What you may not have known, is that there are loads of not-quite-so-idyllic-looking bananas (they could be too large or curved or slightly too ripe) that never get accepted to that copied-and-pasted lineup. That's right, many bananas that aren't the right size or shape never make it to the grocery store—despite being perfectly delicious and nutritious—leading to a ton of food waste and often profit loss for farmers.
Sound like a serious sustainability issue? Barnana thought so too, which is why nearly 10 years ago the company launched Banana Bites to both help athletes fuel their workouts, and also to upcycle bananas from organic farmers in Latin America that didn't qualify to be exported but were just as tasty as your picture-perfect grocery store banana.
"Very early on, we discovered that these better-for-you snacks could be made using organic upcycled bananas, helping farmers gain more revenue for their crops, and helping the environment simultaneously," says Barnana's founder, Caue Suplicy.
And if you're wondering exactly what "upcycled food" means, it's food that's made with ingredients that would have otherwise gone to waste, Suplicy says. In Barnana's case, it's taking imperfect-looking bananas—and now plantains, too—and turning them into delicious, sustainable snacks. Sound like something you'd like to munch on? Get a few banana snack ideas below.
Keep scrolling for 4 plantain and banana snack ideas to try.
As an Appetizer or Side
Don't banish bananas to breakfast or snack time. They deserve a spot at the dinner party, too—in this case, in the form of plantains, which are a type of banana that's loaded with even more potassium than your average banana. "Plantains tend to be larger in size than bananas, and have a thicker skin," Suplicy says. "Plantains are also starchier and lower in sugar than bananas."
Barnana's Plantain Tortilla Chips are completely grain-free and available in Pink Salt and Lime & Sea Salt flavors. When paired with a few homemade dips (like salsa or guacamole), they make for the perfect app to munch on pre-dinner.
And if you're the type of person who typically gravitates toward the bowl of potato chips rather than tortilla chips, you'll love Barnana's Organic Plantain Chips, which have that classic ridged texture and plenty of crunch. "These dippable chips are made with organic plantains and are the right size and the thickness for dipping," Suplicy says. Dunk them into hummus or dairy-free tzatziki, or enjoy them solo as a side to a sandwich or soup.
SHOP BANANAS AND PLANTAINS
As an Everyday Snack
If savory and salty is your snack-time vibe, these satisfyingly crunchy Organic Plantain Crisps will hit the spot in flavors like sea salt and garlic.
"Just introduced last month, this is an innovation we’ve been working on to give snackers a salty, layered, crispy snack made from plantains," Suplicy says. "These golden crisps take a nod from the beloved tostones found in Latin America." We dare you to try to eat just one. (Spoiler: It's impossible.)
As Workout Fuel
A major perk of bananas is that they're great to take on the go—until they get buried at the bottom of your bag and end up completely smushed. Luckily, the original Barnana Organic Chewy Bites—which are made with dried bananas and that's it—solve that potentially messy situation.
"My parents used to make them as a snack when I was a kid," Suplicy says. "I brought them to the U.S. when I was a triathlon competitor and found many of my fellow athletes loved them. These also make the perfect grab-and-go snack to pack for less strenuous activities like a hike or bike ride, while camping, and even on your morning commute.” (No mushy mess included.)
As a Dessert
There may be plenty of delicious banana snack ideas to choose from, but if you're looking for something a little extra sweet to nosh on, the Dipped Banana Bites are for you. Available in flavors like dark chocolate and dark chocolate peanut butter cup, they're made with only a handful of ingredients and prove that bananas make for excellent desserts. Add that to the yellow fruit's list of pros.
Photos: Tim Gibson for Well+Good
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