead of increasing energy and losing weight, it becomes an easy way to gain weight. Frustrating for many, to say the least.

snacks

Clearly I’m not a fan of eating multiple mini meals throughout the day. In my opinion, a 4 hour spacing (or 3 at the minimum) seems ideal. This solves many of the aforementioned issues and tends to fit well for our normal wake/sleep cycles.

What might this type of schedule look like. Certainly it can very, but let’s take an example from one of my days:

7am – Breakfast: 1 fried egg, 1 piece whole wheat toast w/ almond butter, honey, cup of black coffee
12pm – Lunch: Leftover beef and bean chili (1.5 cups) with 2 tbsp guacamole, 1 tbsp sour cream, a sprinkle of grated cheese, 1 orange, water.
3:30 – 4pm – Snack: 12 almonds, 1 banana
6:30pm – Dinner: 2oz baked chicken breast, 1 cup Puttanesca (spaghetti, sauce with anchovies, tomatoes, olives, garlic) ½ cup roasted broccoli, water.

You can see the spacing varies (and it does from day to day), but the goal is at least 3.5-4 hours between meals most of the day, with the evening meal being the least spaced given I can’t always control the exact timing of dinner (kids and hubby have a big say in that!). THIS is the schedule that works for me. You may decide to follow the same principles, but the exact execution may look different. That is a-ok.

Then the next question is, what about fasting or intermittent fasting?

Ah, great question. There is so much swirling around about restricted eating patterns to help you lose weight and even increase longevity.

Look, I have been reading this stuff too, and I won’t say that it doesn’t work. I am sure fasting has many amazing benefits. It is supposed to improve fat burning, boost the immune system, reduce the risk for cancer, raise growth hormone levels, improve brain function, and a host of other claims. It’s likely true. We see some of these in rat studies as the one previously mentioned.

There are various iterations of these fasting schedules. Some fast one day per week, others fast more than that, and others will have mini-fasts one time per week up to several times per week.

The real question with any of these is, is it realistic? Is this something you can stick with? Is this reasonable for your lifestyle and your family? If not, it’s just another fad that will leave you back at the same place you started. Think hard before you decide to go for these types of diets. Again, I’m not saying don’t do it, because the health benefits may be just what you need, but think hard about whether this is a change you want to keep for the forseeable future.

One tactic I personally employ is the same as hinted at in this article, a semi-restricted eating schedule that limits the hours of consumption. I think of it as “night” fasting. By increasing the hours without eating between evening and morning, you can achieve some of the same benefits of fasting and even help reduce weight, at least per this recent study. Also, this tends to cut out eating after dinner which for many is a huge calorie save right there. Per the article, this type of “fasting” can improve metabolism and reduce metabolic disease (reduce cholesterol, balance blood glucose, improve blood pressure, etc).

But the question is, is this realistic? I think for most it is. It’s a hard choice limit eating at certain hours (those cravings can be no joke!) but you can make that choice and stick with it, especially in the evening when work is over and most importantly, kids are in bed!

Not sure this is actually doable? Check out this schedule:

9am: breakfast
12pm: lunch
3pm: snack
6:30pm: dinner (goal of being done by 7pm)

OR:
7am: breakfast
10am: Snack
1pm: Lunch
5pm: Dinner

As you can see in both of these examples, the spacing is slightly less than the 4-hour window, however with the increase space between dinner and breakfast, you likely get many of the benefits as the article describes.

Remember my eating schedule as depicted earlier? You can clearly see that is not a 10-hour window there. I have implemented more of a 12-hour window. I have cut out any evening eating and made sure breakfast is time 12 hours after dinner. Maybe not as great as the article supports, but that’s where I am at!

Hopefully this slightly long-winded discussion gives you some points to ponder in figuring out the “right” plan for you. Whatever your health goal may be, meal spacing and limited eating hours during the day may be just what you need to start seeing the results you are looking for!

*If you have diabetes or any other condition that may require more rigid eating times, please do discuss any changes to your current diet with your medical practitioner first!

1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180831130131.htm

Eat This For Healthy Summer Skin

Warmer weather is finally upon us, and with that, it seems everyone is trying to look and feel their best while taking advantage of the outdoors. Weight management is certainly a huge part of that, with everyone trying to increase their exercise and improve their diet, but surprisingly skincare is another topic I hear come up all the time. We not only want to strut in those cute summer jeans but we also want our skin to glow while we’re doing it. Am I right?

Given all the creams and topical potions that abound to keep your skin at its best, many often overlook the power of nutrition in giving your skin true, lasting vitality. Nourishing our skin from the inside is just as important as protecting it on the outside.

Maybe it’s time to rethink that skin care routine and focus on food, not formulas. What you eat every day can make a big impact on how both you and your skin function.

What foods are best for that? Have a read through for some easy summer diet do’s and don’ts to keep you glowing all year long.

10 Foods for Youthful Skin

1. Berries

Berries are chocked full of antioxidant compounds. Antioxidants help us fight off free radical damage which is, unfortunately, an unavoidable consequence of the world we live in. Our food, our household products, other environmental chemicals and even stress can create free radicals which damage our cells. Antioxidants help knock these out and restore proper balance and function.

2. Cruciferous veggies

Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, bok choy….they are all fantastic when it comes to your skin. They are high in vitamins A and C, which are important for our skin, and the phytochemicals in cruciferous can help reduce inflammation and promote estrogen balance, both which can be a huge boost to your epidermis.

3. Wild Salmon (and other Omega 3 fatty acids)

Healthy fats are key to healthy cells, and healthy cells equal healthy skin. Wild salmon is a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, known for their powerful role in reducing inflammation. There are more Omega 3 sources besides salmon, however. Other animal sources include mackerel, sardines, tuna, and anchovies. Plant-based sources include chia seeds, hemp hearts, flax seed, and walnuts.

4. Avocado

This tasty fruit is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants which helps keep skin supple and ward off the effects of aging. More reason for some guacamole when the weather heats up!

5. Nuts

Yet another fantastic fat source that is helpful for our cells and also contains a host of skin-protecting antioxidants. Additionally, they are high in fiber, which may not seem directly related to your skin, but anything that supports digestion and promotes regular elimination will help detox your skin and body as well.

6. Coconut oil

We are still on a fat kick here. As you can tell, getting good sources of healthy fats in your diet is key. A fat-free diet is not the way to healthy skin. Coconut oil is another of those powerhouse fats. It has potent anti-microbial properties to ward off bacteria throughout our body and can support our immune system. All of this, in turn, promotes healthier skin. Easy ways to use coconut oil would be with sautéing, using as a fat in baking, or mixed into smoothies. Personally, I like to use full-fat coconut milk in making chia seed pudding to get in a healthy dose.

7. Bone broth

Fluids are super important for keeping out cells well hydrated, so bone broth can certainly help with that, but it’s also a major source of collagen. Collagen, which tends to decrease with age, is what keeps our skin firm and elastic. A little bone broth can go a long way in increasing hydration and giving our skin the building blocks to repair and restore the collagen in our skin. Use as a warm evening beverage or mix into soups or other dishes that call for broth.

8. Fermented foods

We know that fermented foods, or foods rich in natural probiotics, are good for our gut. A healthy intestinal tract equals good digestion and good digestion shows on our skin. When we are absorbing our nutrients properly and eliminating toxins on a regular basis, it will produce noticeable results on the outside as well as the inside. Eat fermented foods daily to balance your gut bacteria and keep that digestive process running smoothly. Examples of fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, beet kvass, water kefir, kombucha, tempeh, pickled veggies, and miso.

While some dairy products are fermented as well, best to keep those to a minimum as dairy is often implicated in inflammation and skin issues.

9. Cilantro

I know many have a love/hate relationship with this herb, but if you are a cilantro lover out there, more reason to use it early and often! Cilantro contains chlorophyll, which has powerful detoxifying properties in the body. Cilantro also supports liver detoxification, which may help reduce or prevent acne by helping rid your liver of toxins more quickly and efficiently. Sprinkle cilantro on anything and everything. Even add to smoothies or pressed homemade juices.

10. Leafy greens

I can’t say enough good things about leafy green vegetables. Kale, spinach, chard, romaine….they are all great sources of iron, calcium, B vitamins and fiber. More importantly for your skin, they are a good boost to your liver for detoxifying the body. As we’ve said before, detoxing from the inside will show outside in your skin, so eat up a variety of greens daily to get that summer glow.

10 Super Foods to Eat this Spring

healthy spring eatingWarmer weather is gradually arriving (at least to us in Seattle!) and many of you, like myself, are likely starting to shift your eating. Heavy stews and fortifying soups are on their way out in place of lighter fare with seasonal produce. Personally, I always find this time of year that I’ve forgotten many of my favorite Spring and Summer foods as this transition happens, and I get into a food rut, rotating through many of the same meals until something reminds me of the variety at my fingertips (ie the store or farmers market). For that reason I created a list of the some fabulous “super foods” to start incorporating this Spring.

First off I will say I don’t really like the term “super food.” By super food we really just mean, “a healthy whole food that provides a combination of vitamins, minerals, and health protective compounds.” MANY foods fit this criteria. Below are just a few of the many options you may have neglected over the winter. Pick one or two this week to add in as a snack or as part of a meal. No time to start changing things up like the present!

1. Strawberries
Maybe you noticed, but strawberries were listed as #1 on “dirty dozen” list this year, meaning they are the number one pesticide-contaminated produce item. Unfortunate to say the least, but don’t forget you can choose organic to get the wonderful and delicious health benefits of this tasty fruit. Also, you can often find frozen organic strawberries in most stores at a much more affordable price, so be creative! Strawberries pack of a hefty dose of vitamin C, a few trace minerals and a host of antioxidants, making it a great choice for the warmer months.

2. Leeks
These green, onion-like veggies are often overlooked, but don’t! They are a nutritional powerhouse of Vit K, manganese, iron, Vitamin C and B vitamins. In fact, they can be a great replacement in any dish that calls for onions. I’ve done this loads of times myself. Just cut off the tough stalk and chop up the tender white portion to use in your next dish. Alternatively they work great as a soup or baked into a quiche!

3. Salmon
You may have ignored salmon over the winter, so start including more of this super food as the weather warms. Salmon is great not only because is it a good protein source, but also because it’s loaded with Omega 3 fats and provides a good amount of Calcium, Vitamin D, Selenium and B12. Pair it with a simple salmon for a light Spring dinner. Just make sure to always buy wild caught over farm raised to avoid potential toxins and genetically modified organisms .

4. Olives
There are so many different types of olives to choose from! Hit up the olive bar at your favorite grocer sometime and try some new varieties. All of them are high in monounsaturated fatty acids and contain important nutrients such as copper, iron, fiber and Vitamin E. They are also a wealth of unique antioxidants giving them heart-protective properties.

5. Pumpkin Seeds
Hiking season is coming up on us fast, so don’t forget to pack some pumpkin seeds for the trail. In fact, pack them everywhere for an easy snack. Pumpkin seeds provide an appreciable amount of zinc (great for your immune system!) and other minerals such as phosphorous, manganese, and copper.

6. Artichokes
These fleshy little friends are often overlooked as well, especially since getting to the actual edible portion of this rather large vegetable can be challenging for some. Never fear, you can always find them jarred or canned to save you the time and hassle. That being said, check the link below to expand your skills and become an artichoke-opening champ. Like other foods on this list, here we have another one loaded with antioxidants and high in fiber. Studies have shown artichokes to also be helpful in liver health, preventing cancer, and reducing cholesterol. For pregnant women, artichokes are a great source of folate.
http://www.oceanmist.com/artichokes/prepare-artichoke/

7. Chocolate
It seems the health benefits of chocolate continue to be debated (much like coffee!) but I believe the overwhelming consensus is that chocolate is super for your health. Do watch the sugar and choose the highest cacoa content that you can, but otherwise enjoy the benefits of all those antioxidants, healthy fats, and fiber with every bite. A small square per day makes a great snack.

8. Hemp seed
You may have yet to hear of these, but hemp seeds are gaining in popularity. Yes, if you were wondering, they are from the same plant as cannabis, however the seeds contain trace if any of the mind-altering compounds found in the leaves of the plant. The wonderful thing about these delicate little seeds is that they are high in protein and rich in essential fatty acids. They also contain a variety of minerals and antioxidants. Try adding a tablespoon to your morning yogurt, oatmeal or smoothie.

9. Beets
I associate beets with Spring salads, adding richness in color and flavor to any leafy arrangement. Besides appearance and flavor, they contain unique phytonutrients that support our bodies in detoxification, cancer prevention, and heart health. Unfortunately these phytochemicals can degrade with prolonged cooking, so prepare them as efficiently as possible. Check out this link for an ideal way to cook your beets for maximum retention of nutrients.
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=98

10. Leafy greens
Speaking of salads, leafy greens are the ultimate Spring food, chocked full of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. Like other foods on this list, they protect the heart, help the body prevent cancer, and supply a great source of vitamins and minerals, particularly folate, potassium, Calcium and Vitamins A, C, and K. Plus, there are so many options to choose from! Spinach, kale, chard, dandelion greens, mustard greens….. pick your favorites and enjoy in a salad, smoothie, stir-fry, or anywhere!

Skyr Yogurt: Why You Don’t Always Have to Go Greek

Skyr YogurtI love to travel. Besides the sights and sounds of a new place, one of my favorite things is to experience new food. I think I love visiting grocery stores in foreign places about as much as I like museums and natural wonders. I know, it’s weird, but I enjoy learning about how other people live, and a huge part of that is how they eat.

Recently I was fortunate enough to take a quick trip to Iceland (sans kids!) for our fifteenth wedding anniversary. It was a bit of a whirlwind; some might say not worth it for just 4 short nights, but that was still time to experience the flare and food of another culture.

One food I noticed right away was the abundance of Skyr yogurt. I had seen and tasted this in the States, but of course I wanted to taste it in the Motherland. Given I have a dairy sensitivity this was no small consideration, but I ate it and enjoyed every bite (paid for it later, but that’s another story).

What is Skyr yogurt? As you might guess, it is similar to Greek yogurt in many ways, but don’t tell that to someone from Iceland. Technically it’s not even a yogurt but more of a smooth, soft cheese made with skim milk fermented with Skyr culture. It’s then filtered to concentrate the protein. Greek yogurt on the other hand, traditionally uses full fat milk and different cultures but is also filtered to increase the protein. Similar, yet different.

The other thing about true Skyr yogurt? It’s made from the milk of Icelandic cows feeding on Icelandic grass. You can’t replicate this product elsewhere and get the same product. You just can’t. A few producers in the States have tried, but of course it will never be considered a true Skyr yogurt by the people who invented it.

So all that to say, I tasted it … and it was delicious. Creamy and tangy, especially when mixed with homemade granola. Dairy sensitivity be damned. I was going to enjoy this rare treat. Apart from using it as you would a regular yogurt like I did, I’m told Icelandic folks also use it for dips, as a beverage, and as a topping for desserts.

If you want to try this high protein treat for yourself, apart from buying a ticket on Icelandic Air (which is not a bad idea I might add), you will have to make due with the “inferior” products on the market here. I say “inferior” only because it may not be the exact same thing, but let me just say it’s pretty close. The one exception? I recently read that Skyr Iceland is now exporting to select Whole Foods in North America, so it is possible you might find the real deal … for a price. Other US-based options include Siggi (my kids LOVE this one), and Smari. Both are produced by Icelandic expats with a clear love for the yogurt of their homeland. Both also use high quality milk from family farms and add very little sugar compared to typical yogurts. In fact, Smari says they only use grass-fed milk, which is awesome. Like I said, it may not be the same, but it’s pretty darn close.

So, are you ready to ditch sugar-laden yogurts for something healthier? Then I recommend having a browse for Skyr yogurt next time you are at the grocery store. If you are a client, ask me for a Siggi’s $1 off coupon next time you stop by. If you try it, let me know what you think! Let’s support these small producers who are doing the right thing and getting healthy, low sugar dairy products on the market!

Decoding Whole Grains

whole grainsDecoding whole grains

It’s National Whole Gain month, if you didn’t know already (but of course you did, right?). This month’s blog post comes to us by former dietetic intern Katherine Doughty, MS, IBCLC. Choosing whole grains can be confusing at times, but read along to understand more about the benefits of whole grains and how to know if the product you are buying is whole grain or refined.

Multigrain, whole wheat, wheat, 12 grain, honey wheat, white wheat, 100% whole grain—what does it all mean?  How does one know if something is a whole grain?  Does it even matter if it is a whole grain?

To figure this out, let’s start with an explanation of whole grains.  A grain has three parts: the bran, the endosperm and the germ.  The outermost layer, the bran, is full of fiber, energy producing B vitamins, trace minerals and phytochemicals.  The endosperm is composed of carbohydrates and protein.  The innermost layer, the germ, includes B vitamins, Vitamin E, trace minerals, phytochemical and unsaturated fats (1).  In it’s whole form, this is what we call a “whole” grain. Often times these once “whole” grains are refined in order to change their texture and improve their shelf life (2).  The refinement process involves removing the bran and germ through grinding or selective shifting (3) and losing the nutrients within these layers.  These grains may then be enriched by adding some B vitamins and iron back to the grain.

Whole grains can be divided into two categories, those which contain gluten and those which do not.  Gluten free whole grains include: amaranth (also a complete protein), buckwheat, corn, millet (also high in antioxidants and magnesium), montina, oats*, quinoa, rice, sorghum, and teff (high in calcium).  Those containing gluten include: barley, bulgur, einkorn, farro, kamut, semolina, triticale and wheat.(4)(5)

But how do you know if you are getting one of these nutrition packed whole grains or a refined grain?  You can first look on the package for the Whole Grain Council’s stamp.  This stamp has been around since 2005 and displays the amount of whole grains in the product.(6)   There are other clues to look for in the ingredient list.  If the word enriched precedes B vitamins such as riboflavin or thiamin, this likely indicates that the product has been refined to some degree; other hints that the food contains refined grains include the words degerminated and wheat germ.  Multigrain is also a tricky one as it could mean that the food contains a mixture of whole grains or a mix of refined and whole grains.  So what are some sure fire ways to identify whole grains?  Look for ingredients like 100% whole wheat, stoneground whole wheat (or another grain), wheat berries or brown rice (7).

To learn more about whole grains including recipes check out:

http://wholegrainscouncil.org/

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/grains.html

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/whole-grains/art-20047826

*Those with gluten allergies/sensitivities should take care when choosing foods containing oats as they may be subject to cross-con

 

(1) Whole Grain Cereal.  Retrieved on 01/26/15 from: http://agcj.tamu.edu/407/sites/Sarvarian2/nutrition.htm

(2) Nancy Lapid (12/15/14).  What Does “Whole Grain” Mean?  Retrieved on 01/26/15 from: http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/celiacdiseasefaqs/f/WholeGrain.htm

(3) Refined grains (2/7/14).  In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.  Retrieved on 1/28/15 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refined_grains

(4) Whole Grain Council. Gluten Free Whole Grains.  Retrieved on 01/26/15 from: http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/gluten-free-whole-grains

(5) Whole Grain Council.  Whole Grains A to Z.  Retrieved on 01/26/15 from: http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/whole-grains-a-to-z

(6) Whole Grain Council.  Stamp FAQ-Consumers. Retrieved on 01/26/15 from: http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grain-stamp/stamp-faq-consumers

(7) Whole Grain Council.  Identifying Whole Grain Products.  Retrieved on 01/26/15 from: http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/identifying-whole-grain-products

Bananas. What are they good for?

bananas

Bananas sure get a bad rap, don’t they? I can’t even tell you how many clients have looked at me and said, “I heard bananas are bad for you, so I don’t eat them,” and then proceed to fill me in on all the high carb, processed foods they do eat which somehow are much healthier or more acceptable than a banana. Why no love for the banana?

Believe it or not, bananas are GREAT for you! Yes they can be a bit high in carbs, but so are half the other foods you eat, right? It’s all about factoring it in. Bananas also have a host of great health benefits that are quickly overlooked because of their starchy interior. Let’s run through them real quick, shall we?

They aren’t that high carb!
A medium banana has about 30g of carb. Let’s see what else has 30 grams of carb: A big apple, 2 pieces of bread, 2/3 cup of cooked pasta, 1 cup beans, ¼ cup of raisins, and certainly any bakery item you would buy for a snack from Starbucks (well, that would be well OVER 30g of carb). All of these things people will eat, but the only one that gets singled out for being too starchy is the banana. Rethink it.

Loads of Vitamins
Bananas have a lot of great nutrition that you might be missing out on. They are a fantastic source of electrolytes like potassium and magnesium, making them a great part of the DASH diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension). Bananas also have a host of great vitamins and micronutrients like Vitamin C, B6, Manganese, Copper and Biotin.

Fuel for Exercise
The electrolytes we mentioned, when coupled with those 30 grams of carbohydrate, make them a good choice for a pre- or post-workout snack. They can also be used as fuel during long bouts of exercise since they usually don’t cause stomach upset and are easily digested.

Portable Snack, Especially for Kids
Not sure what to pack your kid on a road trip? Definitely think bananas. As we’ve talked already about they pack a good nutrition punch, provide a lot of energy, and come pre-wrapped with a naturally compostable covering to boot. And in terms of keeping my car clean from wrappers and crumbs, bananas are a winner. Also great for taking to work and keeping handy in your desk drawer.

A Prebiotic Food
What’s a prebiotic food you say? It’s a food with fibers that help feed the good bacteria in your gut. Bananas are one of those foods and can help keep your tummy happy.

An Egg Replacer
Allergic to eggs? Never fear, banana is here. Mashed banana makes an excellent egg replacer and can lend that desired binding property that baked goods need. Just make sure it’s a recipe that would taste good with some banana flavor! Replace one egg with ¼ cup mashed banana.

They Make Smoothies Taste Delicious
Add one to your smoothie and see. A smoothie with a banana is always a better smoothie. My kids, who are a poor source of credible information, tell me it’s a fact. I think they are actually right on this one.

As you can see, there are many, many reasons to love the banana. Or as my two year old calls them, the ba-na-NA-na (emphasis on the NA). Of course, be sure to pair your banana with a good protein source to keep your blood sugar in check, but otherwise, add this tasty fruit to your healthy snack repertoire.