March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.
Called akwadu in Ghana, baked bananas flavored with orange juice, coconut, peanuts and cinnamon are a sweet, economical and nourishing finale for a spicy meal. And, they're a simple way to make fruit part of an everyday supper or a special dinner. This same recipe, with bananas cut both lengthwise and crosswise, makes a great topping for waffles or French toast. (Food trivia: peanuts are called "groundnuts" in West Africa.)
Plentiful in tropical and subtropical regions of the world — and easily available throughout the United States — bananas are kitchen staples. Being versatile, bananas make delicious breakfast smoothies and parfaits, banana bread and creamy puddings ... and they're the perfect whole fruit for pack-and-go lunches and snacks. Keep bananas on hand!
4 medium ripe bananas, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
½ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons soft margarine, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ shredded coconut
½ cup low-fat lemon Greek yogurt*
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Arrange bananas side-by-side in a 9-by-9-inch baking dish.
- Combine orange juice, lemon juice and margarine in a small bowl. Add brown sugar and cinnamon. Blend well.
- Drizzle orange juice mixture over bananas, then baste to coat bananas. Sprinkle with coconut.
- Bake for 10 minutes until sauce is bubbling and bananas are softened but keep their shape.
- Serve warm. Spoon sauce over bananas. Top with yogurt and garnish with peanuts.
- As another option, serve with ice cream or frozen yogurt.
Calories: 260; Calories from fat: 90; Total fat: 10g; Saturated fat: 3g; Trans fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 5mg; Sodium 100mg; Total carbohydrate: 43g; Dietary fiber: 4g; Sugars: 26g; Protein: 4g