Quick Snack: Comparing Bananas Vs Plantains For Nutritional Value


For many people, a favourite fruit is the banana.

They make for a great energising snack on the go, are a perfect addition to a protein smoothie, and can also be used to whip up some delicious banana bread as well.

But, did you know there is another banana-like fruit that you may be overlooking altogether?

The plantain is another excellent way to supercharge your diet, energise your body, and achieve optimal health.

Let’s take a closer look at the difference between a banana and a plantain so that next time you’re in the supermarket, you can choose which variety you want to put into your trolley.

What Is A Plantain?

A plantain is a member of the banana family, which explains their similarities. What’s very unique about the plantain however is that it has to be cooked before it’s eaten as they don’t taste very good when eaten raw.

As such, this makes it less of a ‘grab-and-go’ type of snack, but still one that you should be considering.

Cooking a plantain is relatively fast and easy as they are usually just baked or fried.  Try frying in coconut oil to help keep them a healthy addition to your diet.

The plantain itself hails from India and is grown in tropical climates. Some people often say that it’s the potato of the Caribbean as it is such a staple food there, often eaten as a vegetable type of ingredient rather than a fruit.

Plantains are typically far greener in color than bananas, however when at their ripest stage, they’ll be black on the outside.

Throughout this entire time, the actual colour of the fruit however is very creamy yellow or even a light pink. As it ripens, it starts to give off that typical banana aroma that you know very well.

Plantains have less moisture than a banana at about 65% of total moisture content while bananas have 83% of total moisture content. This makes them more starchy and dense to chew, so another important difference to note. Let’s look at the nutritional information differences.

A Nutritional Comparison

When looking at the nutrition stats, we come to see that plantains are much higher in calories than bananas.

However, do keep in mind they are much larger as well. Your average medium sized plantain will be around 180 grams in weight, while the average banana is just 110 to 140grams.

Assuming everything is equal weight-wise (you eat the same amount of each food at 180 grams), bananas will come in at 160 calories while the plantain will offer 220 calories.

So there is quite a calorie difference here to note if you are considering adding plantains to your daily diet. Both are very low in total fat content, coming in at less than one gram.

Plantains also have more sugar than bananas at 27 grams per 180 grams while bananas contain just 22 grams for that same amount of fruit.

Both contain about equal amounts of protein at just over 2 grams per 180 gram serving.  You’ll take in slightly more dietary fibre with the banana at 4.7 grams while the plantain gives you 4.1 grams total.

That said, the plantain does contain more carbohydrates at 57.4 grams per 180 gram serving while the banana contains 41.4 grams per serving.

This means that the plantain offers more starch content, which is one reason they do prove to be such an energising food to be eating.

Plantains like bananas are also a great source of potassium and will also provide a good dose of vitamin A and C as well. So there you have a closer look at the plantain versus the banana.

Both are healthy additions to your diet plan and while the plantain isn’t quite as fast and easy as a banana, it might just be one food that you want to consider trying next time you’re preparing a meal.

Great Mid-Morning Energy Boosting Snack Ideas To Get You To Lunchtime

Tired at Work

So you hit the office and come 10am, you’re starving. Breakfast has worn off and your energy level is beginning to plummet.

A power nap is looking mighty fine right about now.

If you have a well-planned snack, you can bring back the energy that you first had when you started the day.

Chances are, you don’t have much downtime at this point in the day, so you need something fast that will fill you up and ensure hunger stays controlled until lunch.

What do you do? Before you do what far too many people do and turn to a cereal bar, an energy drink, or worse, a donut (or other baked good) from the break room, consider one of the following choices.

Planning for a smart mid-morning snack or meal will set the tone for the rest of the day, so you want to be sure it’s a healthy one.

Yogurt and Berries

Spooning some Greek yogurt into a container and topping with some berries and slivered almonds takes all of 3 minutes and will provide you with the protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats you need to nourish your body.

When choosing your Greek yogurt, just be sure to choose some that is lower in sugar content. Opt for plain since you will be adding flavour with the fresh berries. If almonds aren’t your thing, feel free to add any other nut instead.

Or, for something different, you can also sprinkle some coconut flakes over top of this dish as well.

Banana With Nut Butter

Speaking of nuts, this brings to our next snack idea – fruit and nut butter. It really doesn’t get faster or easier than this.

Smear a banana with one or two tablespoons of natural peanut butter (depending on your target calorie intake). Fruit is the perfect on-the-go snack because it’s ready when you are.

Consider keeping a tub of nut butter at your desk so you just need to bring the fruit with you as you rush out the door in the morning.

Last Night’s Left-Overs

It’s time to get past thinking that morning meals and snacks have to mean serving breakfast-like foods. If you simply aren’t a fan of the conventional breakfast options, last night’s left-overs could be the way to go.

The perfect pre-packed snack to enjoy any time, anywhere. You can easily put a container in the fridge the night before to take with you as you run out the door to work.

It’s fast, easy, and as long as you are in the habit of preparing healthy dinners, will be very well balanced as well.

Hard Boiled Eggs and A Pita

Hard-boiled eggs are another great to-go protein source and you can easily store these in a fridge for a few days after making a large batch.

Simply slice up one hard-boiled egg along with a few yolks and throw this into a whole wheat pita along with some spinach leaves and other diced vegetables.

Drizzle with some light olive oil based salad dressing and you’ll have a mid-morning snack prepared and ready to go in seconds.

This one can also work double time as a lunch meal as well if you add a few more egg whites to the mix and pair it with a piece of fruit to round out the nutrition.

So next time you’re scrambling to get out the door and don’t have time to give a mid-morning snack a second thought, consider one of these options.

Just be sure that you do bring something or it will backfire on you and you’ll find yourself indulging in everything and anything come lunch.

Sweet Potato Recipe: Spice Up A Sweet Potato For A Quick, Nutrition-Packed Snack

Sweet Potato

One of the best carbohydrate sources you can include in your diet is sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are high in fibre, rich in vitamin A and are loaded with antioxidants as well.

They’re also great for helping to lower the levels of inflammation in the body, so may help those who are suffering from inflammation based conditions.

Sweet potatoes, despite having some natural sugars in them will also help to control blood glucose levels very well, which is important for warding off diabetes and also preventing weight gain.

This sweet potato recipe is very easy to make and really dresses up the plain sweet potato nicely.

Using a combination of different herbs and spices, you’ll find you don’t need any further condiments or sauces added to this.  Just serve and enjoy.

Recipe Snapshot:
Sugar Free – No
Gluten Free –Yes
Dairy Free – Yes
Grain Free – Yes
Protein – Low
Carbs – High
Fats – Low

Baked Sweet Potato Recipe

1 Medium Sweet Potato (peeled and cut into 2” chunks or cut into fries)

1 tbsp. olive oil
Dill weed
Garlic powder
Black pepper
*All spices are to taste.

Preheat the oven to 200C.  Next, peel and cut a sweet potato and place it in a mixing bowl.

Coat with olive oil and then sprinkle spices on top.  Mix and then lay on a baking paper sprayed with non-stick spray (or parchment paper) and then bake for 15 minutes.

Flip and then bake for another 15 minutes before finishing and serving.

As this dish is low in protein, you’ll want to use it alongside a main protein source to balance out your meal.

Muffin Recipe: Enjoy This Delicious Muffin Without The Guilt

Muffin Recipe

Looking for a healthy, energy boosting snack to get you through your day? Look no further than this healthy muffin recipe.

There are many muffin recipes available, however most come in very high in simple carbs and unhealthy fats – something you clearly don’t want to be putting into your body.

Instead, we’ve transformed the typical muffin recipe to one that you can feel good about eating.

This poppy seed lemon muffin recipe uses wholesome oats for fibre coupled with a banana, which will provide a small dose of potassium and simple carbs for those extra busy days when you need energy in a hurry.

It also removes the traditional flour and instead, uses coconut flour, which is a very high fibre flour that will keep your hunger levels in check.

Finally, whey protein is combined with egg whites making this muffin a high protein option that’s also very low in total fat content.

Recipe Snapshot:
Sugar Free – Yes
Gluten Free –Yes
Dairy Free – No
Grain Free – Yes
Protein – High
Carbs – High
Fats – Low

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

3/8 cup of rolled oats
1/8 cup vanilla whey
1/4 cup of vanilla casein
1 ripe banana
3/4 cup of liquid egg whites
1 tbsp. poppy seeds
1/2 cup of almond milk
2 tbsp. of coconut flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. of lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Blend all ingredients together in a blender and then pour into 9 muffin cup molds, sprayed with non-stick baking spray.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

If you aren’t a fan of lemon poppy seed, you can use this same recipe, simply subbing out those two ingredients.

Leave out the lemon zest and poppy seeds and instead, consider adding in some fresh blueberries or a few nuts and dried fruit for something entirely different.

Baked Potato Recipe: Baked Potato Never Looked So Healthy

Baked Potato Recipe

When you think of a baked potato, what comes to mind?

A high carb, high fat side dish loaded with sour cream or butter that you must avoid?

If so, it’s time to rethink that. If you bake a potato in the following way, you can certainly include it into your normal diet plan.

While baked potatoes are definitely a very carb-rich food, if you have an active day planned or are gearing up for a workout (or just finished one), it can actually be an excellent choice.

Of course, if you want to make it even healthier, opt for a baked sweet potato, rather than plain.

Sweet potatoes are lower on the GI index than russet potatoes are so will not have the same blood glucose spiking effects on your body.

This particular recipe pairs a baked potato with some cottage cheese and toppings, giving you some protein to balance out the carbs.

Recipe Snapshot:
Sugar Free – Yes
Gluten Free –Yes
Dairy Free – No
Grain Free – Yes
Protein – High
Carbs – High
Fats – Low

Gourmet Baked Potato

1 large russet potato
¼ cup low fat cottage cheese
1 large egg white
chives, chopped
1 tbsp. freshly chopped dill
juice of a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius and then slice the potato and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until done.
  • Once finished, let stand for a few minutes.
  • Scoop of the potato from the skin.
  • In a food processor, mix together the cottage cheese and egg white.
  • To this, add the baked potato, chives, dill, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.
  • Pulse-blend until mixture is combined and then transfer this back into the potato skin.  Bake this for another 15 minutes.
  • Remove and top with a light sprinkling of Parmesan cheesed and then place under the broiler for 3-4 minutes.

Healthy Banana Bread: Try The Healthy Version Of This Ol’ Family Favourite

Banana Bread

Banana bread is a loved recipe by many but unfortunately, when eating the classic variety, is very high in fat and carbs, while being too low in protein.

That’s all about to change as you try this new and improved recipe, which is loaded with muscle building protein, rich in fibre, and provides a small dose of healthy fats as well.

The walnuts in this recipe will give you the important omega-3 fatty acids, which most people simply don’t get enough of in their daily diet.

These will help to strengthen your immune system, improve your brain health, combat diabetes, and help you feel and function at your very best.  Add more of these into the bread recipe if desired.

You’ll also be using both whey as well as casein protein powder, which will give you fast and slower acting protein.

This makes this recipe perfect for any time of the day, as a snack or eaten immediately post workout.

Note that for an extra banana flavor, you can also sub in banana flavored whey protein powder if you have it as well.

Recipe Snapshot:
Sugar Free – No
Gluten Free –Yes
Dairy Free – No
Grain Free – Yes
Protein – High
Carbs – Medium
Fats – Low

Healthy Banana Bread Recipe

½ cup almond milk
¼ cup vanilla whey
¼ cup casein vanilla
2 bananas
1/3 cup egg whites
¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup walnuts
Stevia powder to taste
½ tsp. baking powder

Blend all the ingredients together, pour into a loaf pan (or individual muffin cups if you desire) and then bake at 170° Celsius for 45-60 minutes, watching carefully during the last minutes of baking.

Once finished (a toothpick comes out clean), let stand for 10 minutes or so before slicing and serving.

Carrot Cake Recipe: Yummy AND Healthy Carrot Cake For The Whole Family

Carrot Cake Recipe

If you’re like many people, one dessert that you can’t get enough of is carrot cake. But yet, since you started your diet, carrot cake may have fallen off your radar.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to. With a few smart ingredient substitutions, you can easily serve up a delicious, moist carrot cake that will satisfy those cravings while giving you the nutrition that you need.

This recipe is full of high quality protein thanks to the whey protein powder it contains, will offer some healthy fats due to the walnuts added in, and will also pack in a good dose of fibre due to the carrots and flaxseed meal in the recipe.

Try this next time you need to bake up something delicious to take to an event or to simply finish off a gourmet home-cooked meal.

You can also ice this recipe using the icing recipe noted below, which will add even more protein to the mix, all while keeping the total calorie content down.

Additionally, if you prefer, you can also add in some raisins if you enjoy that in your carrot cake. Just note that if adding in raisins, this will increase the total sugar and calorie count per piece. This is one dessert you don’t have to feel guilty eating.

Recipe Snapshot:
Sugar Free – Yes
Gluten Free –Yes
Dairy Free – No
Grain Free – Yes
Protein – High
Carbs – Low
Fats – Medium

Carrot Cake Recipe

¼ cup Almond Flour
¼ Ground Flaxseed Meal
¼ cup vanilla protein powder
1 Egg
¼ cup Egg Whites
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup grated carrots
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
3 tbsp. Splenda/Stevia
3 tbsp. Sugar Free Pancake syrup
¼ cup unsweetened almond milk (vanilla)
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder

4 tbsp. fat free cream cheese
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
4 tbsp. Splenda
1 tbsp. almond milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine the muffin ingredients into a bowl and mix until well blended. Next, pour into baking pan and then bake for 35 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the fat free cream cheese, vanilla extract, Splenda, and almond milk and then smear over muffins.

Healthy Salmon Snack: Try Salmon On Ezekiel Bread For A Quick Snack

Salmon Ezekiel Bread

Salmon is one of the best protein sources that you can include in your diet because not only is it going to provide high quality amino acids, necessary for rebuilding of muscle tissues, but it’s also going to provide you with important omega fats.

These will help to improve insulin sensitivity, helping you build a lean body, while also warding off diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Omega fats are also important for keeping your brain healthy and may lower your risk for depression.

Most people are currently not getting enough of this healthy fat in their diet plan on a regular basis, so this recipe will help solve that problem.

Added to this recipe is a small dose of Greek yogurt, which also provides added protein and will offer a good dose of calcium as well.

This helps foster stronger bones and regular muscular contractions. Be sure to buy the unsweetened variety to avoid taking in any extra sugar with this meal.

Next, the avocado will provide a healthy dose of unsaturated fat, helping boost heart health while also improving your complexion thanks to the vitamin E that it contains.

The Ezekiel bread is a rich source of dietary fibre and complex carbohydrates, so will help provide long-lasting energy to your day while also boosting heart health.

Finally, the red pepper will offer a good dose of vitamin C, acting as an antioxidant in the body while also strengthening your immune system.

Recipe Snapshot:

Sugar Free – Yes
Gluten Free – No
Dairy Free – No
Grain Free – No
Protein – Medium
Carbs – Medium
Fat – Medium

Healthy Salmon On Ezekiel Bread

Makes 3 servings

1 can of canned salmon, bones and skin removed
¼ cup low fat Greek yogurt
¼ sliced avocado
1 stock celery, thinly sliced
¼ onion, thinly sliced
½ red pepper, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. freshly chopped dill
Juice from one lemon (optional)

6 slices Ezekiel bread (or 3 wraps if you prefer)

Open the canned salmon and remove all bones and skin (if not done already).  Stir together the Greek yogurt, and avocado, mashing the avocado as you do.  Add to this the chopped dill.

Next, slice the vegetables as thin as possible.  Add these to the salmon mixture and stir until well combined.  Squeeze a lemon on top if desired for added flavour.

Mix together one more time and then spoon this over two slices of Ezekiel bread or place inside a wrap and serve.

Oatmeal Protein Bites Recipe: Tasty On-The-Go Snack Option

Oatmeal Bites

Want a fast source of energy to fuel you through your day? If so, the following oatmeal energy bites are the perfect solution.

These are fast to prepare and even faster to eat, so are perfect for those busy days when you just don’t have time to sit down to a full meal.

The great thing about this recipe as well is that it’s 100% customisable, so you can alter it to meet your own taste preferences as well as your nutrient needs.

Let’s look at the ingredient line-up of the oatmeal protein bites and then give you the full recipe.

Base Ingredient

The base ingredient of this recipe is, as the name suggests, oatmeal.  Oatmeal is a high quality complex carbohydrate that will pack in some dietary fibre and keep your energy levels on an even keel.

If you can’t use oats for whatever reason, you can also use quinoa flakes as well.  Or, if you really must, rice crispies. However do keep in mind rice crispies have a much higher GI index, so this will not be as healthy for you.

Adding The Binder Ingredient

Next you will need an ingredient that will help everything stick together.  The best choice here is some type of nut butter.  Peanut or almond both work great and will add in the healthy fats to provide lasting energy.

To this, you might also add a little honey for a touch of sweetness.  If honey isn’t your preference, you could also add in agave, maple syrup, or if you want to keep the carb count down, fibre syrup instead.

This will make it nice and sticky, ensuring the mixture holds together.

Packing In Protein

You’ll also want to ensure you get a good dose of protein in this recipe, which is why you now also add a scoop of protein into the mix.

You can use your favorite protein flavour – vanilla, banana, and chocolate all work well. Make sure the flavour works well with whatever type of binder ingredient you’re using.

Flavouring It With Add-Ins

Finally, the last step is to add in your favorite add-in ingredients.  These will help improve the nutrition of the mixture while also adding plenty of flavour.

Great choices here include dried coconut flakes (unsweetened), dried fruit, dark chocolate chips, nuts, or seeds.  Feel free to adjust and experiment to figure out what you like best with this recipe.

So all of this said, here is your oat bites recipe.

Protein Oat Bites

1 cup oatmeal
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1/3 natural almond butter
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. dried cranberries
2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
2 tbsp. dried unsweetened coconut flakes

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and then shape into small, bite sized balls.  Keep in the fridge until ready to eat. Take note that because these bites are very calorie dense, you’ll only want to eat one or two per serving.

So whip up a fresh batch of these today to have with you at all times as you need energy on the go.

Final Thoughts…

Dmitri Simons Fitness Blogger Australia

I hope you’ve enjoyed discovering these new healthy snack ideas! I always keep a healthy snack nearby either when I’m cycling long distance or spending the day out with my wife and children.

A little bit of preparation can go a long way when it comes to sticking to a healthy diet plan, so why not pick one of the above snacks and prepare it for tomorrow?

Enjoy, and if you have any questions, please add a comment below…