With apologies to Wheaties, the self-proclaimed Breakfast of Champions, we’ve discovered another classic that, when served in a fancy soda-shop style container, can just as easily appear on the breakfast table as it can be served for dessert.
It’s the “healthy” banana split, and it’s gotten us through any number of crunch meal times. I like this because it can be dressed up in many ways, from ultra-healthy to just a little indulgent (break out the whipped cream…). The kids like it because they can participate in choosing their toppings, which is something our “I can do it myself” three-year-old especially enjoys. Some days we go simple with just a few embellishments, and others we have half a dozen toppings to choose from though there is nothing that says you can’t have even more if you’re feeling especially adventuresome.
The “healthy” part is a simple substitute of yogurt for ice cream, and then we load up on other non-guilty goodies like blueberries, strawberries, raisins, chopped prunes, dried cranberries, chopped dried pineapple or peaches, granola, Rice Krispies, KIX, sunflower seeds, chopped peanuts, sliced almonds…the options are wide open.
And if your family really does like their Wheaties, well, make that one of your topping choices. It’s kind-of like making the Breakfast of Champions the champion of breakfasts. Or snack time. Take your pick. And here’s another secret: I have succumbed to serving healthy banana splits for dinner (vegetarian!) every once in a while and I actually feel good about it. After all, when is the last time your kids licked the bowls clean at supper?
Here are some ideas for making yours.
Healthy Banana Splits
1 banana per person
1/2 cup French Vanilla or Plain yogurt per serving (or go crazy with your favorite yogurt flavor)
Toppings of your choice, which might include:
– Any type of dried fruit, cut into small pieces
– Any type of fresh fruit in bite-sized pieces (like peaches, apricots, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries….)
– Shelled sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
– Sliced almonds, walnuts or crushed peanuts
– Any other small, crunchy cereal including Rice Krispies, Cheerios, KIX, etc.
A drizzle of maple syrup or another syrup (hey, I’m not ruling out some chocolate sauce here!)
Sprinkles or baby chocolate chips, if the kids have been really good
Maraschino cherries, if you’d like
Now, it’s not essential that you have a banana split bowl for this, but is sure does make it more fun to serve and eat.
Split the banana lengthwise (daughter 2 prefers hers cut into rounds and piled in the bowl), cover with yogurt, and load up on toppings. Finish with some syrup if using, a dollop of whipped cream and a cherry on top. If this will be dessert, go for the sprinkles or baby chocolate chips.
Serves: However many you need to serve!
Parent rating: Five stars. Truth be told, I wouldn’t want this for dinner every night but then, I wouldn’t want most things for dinner every night (except, perhaps, for Pad Thai…but that will have to wait for another post). This dish suits all tastes and can be served at just about any meal, or as a dessert. Creamy, crunchy, good for you, and FUN. Everything a busy parent could hope for.
Kid rating: Five stars. They have control over what goes ON the banana splits, which means it’s much more likely to end up IN the kid. Make these special with a couple of over-the-top touches: that whipped cream and cherry, for sure, but maybe your kids even deserve some sprinkles if they’ve had a really good day. I can pretty much guarantee your kids will be licking the bowl clean too. And if bananas aren’t your thing….1) kudos to you for reading this far, and 2) use a banana substitute! Sliced peaches, a baked apple, even some cubed melon would be good. Enjoy.