Photo of four varieties of bananas.
Image via Wikipedia

Depending on the size of the banana, they have between 90 and 135 calories

Bananas are so inexpensive you can buy three of them for the same price as one apple. I recently read an article in The Washington Post’s The Mini Page for children (created, BTW, by a former Raleigh, North Carolina elementary school teacher and Mom who credits her grandmother’s running a community newspaper with her inspiration for The Mini Page, now carried in 500 newspapers).

It discussed a blight threatening bananas. It is serious for two reasons – all varieties of edible bananas come from the same species, so they are all vulnerable to the blight, and, bananas are a staple for a significant portion of people living in poverty in tropical countries.

My husband told me the story of his father’s introduction to bananas. When he was a young boy, his own grandfather was fascinated with bananas, then quite a new phenomenon. Every time he took my father-in-law out for a treat, he bought himself and his grandson a banana. However, it was not a particular treat for my father-in-law, who, perhaps, did not appreciate how exotic it was to be eating fruit from the tropics that you could get in your own grocery store. He rarely ate bananas as an adult.

The article noted that it was the United Fruit Company’s (now Chiquita) development of a process of filling ships with ice to protect bananas in shipment in the late 1800s that made it possible to bring bananas here. This left only the marketing challenge of introducing them to the American market, and teaching us how to buy them, aided by Miss Chiquita Banana’s jingle, released in 1944:

I’m Chiquita Banana and I’ve come to say
Bananas have to ripen in a certain way.
When they are flecked with brown
And have a golden hue
Bananas taste the best
And are best for you.

My favorite way to serve bananas now is mixed with mangoes or pineapple and milk for a healthy, low calorie fruit smoothie that my grandchildren love, made up in the Vitamix blender my husband got me for a treat a couple of years ago.  At almost $400, the Vitamix is a luxury, generally used by professional chefs. It makes soup, too, but I make smoothies in it several times a week, even in the winter. If you are ready to splurge on kitchen equipment, the Vitamix should be at the top of your list.

Bananas never tasted so good. At 90 calories, bananas are a snack you can feel good about.

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